I am a sinner. If you don’t know that about me, then you don’t really know me. I am a sinner by birth (Rom. 5:12-18; Ps. 51:5), by nature (Rom. 7:19-21; Eph. 2:3), and by choice (1 Kings 8:46; Rom. 3:9-18). You are a sinner. If you don’t know that about yourself, then you don’t really know yourself. God loves sinners. If you don’t know that about God, then you don’t really know God.
I am a sinner.
God loves sinners.
God loves me.
How does God love me? The Bible says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). This is Good News. God sent His Son into the world to die in my place and bear the punishment for my sin that rightfully belonged to me. Peter declares, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18a), and Paul says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Salvation is simple for us, because Christ paid for all our sins at the cross. The apostle Paul states, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). This is God’s grace. We don’t deserve this. We can never earn this. All of us are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). What good news! Christ has born all our sin and given to us the gift of salvation! And God did this for us while we were sinners, unlovely, and hostile toward Him (Rom. 5:6-10). Paul says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5). That’s good news!
I am a sinner.
Christ died for sinners.
Christ died for me.
God has made a way whereby sinners can come to Him through the cross of Christ and receive forgiveness of sins (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 1:7), eternal life (John 3:16; 10:28), and the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9). John writes in his Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16). To believe in Christ means we trust Him to save us. We dare not look to ourselves or our human works in any way, but we rely on Him alone and His atoning work on the cross as sufficient to save us. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). And Peter states, “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Act 4:12). Salvation is simple for us, because Christ paid for all our sins at the cross and there is nothing more for us to pay. This is God’s grace. John writes that Jesus “is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Jesus death on the cross satisfied every righteous demand of God the father, and there’s nothing more we can pay. Jesus paid it all. It’s pure grace.
There are some who may want to do good works to be saved, but good works can never save. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. There were some who came to Jesus and asked, ‘“What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent”’ (John 6:28-29). Good works should follow salvation, but they are never the condition of it. It is the will of God that we believe in Jesus for salvation. Jesus declared, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life” (John 6:40). And when the Philippian Jail asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). He was met with the simple answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Salvation is always by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Paul declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9). How are we saved? It’s simple…“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Dr. Steven R. Cook