I never pretended to be anything better than what I actually was. I was satisfied doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, however I wanted it done. Because, according the world’s standards, I was still a pretty “decent” person.
I never really understood the significance of Jesus until someone took the time to explain Him to me clearly. I feel it is only fair for me to “pay it forward”.
God never EXPECTED me (or any human being) to be sinless or perfect. He knew that no one would ever be “good enough” to get to heaven by his or her own “goodness”. This idea intrigued me. It sounded almost too good to be true. But, I was willing to give it a fair listen, because what was the alternative? Trying to figure out how to get there on my own?
God knew that man could never meet the requirements of his law (the Torah, Ten Commandments). He actually put the law out there just to show us humans what was acceptable in His eyes. The Ten Commandments were created to show the world how EVERYONE would always be short of God’s perfect standard. (How can you know that you are breaking a law, unless there is a law to break?)
The whole reason for the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament was to foreshadow Christ (the PERFECT lamb) as the sinless and perfect sacrifice for all of humanity’s sin *through many of the Jewish customs and traditions, Christ was predicted and explained.*
Why would anyone NOT want to have someone else suffer for their sins and die and go to hell in their place?
The only answer I can come up with is: PRIDE. Most of us want to be “smart enough” or “able enough” to figure it out on our own; we want to “fix ourselves” on our own. I think deep down, (if we all get real) we know could never be up for that task.
“Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18
Why does “earning” your way to heaven feel like the ONLY way to get there? And if that really was the way, how do you know if you have done enough? Why is the line so unclear? There are strict GPA requirements to go to the top medical schools. Would going to a perfect heaven require anything less?
Is anyone out there really “good enough” to get to heaven on his or her own?
I may not know much, but I know this much—I have done too much wrong to ever be “right” with God.
The great news about Christ is that His death made it so I did not have to be sinless. I only had to admit that I could never “earn my way to heaven” on my own; that I need someone sinless and perfect to die in my place. Jesus was the only one in history that could fit that bill.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23 (No kidding!)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Rom. 10:9
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom. 10:13
Three years ago, I prayed this prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I have done so much in my life, and you know it all. You can see the obvious sins and the ones that I have performed in my heart and in my mind. I cannot hide anything from you, and quite frankly, I am tired of trying. I am tired of running. I am tired of being sacred of you.
You said in your word that Jesus died in place of me. In His perfection, Christ took on my sins and suffered death FOR me. I only need to believe that He had the power to do this. I ask Him into my heart and trust that He is my redeemer.
He rose again three days after to claim victory over sin, death and the god of this world, satan. I know that He is the perfect lamb, the only one good enough to do the job of paying for the world’s sins. I am asking you to save me. I am asking Jesus to come into my heart and cleanse me from all my sins. I know I will never be perfect, and that is okay. For now, God is with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
After this prayer, the fear of death and the afterlife no longer weighs on me. I feel free and I have never been the same. My hope is that I can pass on this same freedom to you, and that you will “pay it forward” by sharing it with someone else.