Today I just want to hit the highlights of the message from Sunday! I truly believe that we must be able to give an answer to why John 14:6 is true. We’ve dodged, ignored, and given half-hearted answers for far too long! If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life then we need to be able to tell people why.
On Sunday I told you three ways you can get to Heaven apart from Jesus.
- Never sin. (Oops!)
- Recreate yourself and make yourself perfect. (This includes erasing your past and living a perfect present and future.)
- Get God to change His character and His Word.
Can you check either of those three off of your list? Didn’t think so! Me either!!
If those are the 3 things that we would have to do to get to God (And we can’t do any of them), then it only stands to reason that if Jesus was to do what He says He came to do, reconcile us back to God, He would have to do these things for us! Did He?
Romans 3 is really clear that we have all sinned. I don’t think there is any denying that! The Good News is that Jesus never did! Check out Hebrews 4:15. Even though Jesus was tempted as we are He WAS WITHOUT SIN! Because He was perfect He was able to be our sacrifice! He was able to step into our place! He lived the life that we couldn’t and took the punishment that we deserved. That sounds like a pretty good deal for us!
The second point is that we would have to recreate ourselves, making ourselves perfect now and in the future. The first problem we have is that we can’t do anything about our past. The second problem we have is even if we could do something about our past we couldn’t live out perfection in the future! But through Jesus we find that we have been given new lives! (2 Corinthians 5:17) Not only has our past been forgiven but our sin debt has also been paid! The amazing thing about the cross is that it took care of our past, present, and future! John Stott, in His book The Cross of Christ, reminds us, “…the loud shout of victory [referring to Jesus crying out in a loud voice “It is finished” from the cross. John 19:30] is in the Gospel text the single word tetelestai. Being in the perfect tense, it means ‘it has been and will for ever remain finished.’” PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE! He has taken our sin and given those who trust in His name new life and a new heart that is bent toward Him not toward rebellion against Him (sin). Again…that sounds like a pretty good deal!
The last point is that we would need to change God’s character and His Word in order to approach Him apart from Jesus. We have to realize that God’s character includes His righteousness, holiness, and justice. We would all agree that justice is a good thing! We love justice until justice is being executed on us! The truth is that because God is just He, by His very character and nature, must punish evil (sin). The reason that we often times feel that God can just “overlook” our sin is because we have no concept of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man! The amazing thing about the Gospel, the Good News, is that in destroying sin God did not destroy us! How did He do this? THE CROSS! When we look at the cross one of the things we see is God’s judgment and punishment of sin! All of God’s wrath fell on Jesus so that it would not have to fall on us! This is Good News! We must understand that Jesus was our substitute on the cross. At the cross we see what we deserve and we see our loving God taking what He didn’t deserve! God could not and will not deny himself, His character or Word, and so the cross is the righteous way that God makes righteous the unrighteous! Once more…A pretty amazing thing God has done for us!!
Unfortunately in our church culture we have coddled sin because we are afraid to talk about it. We feel that if we confront sin we will offend people and they will not hear of the love of Jesus. This fear of talking about sin is at the heart of the erosion of the gospel. It is in coming to terms with ourselves as sinners that we are truly able to see the goodness of God. It is in the depth of our own sin that we discover the abounding love and grace that God has given us. In fact, the greater the revelation of the chasm that God has bridged between our dysfunction and His holiness is directly correspondent to the depth of love and gratitude we will have for God. Jesus said it this way, “He who has been forgiven little loves little.” And in response to a sinful woman despised by the religious leaders He said, “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much.” (Luke 7:36-50) Again, the greater the revelation of the chasm that God has bridged between our sinfulness and His holiness…the greater our love for His gracious act in Jesus!
Remember…the Gospel is GOOD NEWS! We have been given a “WAY” when there was not one! Thank God for His amazing grace!