How Bad is It?
When I go to my medical doctor with a
physical complaint he will usually ask, “How bad is it?”
Romans chapter three summarizes the spiritual condition of every individual
apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul states clearly:
“There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there
is no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:10-11 NET).
What does that statement mean in practical terms? Every
individual is unable to do a single thing to please, understand or seek after a
righteous God. We may even be very religious, but you and I cannot in any way
merit or earn a right relationship with God. If sinful man can be saved it must
be according to God’s free, unmerited, unearned grace and mercy alone. This is
what Bible scholars correctly call “total depravity.” It simply means you and I
cannot in any way influence God in a positive manner to obtain a right
relationship with him.
The Bible does not permit us to treat sin lightly.
Religious persons especially have a hard time accepting this spiritual truth. It
cuts across our religious pride. We really are radically depraved sinners.
The apostle stresses that apart from the grace of God we
are not just spiritually sick, but we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.
There are three basic views of human nature. The
evolutionist says man is well and getting better and better all the time. The
humanist says man is sick, but he can probably be treated with education, social
manipulation, and good welfare programs. However, the Biblical theologian
accepts the clear teaching of God’s inspired and inerrant Word, which says we
are dead spiritually.
A friend and I went to the police morgue to retrieve the
body of a colleague. There were many bodies in the room. He reached over and
pulled back the sheet over a cadaver’s head and said, “Here, Wil, tell this man
about Jesus.” He was dead. He could not respond to me or anyone else.
That is the way we are spiritually. We cannot respond to
God until the Holy Spirit reaches down into our hearts and brings about a
spiritual birth. We are dead spiritually until God in His Spirit raises the
Jesus insisted on a spiritual birth. He told a religious authority and
leader: “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he
cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5 NET).
The apostle wrote: “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17 NET)
From God’s perspective human beings have no righteousness. “There is no
understanding, no one who seeks God.” But what we could not do God did in the
perfect righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ. “God made the one who did not
know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of
God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NET).
Let’s be very clear about salvation by grace alone through
faith alone in Christ alone.
Many highly religious people trust in their baptism by
immersion or sacraments or Holy Communion or confirmation or church membership
or knowledge of the Bible or doctrine orthodoxy for salvation.
However, if you are trusting in anything other than or in
addition to Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for your salvation abandon
it to Jesus Christ right now. Put your trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you
for all eternity.
God gives the sinner who puts his trust in Christ alone his
righteousness, which is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He gives us what we
need and cannot provide for ourselves. The all-sufficient righteousness of Jesus
Christ is the only sufficient basis for our salvation.
Read and ponder the following statement carefully. “God made the one who did
not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness
of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given among people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NET).
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast” (Eph.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart
that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one
believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus
has salvation. . . For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”
(Rom. 10:9-10, 13 NET).
If you have never confessed you sin and unbelief to Jesus
Christ take a few moments right now, and put your trust in Jesus Christ. Ask him
to be your savior right now. It will be the greatest decision in your life.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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