The Good News of God’s Grace
We can't make it to heaven on our own; no one is good enough to meet God’s perfect standard. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Did you know that’s what He requires, perfection (Matthew 5:48)? It’s true. Now come on, admit it, you aren’t perfect, you may be better than a lot of people, but are you as good as God? Left to ourselves, we all will die without God, and that is bad news, indeed. However, that isn’t the end of the story.
Now for the good news…
God had a plan all along; he knew what he was doing. He would show his mercy and grace to a people he would call out for himself. He would send his own son, to die for those people’s sins, and give those called out people the righteousness they needed, the righteousness of his own son, Jesus. Jesus executed that plan; he came to earth and lived a perfectly righteous life, and allowed himself to die for our sins. He was a righteous man, the only righteous man ever, paying the penalty due us. His death meant that God would grant us mercy. His life meant God would give us grace. You see the mercy is God forgiving our sins because Jesus paid the penalty with his death, and the grace is God giving us a righteous standing based on Christ’s perfect life. God accounts our sin to Jesus’ account, and Jesus’ righteousness to our account. This great exchange is explained to us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – he who knew no sin (that’s Jesus) became sin for us (he paid the penalty) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (through his perfect life we meet God’s standard). God had spoken of this plan before Jesus was even born (Isaiah 53:6), and he proved that this sacrifice and this way was what he planned all along by raising Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:4 / 4:25).
Now we obviously didn't deserve it, but that’s grace, my friend (1 John 4:9-10). God draws us to Him in a way that he knows we will respond to if we are one of his, and God gives this gift to us freely. All God asks us to do is believe (John 3:16 / Romans 10:9). When we accept Jesus sacrificial death to forgive our sins, the bible calls this being justified by faith (Romans 5:1), and God counts Christ’s righteousness as our own. But there’s more, because God also leads us into a more holy life, where we learn to truly seek after and please God, and God ensures that we will make it to heaven. Because God didn’t leave us to ourselves, when we die we will be with God, and that is good news, indeed. If you will believe, you’ll make it to heaven, and that’s the end of the story.