Do you Believe That?
By Joe Keim
September 1, 2021
In my lifetime, I do not believe that I have ever run into a person who did not look at themselves and see a sinful human being. From a child up, we just knew. Our minds, hearts, and mouths prove that we continually fall short of God’s righteousness.
We struggle to forgive. We get caught up in addictions. We fail to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. We lust. We stay angry after the sun has gone down. We lie. We deceive others. We live in hypocrisy. We are filled with jealously. We gossip about others. We are loaded down with idols that distract us from God. We find security in our money, rather than in God. We ignore the Spirit of God and walk in the flesh. We love to be in control and struggle with pride.
The list goes on indefinitely. The point is that we are all sinful people, and we are all in desperate need of a Savior.
In Psalm 14:2, David wrote:
“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”
This is what He observed:
“They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3).
God was not able to find a single human being that measured up to His righteousness. Not even one. How sad that must have been for God.
Paul writes in Romans 3:10-12 and 23:
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Again, the Bible reminds us that not one single soul on the face of the earth, including you and I, are good – that is, in the flesh. We are one hundred percent unfit for the kingdom of God. The Scriptures continue:
Jeremiah 17:9 says:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Romans 7:18 says:
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…”
Rather than comparing ourselves with God and seeing how sinful and wicked we appear before God, we tend to look around and find people who are worse sinners than we are. We look at the one who went out and committed adultery with another man’s wife. We look at the one who is serving a lifetime in prison for murdering another human being. We look at the homosexuals. Then, we begin to play the comparison game and think, “Well, at least I am not as bad as those people are.”
There are many other things we do and think when we play the comparison game. In our heart, we have believed the lie that if we are better than others, it is somewhat pleasing to God; therefore, He accepts us as good and righteous. We have also believed the devil’s lie that if we belong to a certain kind of church denomination, if we attend church regularly, if we get baptized, if we participate in communion and foot washing, if we live plain and simple lifestyles, if we sin less than we did ten years ago, if we “do, do, do,” then God will overlook our sinful state and accept us in spite of all of our short comings.
Those are lies, my friend. Lies that come straight from the pit of hell. Do not believe them!
Be aware that many people in the world today are being taught that they can, on their own, do a good work that pleases God; therefore, they view themselves as righteous enough to spend eternity with God. Let me tell you, that is also a lie! Even if there was such a thing as man being capable of offering God a good work, consider the words of Isaiah 64:6:
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags… “
Did you get that? The Bible says it so clearly! Our righteousness – our good works – appear as filthy (bloody, messy, smelly, rotten) rags in the sight of God?
That could only mean one thing: we must stop comparing ourselves with other sinners and start comparing ourselves with God. We must come to grips that we, on our own, cannot measure up to God’s required standard of holiness. When we do that, we will truly see how desperate we are for a Savior.
Consider this: the entire human race stands before a pure, holy, righteous, sinless, and sacred God. Many people are being taught, and they have believed the lie, that God, in His kindness and love, will look past their short comings and sin and receive the good works they did in life as payment for their sin. Church people are often taught to believe that if their heart is sincere and their good works outweigh their bad works, God will receive them. My friend, this is simply not true. It is a lie that will send millions of people to hell. No one is good enough. Not even the humblest preacher of God’s Word is good enough.
Imagine for a minute that you died and stood before God. When asked, “Why should I let you into heaven?” you replied, “Well, Lord, I know I am a terrible sinner, but please consider my faithful church attendance. I gave to the poor. I read my Bible. I prayed. I was baptized. I was a member of the church. I believed in Jesus. I lived a humble and separated life. I seldom stole, lied, or cheated. I worked hard. I cared for the widows. Lord, I did my very best to always please You and follow all Your commandments.”
And then the prophet comes along and says, “…and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags… (Isaiah 64:6).
Just in case it has not yet sunk in yet, let me say one final time: you and I will never get to God by our own good works. Having said that, let me also say that it is not all gloom and doom. There is something very wonderful and precious that I want to share with you. Oh, it is so, so precious, and so opposite of what we have learned thus far.
The very same God who said, “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one,” also made a way for you and me to be made one hundred percent PURE, one hundred percent HOLY, one hundred percent RIGHTEOUS, and one hundred percent BLAMELESS in His sight – not our flesh, but our spirit (much could be said about our 3-part make up – spirit, soul, and body. – see I Thessalonians 5:23).
This is huge, so please, please, please pay attention. When God came up with a way for you and me to be made one hundred percent righteous in His sight, He DID NOT leave it up to us to get it right. He, Himself, did all of the work. Look!
