There is much written on this page, but I promise if you read it all, you will find the hope you seek.
With a down economy and high unemployment rates and things in the world looking bleak, it is hard to see any hope in this world. In fact, in this world there is no hope and never will be. Our only hope is in God!
You may ask, if there is hope in God, does that mean there is no Hell? If Hell exists, why would a loving God send people there?
An E-Poll Market Research poll found that Casey Anthony is the most hated person in America. She was found not guilty of klling her daughter Caylee. This outraged many who had thought she was guilty. The problem with the Justice system is that Jury members are not given the power of being all-knowing, and work off limited knowledge.
No matter what crime is commited, whether they are convicted or not, there is a Judge that knows what really happened, and knows the whole truth. There is no lying to this Judge. With all the attrocities in this world, take for instance all that Hitler did, would it be fair if there was never a punishment for their crimes?
God is a fair judge, in the Bible Numbers 32:23 states "be sure your sin will find you out." "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (cf. Hebrews 9:27)
Imagine for a second you where pulled over by the police for speeding. This is when most would start making excuses. But let's assume instead of making excuses we started pointing out everything else we did right. "But, officer my lights where on. I stopped at all the stop signs and stop lights. My tail lights are working perfectly. I always use my turn signal. I was only speeding for ten seconds. I have a valid license. I have my registration and insurance. I had my car inspected, and I am on my way to church..." After you give the officer a long tirade on what all you did right, the officer will probably give you a weird look, he will tell you, "it does not mater. If you do anything wrong, no matter what it was, big or small, you are a breaker of the law. Your goodness doesn't make breaking the law okay. Therefore, if you break the law, and are caught, here in the America, you are going to have to pay a penalty for that mistake."
It is no different with God, "for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." (James 2:10) Everyone that dies is judged by God for breaking the law. This law breaking God calls sin. The Bible says that "The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment." (Proverbs 10:16) It also says the "the wages of sin is death". (cf. Romans 6:23)
In the book of Matthew it says "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. " "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.'" "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (cf. Matthew 10:28, Matthew 25:41 & Matthew 25:46)
The really bad news is this "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (cf. Romans 3:23)
Jesus said "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3)
So where is the hope?
Fortunately, we have only gone over the bad news. So here's the good news.
"'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.'" (John 3:16-18)
God made Jesus Christ "who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in [Jesus]." (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21) For Jesus "Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God." (cf. 1 Peter 3:18)
Did you catch what the Bible says. "He who believes in Him is not judged" and that we can become "the righteousness of God" in Jesus. That means that if we believe in Jesus as our saviour, when we die, God does not judge our sin. This is because we have become the righteouness of God through what Jesus did for us. What did he do, he died on the cross for our sins. This is what is celebrated every year at Easter.
The Bible says "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE". That means that no one is without sin, or is in right living. When we believe, God's righteousness is given to us, therefore we are seen by God as perfectly righteous. But only because of what Jesus did for us.
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Romans 4:5)
The key is the word "Believe." "He who believes in [Jesus] is not judged". It is only through belief. There is no work we can do to earn our salvation. Just like there was no work we can do to get out of a speeding ticket. There are no works good enough. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-8) The only way you can get out of a speeding ticket is if the police officer shows you grace, and gives you a free pass. This is the same with God. The only way you get the free pass with God, is by believing in Jesus, who paid the sin debt for us. God made Jesus Christ "who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21)
So there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. We are not saved because we are good, or go to church or do good works. Our church can't grant us salvation. The only salvation is in one, that is by believing in Jesus as our savior.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (John 14:6 & Acts 4:12) "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:11-12)
Notice it says that Jesus is the only way. There are not multiple ways of salvation, there is only one. It does not however matter, what church you go to or what works you have done, only that you believe.
Remember Romans 6:23, previously we only looked at the negative aspect of the verse. The complete passage states "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
If it was of works, how would we ever know how much work we would have to do to go to heaven and have eternal life? The Bible says, "these things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)
So we can know for sure that we can be saved and have eternal life! But how?
In the book of Romans the Bible states "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." (Romans 10:9-13)
The Bible makes salvation simple, to be saved, it simply comes down to confessing that Jesus is Lord God, and that you believe in your heart that God died for your sins, and rose from the dead.
You may say, but wait, I have done some really bad things in life. That's okay, with God sin is sin, all of which deserves the same punishment. But God does not wish any to be punsihed for their sin, no matter what they have done. The Bible says
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
If you wish to be saved, and make the best decission of your life, and receive hope, then pray a prayer like this. (The prayer does not save you, your belief and what you confess in your heart saves you.)
Dear Lord Jesus, I admit I am a sinner and that I am in need of a saviour. Forgive me for the sins I have commited. I believe Jesus that you are God, and that you died on the cross to pay my sin debt. Jesus, be Lord of my Life from this day forward and account your righteousness to me so that I may have eternal life and go to heaven.
Now the really good news and the hope.
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12)
Once you believe, all sins you have commited in the past are forgoten by God. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
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