"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23God is entirely pure, ultimately holy. There is nothing bad found in Him, and there's no sin to uncover in His actions or in His character. He is exclusively good. We, on the other hand, are not. We are intrinsically disposed to sin. Since that fateful day in Eden when Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent and tasted the forbidden fruit, directly rebelling against God Himself, we've all been cursed. We've been cursed to toil in our labors, we've been cursed with a maimed Imago Dei. We've been cursed to be contrary to one another, cursed to love sin more than our Creator. We all have heaped death upon our heads by participating in sin. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). On our own, it is impossible to flee from sinfulness. We cannot be good apart from God imposing His goodness upon us. Let's pretend there's a rope ladder up to Heaven, and this ladder gets cut at the rung when we sin or commit and act against God. Whether or not different sins cut the rope at different lengths is inconsequential. They all separate us from our Heavenly Father. Our sinful acts are not ranked in ways that indicate that some sins separate us further from God than others. They all separate us from His holiness. Without purity, we are without hope. Without purity, we cannot dwell in the presence of the Almighty.
"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:9-10Because of our fall from Eden, because of our inclination toward sinfulness, we are born apart from God, far from salvation. But God didn't leave us to that demise. He didn't forsake us, though we had already forsaken Him. Instead, He made a way. Now we are offered the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. We are offered to partake in His holiness, being dressed in His righteousness. He didn't enact vengeance, but chose to enact mercy, grace, and abundant compassion through the sending of His Son. God's holiness demands recompense. Our sin demands blood to spilled; death is the payment. Rather than requiring our eternal deaths once and for all, He made a way through the Christ. Jesus would pay the penalty for our own sinfulness. Jesus would die in our place. Jesus would be brutalized on the cross and a stone would be rolled to seal Him in His grave. He wouldn't remain there, though. Our faith is dependent upon the resurrection. If there were no resurrection of Jesus Christ, then we have nothing to stand on as Christians. The wrath of God was poured out on the cross, justice was thrust upon Jesus' flesh as He hung, dying and bloodied. He paid for our sin in that moment of death, but His resurrection now offers us life. Up from the grave He arose, defeating sin, and cheapening the sting of death. In Christ we are resurrected, climbing out of the graves our sin has prepared for us. In Christ, we are given eternal life alongside Him.
"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ's behalf: 'Be reconciled to God.' He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.Jesus, in His sinlessness, became sin for our sake. He bore the wrath of God on the cross, becoming the object of sin so that we might be spared from a fate of eternal death and separation from Him. We who know Christ are ambassadors of His grace, testifying to a lost and broken world that He is fully sufficient for the payment of sins and our eternal delight. Salvation doesn't merely require knowledge; even the demons know the work of the cross and shudder (James 2:19). Salvation demands a response on our part, a forsaking of our own desires and a yielding to God's desires. It compels us to flee from a life of sin and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5). It demands that we confess Jesus' Lordship in our lives and rely on the reality of His resurrection for our future resurrection. There's no magical rite or creed. There's no formulaic set of prayers. We are saved by grace through faith in what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. We must plead the cross of Christ to the lost, beckoning them to be reconciled to God through Christ's blood. Time is too short, and eternity is too real to spend time doing anything less. Those who have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ need the Gospel. Those who have heard the good news of Jesus Christ still need the Gospel. We have to preach to ourselves the truth of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection every single day. We have to preach it to other believers every single day, too. Without compromise, we must share it with those who don't know that their debt has been paid by a gracious and kind Savior, introducing them to the offer God has extended to them. The Gospel heals our pain, it is a balm to our spirit. It revives our hearts and compels us to keep marching for the sake of God's kingdom. It provides us freedom to live in a way that is honoring to Christ and not the world. The Gospel is our lifeblood. Sarah Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.