The Good News
The apostles and followers of Jesus emphasize in Scripture not only the fact of Jesus’ death, but also the reason. He died for our sins. The apostles realized that the death of Jesus resulted not just from the insidious plot of wicked men, but from the eternal plan of God to rescue men from their sins. Jesus himself said that he came to give his life as a ransom for many.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was the divine remedy to the problem of sin. God treated his sinless Son, Jesus, as if he had lived a sinful life, so that he could treat sinners as if they had lived the sinless life of Jesus. Through his crucifixion, Jesus absorbed the wrath of God against sin, so that God could be just in forgiving sin and declaring sinners righteous in his sight. By becoming a curse for us, Jesus delivered us from the curse of the law we had broken. The righteous one (Jesus) died for the unrighteous (us), so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God.
Jesus' resurrection was proof that he had conquered sin and death once and for all. Death could not hold him in its grasp. Jesus destroyed Satan, who had the power of death, delivering those who through fear of death had been subject to lifelong slavery in sin.
Responding to the Good News
Someone once said that there are two kinds of people who go to hell: the unrighteous and the self-righteous. Living a moral life will not rescue you from sin, nor will baptism, confirmation, giving to the poor, or attending church. Religion is simply a more respectable pathway to eternal destruction. The only candidate for salvation is the person who realizes his utter helplessness to save himself. Self-salvation is utterly impossible.
But what is impossible with man is possible with God. The God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, has done for sinners what we cannot do for ourselves. When a jail-keeper asked Paul and his companions, “What must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
Believing in Jesus includes more than acknowledging the fact of his existence or the truthfulness of his claims. Believing in Jesus is trusting in him. Someone once defined faith this way: F.A.I.T.H. Forsaking All, I Trust Him. In the Apostle Paul’s words:
I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
Trusting in Jesus is the pledge of allegiance to a person. Jesus said:
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
The life of faith is a life of repentance. Trusting in Jesus involves turning–turning from sin and self-righteousness to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
If you are to be rescued from God’s just judgment of your sin and rebellion, you must ask the Lord Jesus to save you. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. This is God’s promise:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Repenting of your sins and trusting in Jesus is both God’s invitation and His command: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
Will you obey his command?