JUST BY BELIEVING

One of the most offensive parts of the gospel message is the demand for repentance. Many people in the United Kingdom, probably the majority, think of themselves as being good enough to meet with God's approval on the great Day of Judgment. The fact of the matter is this - as long as they cling to this opinion, they exclude themselves from the kingdom of heaven. 

A lot will depend, of course, on whose authority they reach their verdict. In almost every case it is their own. If, on the other hand, they take the Bible as their authority, such a high opinion of themselves is impossible. Why? Because God's word clearly states that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. It simply means that they fall short of God's high standard.

Consider for a moment the two commandments Jesus laid down as being the most important. The first is 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' The second is similar: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.

I think most readers will agree that no-one has ever reached this standard. But some will persist and say 'But I have done a lot of good in my life. Surely that will count against the bad!' Alas, no, it will not, for the simple reason that what we do is never good enough for God.

If you still do not agree, then perhaps the verdict of the Bible will settle the matter. God's word clearly states that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.' 

My book 'Just by believing' focuses on the action God takes the moment a repenting sinner turns to Christ. It is God, of course, who takes the initiative and it would be true to say that the sinner believes because of God's action.

So what does God do? He pronounces the sinner 'Not Guilty of any sin'. Now how is a God of justice who is committed to punishing people for their sins, able to do this? He is able to do it because Jesus Christ, his Son, died for the sins of the world so that all who call on the name of the Lord may be saved. In other words, Jesus, having no need to die for his own sins because he was sinless, took the punishment for my sins.

Now, the apostle Paul is able to say: 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...' and 'Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...'

I sincerely hope you agree that this is astonishing news! The sad fact is that many churches no longer proclaim it so that a generation of people have grown up in our land not knowing what gracious provision God has made for their salvation.

Now this is the only basis on which to build a holy life. My book will explain that God puts a new desire to please him into the hearts of all those who truly believe. They now want to be holy, something they never experienced before.

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Top: Bridlington from Sewerby heights'
Botttom left: Flamborough Cliffs
Right: Bridlington Harbour