by Leon King
"When I die, I will find out whether Iím condemned before God or not, so donít tell me I need to be saved now, Preacher," the young woman said. "Nobody will know till they get there; thatís when theyíll hear what God has to say," she continued. I suppose many people have this kind of philosophy. Only trouble is, it isnít Biblical. God has said already how it is with unbelievers. Heís not going to change his mind in eternity.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. -- John 3:17-21
Itís true. He that is not believing in the name of the only begotten Son of God is already condemned. What does that mean? It means that he remains dead in his sins, under judgment from a Holy God, and will die and go to hell except he believe. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." -- Mark 16:16. You need to know some things from the Scriptures and I hope you will believe as I show them to you.
I. YOU WERE BORN A SINNER AND CHOSE TO SIN.
Sin means several things. Sin is to break the commandment of God. Sin is the transgression of Godís holy law. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." -- 1 John 3:4 Every sin a person commits is first against God. He may steal from another. He may commit adultery with another manís wife. He may kill another. Any of these things may hurt another person, but the sin is first against God. Since all men come from a common ancestry, we are all the sons of Adam. Adam sinned and passed sin and death on us all.
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." -- Psalms 51:5 David, the king, penned these words in the Psalms about himself. He was not a child of adultery or fornication, but he was explaining that, like all men, he was born in sin. He was born with the nature to sin, and that is what he did. We are all in that condition. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." -- Romans 3:10-12.
Many do not like the word sin. A lot of folks want to call sins weaknesses. Others like to give them a more palatable name like calling a drunkard an alcoholic. It's like saying a sodomite is gay. Some even say there isnít any such thing as sin. A person may choose to call stealing, drunkenness, adultery or murder mistakes, but nobody can ever deny the acts exist. I prefer to call it what God calls it. God says it is sin. He says that the soul that sins shall die. That means you and I, except that God himself intervene.
II. GOD HAS INTERVENED TO PAY FOR SIN.
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." -- Romans 5:6 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." -- Romans 5:8 This answers the question as to why Jesus Christ came into the world in the first place. He did not come just to work miracles, though he did work many miracles. He did not come just to teach, though he was the master teacher. He did not come just to provide an example to his own people, though he is the example for all the sheep. He came to save sinners.
"This <is> a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." -- 1 Timothy 1:15 These are the words of a man who was once as all of us are before we believe - an enemy of God, dead in sins, wholly given over to self, unwilling and unable to come to God. Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) was the great persecutor of the Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus apprehended him on the road to Damascus, a city to which he was en-route in order to continue his great persecution against Godís children. He saved Saul of Tarsus by his matchless grace and changed him to be Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles.
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" -- Romans 8:3 Jesus Christ came among us, born of a virgin. He lived among us, tempted in all points, like as we are, yet without sin. It pleased God the Father to put him on a cross to die for the sins of many. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son <to be> the propitiation for our sins." -- 1 John 4:10 The Old Testament prophet Isaiah tells us that God would see the travail of his soul and would be satisfied. Thatís what propitiation is all about. God had to be propitiated. He had to be pleased. He was! When Jesus was offered for sin, God was satisfied so far as the believer is concerned.
This is the gospel. Gospel means good news! It is good news to the believer! "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:" -- 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (that means in agreement with the Old Testament scriptures), he was buried (bodily in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea), and that he rose again the third day (in his body, after three days and nights, according to the Old Testament scriptures and his own previous statements). Why did he die? Why, he died for our sins. He suffered in our place. He took our shame on himself. He died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.
III. BELIEVE AND BE SAVED.
You must be born again. That means, you must be regenerated. You must have a birth of the Spirit. Regeneration is something God does in you when you hear the Gospel. You hear it, and you find yourself believing. "So then faith <cometh> by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." -- Romans 10:17. You hear and believe.
When Saul of Tarsus had been apprehended by the Lord Jesus on the Damascus Road, God spoke to Ananias to tell him about Saul. Acts 9:11 records part of Godís words: "And the Lord <said> unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for <one> called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth," About the first thing a person does after he believes is prays. In fact, because he believes, he will call on the Father. Notice: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" -- Romans 10:13-14. See the sequence? Preaching, believing, calling on the name of the Lord!
When you find yourself believing, it is evidence of the new birth. That is precisely what takes place. You believe - and you know you believe, and you have the witness in yourself. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:" ---1 John 5:10a. Believers are not condemned. Believers have passed from death unto life. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." --- John 5:24.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." -- John 3:14-15 "That whosoever Believeth" is a participle (a verb which acts as an adjective to describe whosoever). Jesus is explaining a concept to Nicodemus. He isn't making a proposition, nor is he telling him "how to be born again." He is just stating the results of the new birth. Whosoever is believing - therefore whosoever shall never perish, but whosoever has eternal life. Whosoever is believing in Him (Godís only begotten son, Jesus Christ). His believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is evidence of the new birth.
Do you believe? If not, you are already condemned! You are condemned in your unbelief and will be punished as a law breaker from the presence of a Holy and Just God. You will die in your sins and condemnation unless you do believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
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