Friend, you would have wasted your time here if you were never pointed to the most beautiful Truth in the universe. But the failure would be chiefly mine since I am the bearer of such good news. If I did not tell you of this news nor warn you of the consequences ignoring this news brings, I could not rightly say that I love you, for this news is relevant and meaningful for all eternity.
But we can’t really comprehend just how good this news is until we begin to grasp the poverty and helplessness of our current estate. So I apologize in advance for the pain I may bring you, but I would be disingenuous if I did not tell you the whole truth regarding our state. We are all inherently flawed. It is obvious that not a one of us is perfect. This is a fact, easily observable throughout our days. What is that flaw? It is rebellion. We have rebelled against God and His laws. So while we may not have murdered someone outright, we have harbored evil against others in our hearts. While we may not have committed adultery in our bodies, in our hearts we have lusted. God’s standard is not how good we are in comparison to other people. God’s standard is complete perfection in not only deed, but in word and yes, even thought. Were God to hold a trial today, every last one of us would stand guilty and condemned before a just and holy God. And if God is to be just, He must punish our rebellion (also known as sin). God is an infinite being, so sin is infinitely offensive to Him. Therefore the consequence of sin is likewise infinite. We all are deserving of infinite, eternal judgment in a place the Bible calls Hell. No good work we might do could ever repay the debt for sin that we owe God. And rightly you might say that this is no good news at all, but rather dire news. It pains me to even speak of it, but it is the sobering reality of who we are and what we deserve, my friend. You and I are in no better standing with God on our own than the vilest murderer the world has ever known.
So if there is nothing that we can do to please God on our own and we have infinitely offended God and are deserving of eternal judgment, then we are left hopeless if this is the end of the story. Ah, but this is not the end of the story. You see, my friend, while God is just and hates sin, He is also full of mercy and compassion, without compromising His just and holy nature. Because we could not save ourselves, God had to do it if there was ever to be hope for humanity. God sent Jesus Christ to live a perfect, sinless life, and then to suffer punishment for our sins by being scourged, beaten, and finally crucified upon a cruel Roman cross. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. The Bible also says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Jesus shed His blood for your sins and for mine. Jesus suffered death for your sins and mine. He did this so that we might be reconciled to God. He was the only one who was qualified to do this, because He was perfect, both fully God and fully man.
If you are, at this point, now asking the question “What must I do to be saved?” then my friend, you have come to the best part of this news! There is at once nothing and something that you must do. You cannot accomplish any deed to earn God’s favor — we have already borne this out. But God has graciously provided the way by which we might be reconciled, if we will but humble ourselves and ask for it. What must you do to be saved? Repent! Believe! Be baptized into this covenant of God’s immense grace, mercy, and love!
You must turn from your sin, hating it as God hates it. You must acknowledge that you are sinful and worthy of death and Hell, and believe with all of your heart that Jesus has paid in full the debt which you owed but could not pay. And then you ought take the sign of this covenant, which has been made with Christ’s blood, by being obedient to His command to be baptized as a sign of your death to sin, and resurrection to new life — just as Christ was resurrected from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. If the Hound of Heaven has pursued you, then cry out to Him for saving by your tears, through your fears, in utter desperation. God is near to the broken-hearted, and they who mourn their sin will be comforted by Him who gives beauty for ashes. The Kingdom of Heaven is yours for the asking! So friend, humble your heart before Him who is at once your Judge and the compassionate Lover of your soul.
He calls and says to you:
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me.”
Do not resist Him friend, for He is the only hope, love, and joy you will find which satisfies completely and forever.