When you look at the cross one thing becomes clear; you cannot do anything to add merit to what was done for you through Jesus sacrifice. You and I are saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ who took our sins that we could have eternal life. When that good news penetrates our heads and our hearts we cry out to God, thank you, thank you. We receive by faith that God is sincere when He tells us, ” For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Romans 4: 2, 3 Paul writes, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith.” Romans 3: 28 And John assures us that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 He further elaborates, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” 1 John 4: 9, 10 I could go on quoting from every book of the Bible these same truths; we are saved by what God did for us through His Son and not because of anything we do. In fact, our sins past, present and future were forgiven and forgotten at the cross. That’s why Paul can rejoice in these words, “for freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 All who put their trust in the Cross are free from the power of sin, free from the fear of death, and free from thinking we must prove we are worthy by trying to work our way into God’s love.
The term righteousness, when used of humanity, refers to a perfect conformity to God’s will and laws. The problem is that we have never lived up to the standards, and in fact, we can’t because we are all sinners. Once again Paul tells us that, “none is righteous, no, not one,” “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:9c, 23 However, the perfect righteousness of Jesus, who filled all God’s requirements for redemption at the cross, is credited to us by grace when we believe.
I’m sure someone is saying it can’t be that easy; surely I have to prove myself worthy to God. Yes, it is that easy; it cost God everything, but we are a stubborn lot who resist this free gift with all we are worth. We try to make the Gospel out to be hard to understand, or complicated, or based on our good behaviour, but it is as easy as saying, “I accept you Lord.” Remember, you and I will never be good enough, we will never over come every wrong, sin, habit, action, thought or indifference. And even if we could, we still have the problem of all our past sins that condemn us. That’s why the cross is such good news. We accept that Jesus did all that we couldn’t, and as a result we receive the love of God that Jesus deserved, and the gates of Heaven are open wide.
It’s true when we accept Jesus we will turn our back on the old ways and habits that were bad for us. But there is no merit in the Christian journey, no points for growing as a Christian. Our attitudes change because our attitudes towards God change. You and I will slip and slide all the way into the Kingdom, but we never need to believe God abandons us or forsakes us because of our stumbling. He loves us to the end. The only thing that could ever separate us from God’s love is our indifference to that great gift.