The prophet Isaiah wrote Isaiah 53:4-6:
“Surely HE hath borne our griefs…HE was wounded for our transgressions (crimes), HE was bruised for our iniquities (sins)…with HIS stripes we are healed… and the LORD hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus did all of the work on our behalf! Nothing, absolutely nothing, we could do on our own is good enough. Even if God gave us an extra lifetime – fifty extra lifetimes – to get it right, we could never, on our own, reach God’s requirement of total perfection.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21:
“For God hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
It is impossible for man to grasp how God could make Jesus Christ become sin for us. Yet, this is exactly what the Scripture declares: [God] hath made [Jesus] to be sin for us. Jesus literally became my sin. Then He suffered the wrath of God with all my sins on His back. He became what I was, so I could become what He is.
Do you believe that? Not just with your head, but do you believe that in your heart?
Jesus was the ideal, perfect God-man in human flesh. Therefore, He could become the ideal, perfect sin-bearer. He could die the ideal death, the death that would satisfy the justice of God's eternal court and holy nature.
The Bible says:
“So, Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..” (Hebrews 9:28).
“Christ hath redeemed [rescued] us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” (Galatians 3:13).
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18).
God's purpose is that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ. What does this mean? Very simply, when a person believes in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, God takes that man's faith and counts it as righteousness. That man is not righteous, but God considers and credits that man's faith as righteousness. Why is God willing to do this?
The POSB Commentary says:
“God loves His Son Jesus Christ so much that He honors any man who honors His Son by believing in Him. He honors the man by taking the man's faith and counting (crediting) it as righteousness and by giving him the glorious privilege of living with Christ forever in the presence of God. This is what is called justification. The word justify (diakioun) is a legal word taken from the courts. It pictures man on trial before God. Man is seen as having committed the most heinous of crimes; he has rebelled against God and broken his relationship with God. How can he restore that relationship? Within human courts if a man is acquitted, he is declared innocent, but this is not true within the Divine Court. When a man appears before God, he is anything but innocent; he is utterly guilty and condemned accordingly.
But when a man sincerely trusts Christ, then God takes that man's faith and counts it as righteousness. God counts the man—judges him, treats him—as if he were innocent. The man is not made innocent; he is guilty. He knows it and God knows it, but God treats him as innocent.”1
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church at Rome. In a minute, we are going to see what he wrote, but first, let me point out that it is obvious Paul was writing to the church crowd of his day. It is also obvious that his audience was zealous [passionate] about God. However, they had believed the lie that so many church people believe today; they believed that their own righteousness made them acceptable to God. They were wrong, and they were lost - just as lost as the murderer, the whoremonger, and the atheist.
This is how the Apostle Paul put it:
“Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3).
Paul made it so clear: it is not possible to trust partly in your own righteousness and partly in God’s righteousness to make you perfect.
Þ God’s righteousness cannot be earned by OUR righteousness!
Þ God’s righteousness is a gift!
Þ God’s righteousness must be accepted by faith alone, and by His grace alone!
Romans 11:6 says:
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise, grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise, work is no more work.”
Salvation does not happen by God’s grace AND our works. Salvation is either all by God’s grace, OR it is by all by our works. You are either trusting the grace of God to save you from sin and keep you saved, or you are trusting in your works to save you from sin and keep you saved.
Do you believe that?
In Romans 10:9-13, the Apostle Paul tells us how our own self-righteousness (filthy, smelly, bloody, rotten rags) can be completely covered with the God’s righteousness. By God’s righteousness, I mean perfect like God is perfect, holy like God is holy, and sinless like God is sinless.
Will you read it? Will you believe it?
“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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever (that is you) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13).
God did not say: might be saved. He said: shall be saved.
In conclusion of this study, I want you to know one thing very clearly. God promises salvation to every man, woman, and child; that is, if he or she will do one thing: "Call upon the name of the Lord."
Note what God says:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The word "whosoever" means:
Þ Anyone and everyone, no matter who they are.
Þ Any person, any culture, any race, any color.
Þ Any person from any environment, condition, background, country, government, or family.
Þ Any person, whether bad or good, poor or wealthy, nice or mean, unpopular or popular, deformed or attractive, diseased or healthy, needful or without need.
"Whosoever" means that any person can be saved. No matter how terrible a person and his circumstances may be, he can be saved. He may be in the depths of the inner city or in the depths of the jungle, and he may be enslaved by the most terrible spirit of sin and evil imaginable—God will still save whoever asks by faith.
To "call upon the name of the Lord" means at least two things:
- It means that a person calls upon the name of Lord Jesus Christ. He believes Jesus Christ can and will save him.
- It means that the person looks upon and believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that He is the Son of God who came to earth to save men. Very simply, it means that a person believes the message of John 3:16 and John 5:24.
“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).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT?
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