And this is everlasting life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
There is only one God. He is The God who made the world and all things in it, this One being the Lord of Heaven and of earth (Acts 17:24). He has done all that He has pleased (Psalm 115:3). God has revealed Himself in His Word, the only inerrant God-inspired book called the Bible.
The Bible reveals the Law of God. All of God’s Law is summarized in these two commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). God demands perfect obedience to the Law (perfect righteousness) and pronounces a curse on those who do not have perfect righteousness:
Cursed [is] everyone who does not continue in all things having been written in the book of the Law, to do them (Galatians 3:10).
Those who die under this curse shall drink of the wine of the anger of God having been mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented by fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever (Revelation 14:10-11).
Adam, the first man, who was the forefather and representative of the whole human race, broke God’s Law. The guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to all humans:
Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned (Romans 5:12).
Consequently, all humanity is conceived in sin:
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5);
and all human beings have broken God’s Law:
There is not a righteous [one], not even one! There is not [one] understanding, there is not [one] seeking God. All turned away, [they] became worthless together, not [one is] doing goodness, not so much as one! (Romans 3:10-12).
Therefore, all men are by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), under God’s curse, for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Yet God has chosen to adopt a particular people for His own glory to be His children, an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession (1 Peter 2:9). He has chosen to save them and have fellowship with them. How can God, who hates sin and pronounces a curse on all who do not have a perfect righteousness, remain righteous and yet have fellowship with them? For God says that He is both a just God and a Savior (Isaiah 45:21). The answer lies in the gospel of Christ, … for in it the righteousness of God is revealed (Romans 1: 16-17). The gospel is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ, [the] Son of God (Mark 1:1).
Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God:
In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
He came to this earth two thousand years ago, having been conceived by God the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. Jesus Christ said, “I and the Father are One!” and “the Father [is] in Me, and I in Him” (John 10: 30,38).
Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, the only one qualified to be a Mediator between God and men. For God [is] one, also [there is] one Mediator of God and of men, [the] Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
Jesus Christ said,
“For I have come down out of Heaven, not that I should do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Therefore, Jesus Christ was one having been tried in all respects according to [our] likeness, apart from sin (Hebrews 4:15). He did not sin, nor was guile found in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22).
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, having come into being out of a woman, having come under Law, that He might redeem the ones under Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
Jesus Christ perfectly kept the Law as a substitute and representative for His people, in order that His perfect righteousness be imputed to His people. The sins of His people were imputed to Him, and He suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty of the curse of the Law for their sins with precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19).
For He made the [One] who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become [the] righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In Jesus Christ we have redemption through His blood, the remission of deviations, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus Christ carried up in His body our sins onto the tree; that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; of whom, by His wound, you were healed (1 Peter 2:24). The truth of the gospel is that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He was delivered because of our deviations and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:25).
Do you now see how God remains righteous and just in the punishment of sin while saving certain sinners? The sinners whom Jesus Christ represented have a substitute! Their disobedience to God’s righteous Law was punished in the person of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to these sinners! God has communion with His people because they have the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to them and have already had their sins punished through the death of Jesus Christ! All of God’s people are
justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth [as] a propitiation through faith in His blood, as a demonstration of His righteousness through the passing over of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God, for a demonstration of His righteousness in the present time, for His being just and justifying the [one] that [is] of the faith of Jesus (Romans 3:24-26).
The gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, without any contribution from the sinner!
Do you believe this gospel? It is the only true gospel. There is no other way to be reconciled to God than through the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ said,
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Salvation is not based on anything the sinner does or is enabled to do; it is all based on what Jesus Christ did. The people of God are justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24); a man is not justified by works of Law (Galatians 2:16).
Because by works of Law not one of all flesh will be justified before Him (Romans 3:20). For Christ [is] the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes (Romans 10:4).
If you believe that you have favor with God because of what you do, who you are, what you think God enabled you to do, or what you think God saw you would do, then you do not believe the gospel.
If you believe that Jesus Christ died for all persons without exception, then you do not believe the gospel, because you do not believe that Christ’s work makes the only difference between salvation and damnation. Anything you do before believing in the true gospel is evil in the sight of God.
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [God] (Hebrews 11:6).
God commands you to repent of ever thinking that you could merit favor with God by something you do. He commands you to believe this gospel. The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
Your sins are abominable in the sight of God. Even if you strive to do your best to love God and love your neighbor, you cannot do these things perfectly, and even your best efforts at religion and morality are abominable if you believe that any part of salvation is based on these things.
Your sins must be punished. They have either already been punished in the person of the substitute, Jesus Christ, or they will be punished when God sends you to hell. Those for whom Jesus Christ died, whose sins have already been punished, will believe this gospel. Those for whom He did not die, whose sins have not yet been punished, will not believe. All those for whom Jesus Christ died will go to heaven. All those for whom Jesus Christ did not die will go to hell.
God uses this truth of His gospel to accomplish His purposes among men. For some, this commandment to believe the truth about what Jesus Christ has done to save His people makes them angry and offends them, because it says that they are under the penalty of God’s condemning justice unless they are loved and accepted by God on account of the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. For these, God may use His message to confirm and actively harden them in their rebellion and to seal their eternal condemnation.
For others, this commandment to believe brings them spiritual life and causes them to love what Jesus Christ has done. It is the power of God to give them an understanding of the only way to be reconciled to God.
For we are a sweet smell to God because of Christ in those being saved, and in those being lost; to the one, an odor of death unto death, and to the other, an odor of life unto life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Should you believe, be sure of this: your faith is a gift that God has given you and is a miracle that comes from the power of the wonderful message of His gospel.
For by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God; not of works, that not anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If you obey God’s command to believe the gospel, you must thank God that this belief is a miracle from Him!
And this is the witness: that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11)