Dr. Robert Lescelius
The first question in the old catechisms children had to learn in church was, “What is the chief end [goal] of man?” The answer: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This is a good biblical answer, for I Corinthians 10:31 states:
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
So we are to do everything to the glory of God. He is our Creator, and He created us to live our lives pleasing to Him in obedience to His will.
The biggest questions of life are involved in the above question and answer: WHERE did we come from? WHY are we here? WHERE are we going? We came from God’s creative hand (Genesis 2:7). We are not the products of a chance evolutionary process out of some primordial soup. We were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), thus responsible to Him and able to know Him and enjoy Him. So life is about knowing God and glorifying Him, thus finding our satisfaction in His blessed (happy) Being and enjoying Him now and forever.
The Ten Commandments give a clear picture of what will glorify and please God. God gave them to Israel when He delivered them out of Egyptian slavery and made them His covenant people at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17):
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness.Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.Honor thy father and thy mother.Thou shalt not kill.Thou shalt not commit adultery.Thou shalt not steal.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.Thou shalt not covet.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
Man’s Condition in Sin
The problem is that man fell in sin in the Garden of Eden in Adam (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12), and no man can do what these greatest commandments say. We have broken these greatest commandments, thus we are the greatest of sinners.
God cannot and will not compromise His character of holiness, righteousness, and justice, so the standard is not lowered in any way for us. He said “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). We must be perfect to go to Heaven. If we don’t glorify God, we cannot enjoy Him forever.
We are not perfect; far from it. Since the Fall, all who enter the human race are born sinners with a nature hostile to God and unable to do anything to please God. “Because the carnal [fleshly] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8). In ourselves, we are rebels against God’s holy will and are morally unable to do anything to please and glorify Him (Jeremiah 7:9).
So we have sinned against God’s law and stand before His judgment bar guilty and condemned (Romans 3:23, 19; John 3:18), and we have a sinful nature that we cannot change (Jeremiah 13:23). The situation is desperate. We are like an inmate with terminal cancer on death row. We need both a pardon from the governor and a miraculous healing to save us from death. The good news (which is what the word “gospel” means) is that, through the Lord Jesus Christ, God has met both needs (our guilt and corruption) in His love and grace.
Righteousness in Christ
To enable us to be forgiven of our sins, God the Son became a man in the Incarnation (the first Christmas, John 1:14), lived a sinless life (the only one to perfectly glorify God, John 8:29) to become a spotless sacrifice (I Peter 1:18-19), and took the sins of His people upon Himself on the Cross, dying as their substitute so they could go free. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.Galatians 3:13
Christ arose from the dead the third day (the first Easter, I Corinthians 15:3-4) as proof that the Father accepted His sacrifice as full payment for the sins of all believers. “Who [Christ] was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Justification means that God looks at the believer in Christ “just-as-if” he is righteous (perfect) as Jesus, because Christ’s righteousness is imputed (credited) to him or her (Romans 3:21-28; 4:1-8,22-25).
“For he [God the Father] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Note the blessed exchange: Christ takes the believer’s sins, and the believer receives Christ’s righteousness! We must be perfect to go to Heaven.
The only way sinners can be perfect is to have their sins placed on Christ to be removed by His sacrificial death and to receive His righteousness by faith. Christ is the only way to have our debt of sin paid and have that which pleases God perfectly. Righteousness is only IN CHRIST (I Corinthians 1:30)!
This can never be done by our own efforts to be good or do good works, for “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The law (God’s standard) shows us we are sinners and need a Savior; the gospel reveals salvation to be in Jesus Christ and Him alone. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6; see also Acts 4:12). Salvation is only in a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Transformation in Christ
God has also met the need of our sinful depraved natures as well. Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:6-7). We are born once to get into this world, but we are born of sinful flesh (humanity, Job 14:4; Psalms 51:5; 58:3), and, therefore, cannot please God. We must be born again, have a supernatural birth of the Holy Spirit, to enter the kingdom of God. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). This transformation is only “IN CHRIST.”
Repent and Believe the Gospel
Sinners are saved by grace through faith. “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” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We cannot do anything to save ourselves. It is only after we have experienced saving grace that we become “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). We must believe in Christ to save us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus said “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). “Repent” means to change our mind, or attitude, about God, ourselves, our sins, and our relationship to God. “Believe” means to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save us (Acts 16:31). We are commanded to repent, which means to see and confess that we are sinners and deserving of God’s wrath, to turn from our sinful ways in our heart, and renounce all of our own righteousness and works. In repentance, we turn to Christ in faith, looking to Him to forgive us of all our sins, because He died for sinners, and trust Him to save and change us.
Friend, call upon the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer and faith, and cry out as a beggar to Him to save you. “Blessed are the poor [beggars] in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Throw yourself on His mercy! Believe in Him and His promises! Trust Him to save you and confess Him before others. “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” (Romans 10:9).
What is life all about? It is about acknowledging, “Jesus is my Lord,” and walking in the faith that He is my Savior, knowing and loving God in Him, living in the joy of serving Him and others for His name’s sake, and having a hope of glory with Him in eternity. What’s life all about? Let the apostle Paul answer: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6