“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."
(II Pet. 3:9)
And why does God desire man’s salvation so much? Because:
1. God loves all men and desires their fellowship both now and through eternity.
2. He knows that salvation is the only way man can have joy, peace, power, meaning to live, or real love here on earth.
3. He wants to share the wonders of His heaven with men throughout eternity. There, amid splendor beyond human comprehension (Rev. 11: 19, 21), where all earthly problems are absent, where Satan and sin cannot penetrate, and where joy, praise, and holiness are complete, those who love God may dwell forever in His presence.
4. Even now Christ is in heaven preparing places there for those who love Him (John 14:2, 3)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God “ (Rom 3:23).
1. Sin is any want of conformity to, or transgression of the Law of God. It includes falling short of God’s standards in both the areas of commission and omission. (James 4:17; I John 3:4). The very basis of sin is a rebellious and unbelieving attitude toward God (John 3:18; Heb. 11:6). Even the committing of only one sin makes one a sinner (James 2:10).
2. All men have sinned.
The sin of which all men are guilty is not the sin committed by Adam and Eve. They had complete freedom to sin or not to sin. They sinned, so were guilty before God. And all men since have also sinned--of their own volition, tempted by their own weak and sinful natures and by the sinful world-system around them.
These sins--their own sins, their own willful falling short of God’s commandments--are the ones for which they are guilty before God and for which they will be judged.
3. The result of sin is death. Even as God forewarned Adam and Eve, the result of sin is physical death now and spiritual death through ages to come, unless the sinner turns in repentance and faith to Christ (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; Heb. 9:27).
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)
1. Man could never pay this penalty himself.
Neither a lifetime here on earth spent trying to do good works nor an eternity of punishment in Hell can be sufficient to fully atone for the blackness of sin (Rom. 4:4-6; Eph. 2:8, 9; Tit. 3:5).
2. God alone could pay the penalty--through the death In the flesh on a Cross, of His divine and sinless Son, Christ Jesus (John 3:16; II Cor. 5:21).
3. The penalty has been paid. When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” the entire work of God for man’s eternal salvation--planned “from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) --was finished, complete. Jesus did all that needed to be done to provide man’s salvation; man could never add to it. Through faith in this substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross, man can be saved from the penalty, power and—eventually--even the presence of sin. (Isa. 53:5,6; I Cor. 15:3,4).
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins are scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” (Isa. 1:18)
This salvation is available to all who will receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:12). Those who receive Christ by faith also receive God’s gift of everlasting life, and may know that they presently have (possess) this life (I John 5:11-13).
This experience of Saving Faith (which is a whole-person committal to Jesus Christ as Savior) produces a new spiritual birth in the life of the individual (John 3:5,7), in which God’s Grace (Eph. 2:8.9) transforms him by a miraculous act of Divine Creation into a new person, in which all of life takes on new meaning (II Cor. 5:17).
The Active Receiving of Christ by Faith involves:
Repentance toward God (turning in a new attitude of love, respect, and obedience) and repentance with regard to sin (changing the mind regarding sin so that it is hated--Acts 3:19).
Deciding to believe completely and without reservation that Jesus is indeed God’s Son who rose from the dead (Rom. 1:4; 10:9) and thus powerful enough and able (by virtue of His death for man’s sin upon the Cross) to save them from sin’s punishment (Heb. 7:25).
Calling in prayer upon God for Salvation, (Rom. 10:13). and receiving Christ into the life by faith (Rev. 3:20)
Those who receive God’s Salvation become His adopted sons (John 1:12, 13); Rom. 8:15,16; Eph. 1:5)--"heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16), once more in fellowship and in harmony with Him (Rom. 5:1; 8:1), already in receipt of eternal life (John 3:36; 5:24; I John 5:11-13), sealed with the Holy Spirit of God (I Cor. 6:19, 20; Eph. 1:13), made into a new person in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), born into a new spiritual life (John 1:13; 3:3-7), and spiritually converted.
Those who do not receive God’s salvation by receiving Jesus Christ by faith as Savior and Lord before they die, will continue to remain under the guilt and condemnation of unbelief (John 3:18), and sin (Eph. 2:1-3), and God’s displeasure (John 3:36), and will not have eternal life (I John 5:12). Instead, they will remain in their sins throughout the ages to come, and cannot go to be where Jesus is (John 8:21, 23; Rev. 20:15; 21:8; 22:11).
by Don J. Hanson, Pastor
Faith Community Church
Santa Ana, California