A teacher of the Law once asked Jesus: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Jesus, quoting the Old Testament, gave a quick answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
They are a summary of the heart of the Law. God commands you to keep the Law. Because he is the Creator of the universe, and all therein, he rightly demands this of everyone. The startling reality, however, is that we have and continue to fail to keep God’s Law. The real stunning thing is there are many who believe they actually can keep God’s Law (or keep it enough in comparison to the dude next door).
So I am writing this post for you. If you’re my friend, or if you just happened upon this blog, I care about you enough to tell you the greatest news I’ve ever heard of. I once heard a famous atheist, Penn Jilette, say of silent Christians: “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them?”
Well, I don’t hate you. I believe that everlasting life is possible, and I want to tell you. Don’t worry about the cheeky title. It is relevant to the whole thing—you’ll see . . . and no, I don’t think YOU are brainless. :)
So here goes.
If you think you can earn your way to Heaven in a way similar to a young executive climbing the ranks of to a big-time swanky corporate office—if you never really thought about what God demands of you—if you know you’re a sinner, and you just don’t care—if you already know you are a sinner and you already gave your life in faith to Christ your Savior (who perfectly kept the Law on your behalf, and who paid the substituting penalty for your sins on your behalf, crediting his perfect righteousness to your account)—this is just for you!
The following is Charles Spurgeon, a 19th century preacher, at his very best:
“Is there someone here so profoundly brainless as to reply, ‘I intend to keep [the Law], and I believe I can perfectly obey it, and I think I can get to heaven by obedience to it?’
“Man, you are either a fool, or else willfully ignorant; for sure, if you truly understand this commandment, you will at once hang down your hands, and say, ‘Obedience to that is quite impossible; thorough and perfect obedience to that no man can hope to reach to!’
“Some of you think you will go to heaven by your good works, do you? This is the first stone that you are to step upon—I am sure it is too high for your reach. You might as well try to climb to heaven by the mountains of earth, and take the Himalayas to be your first step; . . . for to obey this must ever be an impossibility. But remember, you cannot be saved by your works, if you can not obey this entirely, perfectly, constantly, forever (Rom. 3:20).
“‘Well,’ someone replies, ‘I dare say if I try and obey it as well as I can, that will do!’
“No, sir, it will not. God demands that you perfectly obey this, and if you do not perfectly obey it he will condemn you.
“‘Oh!’ someone cries out, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Ah! that is the point to which I wish to bring you. Who, then can be saved by this law? Why, no one in the world! Salvation by the works of the law is proved to be a clean impossibility.
“None of you, therefore, will say you will try to obey it, and so hope to be saved. I hear the best Christian in the world groan out his thoughts—’O God,’ he says, ‘I am guilty; and should you cast me into hell I dare not say otherwise. I have broken this command from my youth up, even since my conversion; I have violated it every day; I know that if you should lay justice to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, I must be swept away forever. Lord, I renounce my trust in the law; for by it I know I can never see your face and be accepted.’”
So here is the Good News: You can be saved! You can, through union with Christ, be forgiven your sins and be rescued eternally for your joy and salvation, to the praise of God’s glorious grace!
The gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ came to earth in history, lived the perfect sinless life that we should have lived, and died a perfect sacrifice on the cross, all on our behalf, so that we might have life in his name. Jesus was dead and buried for three days, and then he was resurrected, and he ascended into heaven where he is with the Father. I believed in Jesus and he saved me! He the Lord and Savior of my life.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Has Jesus radically saved you?
Jesus kept the Law perfectly. He died on the cross to put to death sin and death forever. Jesus is the only one who ever has kept the law perfectly, and the work of Christ can cover all your sins.
You can’t keep the Law. You can’t love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. You’ve given your heart, mind, and soul away in sin and idolatry to just about everything (but God). Your only hope is Jesus. Will you consider this?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
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