"It’s not about me…It’s all about Him!"
Revelation 4:11 & Revelation 3:20- "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were" "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Have you ever thought about Christ’s death on the cross, and why He had to do so; or about the seeming contradiction that if God so loved the world, why does He still send those who do not accept Him as Savior to Hell; or about why He doesn’t just get rid of all the sin in the world: so that we don’t have to worry about falling into temptation; or about why He doesn’t just take us to heaven now: so that we can avoid the trials and tribulations that are a very real part of our lives?
Well, even though there are literally hundreds of questions that we could ask concerning God and His purpose for our lives, there is one basic flaw in all of them: God is not at the center of them - man is! In other words, what we are really asking is: "Why doesn’t God conform to my wishes?" Well, contrary to what you might think, we were not created to live our own lives, or to do things our way, we were created in order to have a loving relationship with God: our Creator.
Revelation 4:11 tells us that "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." And in Philippians 2:13 Paul tells us that "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." In other words, it’s not our responsibility to decide what our purpose on earth should be, it’s God’s! God doesn’t need to alter His plan for our lives; we need to yield ours to Him!
You see, God did not create us as robots: God does not force us to love Him! And why is this? Well, if we were forced to love God, then it would not be love at all. The Bible tells us that man is the crown of all of God’s creations; simply because we are created in His image. And because we were, we were given the capacity to choose whether or not to love Him.
Therefore, the entire focus of God’s love for us, and for the death of His only begotten Son on Calvary’s cross, is not to keep us out of hell by forcing us to love Him; it’s to provide a way in which those who do believe in Him can restore that face-to-face relationship with God that was lost when Adam sinned.
Now, why would God send anyone to hell? Why would He send a person to Hell, simply because they did not want to love, or have a relationship with Him? Well, in order to answer that question, let me begin by making an observation - one that you may have never thought about: Old Testament believers were not saved by keeping the law, they were also saved through the cross of Jesus Christ!
Yes, that’s true! The purpose of the law was not to create a way in which people could be saved; it was to prepare their hearts for the coming Christ. In other words, people who lived in Old Testament days kept the law out of faith in God’s promised provision for sin: they didn’t trust in God’s law to save them, they looked ahead to the coming Messiah…they obeyed God out of faith.
Look at Romans 3:19, 20: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
Now, just like people in the Old Testament were not saved by any works of righteousness that they did, we aren’t saved by what we do either. For just as they accepted Christ by looking "forward" to the coming Christ, we accept Christ by looking "backward" at the finished work on the cross. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." In other words, it is not, and never has been, works of righteousness that justified anyone. It is, and always has been, nothing more than obedience through faith.
Second Timothy 1:9-10 tells us: "Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"
Now, why will God send those who reject Christ as their Savior to Hell? It’s because the Bible teaches that God is just, holy and pure. And because He is, God’s love for us will not nullify His righteous indignation over sin; and His demand for justice!
You see, God’s law is based on His own character. Did you know that God said in Isaiah 1:24 that He would avenge and punish every sin committed? And that even though He does love us, He will take vengeance on those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior? "Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine adversaries."
Therefore, even though God does love everyone, He will not save everyone! Yes, God is merciful! In fact, He paid the penalty demanded by His justice. Yes, we were under the penalty of sin; we were doomed to eternal separation; but God’s love for us caused Him to pay that righteous penalty on our behalf…through the shedding of His only begotten Son’s blood on Calvary.
Now, that may sound contradictory, but for those who are saved, Christ became the justifier - the one found guilty and judged for our sin - and because God has given us the ability to choose, we can make up our own minds as to whether or not to return to God. Yes, it’s freedom of choice that enables us to accept Christ as our Savior.
Now, the point to what I’ve been trying to make today is that the cross was necessary because we are sinners. And since God is just and cannot violate His own nature, the cross became the payment that was due for our sin. Yes, when Jesus died, He died in victory. But it did not end there...for Jesus rose from the grave on the third day as evidence that His words and claims were true; and to give us the promise of our future resurrection when He returns.
Let me close by asking you this question: are you saved? Well, I just talked about how we were not robots; and about how we were all given the ability to choose. I also told you that even though God does love us, He is at the same time righteous and just: and because He is, He cannot turn a blind eye to our sin. I also told you that in order for God to forgive you, and to restore the fellowship that you lost when Adam sinned, you must look to the cross of Jesus; you must recognize the fact that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God…and that He died on Calvary’s cross for your sins. For unless you believe that you are a sinner, and that you must pay a price for your sin, than you will never be saved - and you will never live forever in heaven with God!
So please, don’t let this day pass if you have never been saved! For death is a very real part of our lives; and death is coming nearer every day we grow older. Yes, death may come today; it may come tomorrow; it may come a month, or a year from now…but it will come! Think of those who recently died when the bridge collapsed in Minnesota. I bet they were not thinking that they would die at that moment. I bet they were thinking about all that they were going to do: the friends they were going to see; the loved ones that were waiting at home; the things they were going to do tomorrow. I don’t think that any of them thought that they were going to meet the Lord at that moment.
Oh, by the way, when death does finally come, you will no longer have an opportunity to be saved: for no matter what others tell you, you cannot be saved once you are dead! For Hebrews 9:27 tells us that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
Yes, the judgment of God will follow death! But...in Romans 5:8 we read that "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Yes, you can choose to surrender your life to God today. Simply believe all that God has said: ask Him to forgive you, and to save you…He will! Take God at His word and claim His promise of eternal salvation (John 3:14-15: "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)."
Bow your head right now, and sincerely ask Jesus to come into your heart; and to forgive you of your sins; and save you. And remember, salvation is not a given! People are not saved just because John 3:16 tells us that God loves them - or because they do good things - people are saved when they "choose" to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Joshua 24:15 states: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Finally, remember that Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and [choose to] open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."