One day Joe and I were talking to Bill and Steve at the lake. The question was brought up, "How could people possibly be held accountable before God who have never heard of God or Jesus Christ?" I said, "Bill, suppose you went to visit Steve at his home, but he was gone and his wife was there. If you entered into an adulterous affair with her, would you feel guilty for violating your friend's wife? Even though you had never heard of the Ten Commandments or read the Bible? Where did that sense of guilt and feeling of accountability come from?"
You see, God has given every person, through the Law and your conscience, the ability to sense right and feel guilt for your wrong. The Law and the conscience are the self-judging functions that either accuse or excuse oneself in regard to one's conduct (Romans 2:14‑15).
Bill had been telling me up to that point what a good person he was. He didn't really see any need for the Savior. I turned to Exodus 20 and began to read to Bill the Ten Commandments. "Bill, has God always been first in your life, and have you always loved Him more than anything in the world? If not, you have broken the first commandment" (Exodus 20:3). "Have you ever exalted anything before God? If so, you have broken the second commandment" (Exodus 20:4). "Have you ever used the name of Jesus Christ as a four-letter word? You are guilty of breaking the third commandment." (Exodus 20:7) "Have you always set aside a day to honor and worship God? You have broken the fourth commandment" (Exodus 20:8). "Did you always honor your father and mother in your youth? You have broken the fifth commandment" (Exodus 20:12). "Have you ever become extremely angry with a person? You have broken the sixth commandment" (compare Exodus 20:13 with Matthew 5:21‑22). "Have you ever looked upon a woman and lusted after her?
You have broken the seventh commandment" (compare Exodus 20:14 with Matthew 5:27‑28). "Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you? You have broken the eighth commandment" (Exodus 20:15). "Have you always told the truth? If not, you have broken the ninth commandment" (Exodus 20:16). "Have you ever had a desire to have what belongs to someone else? You have broken the tenth commandment" (Exodus 20:17). "Do you see why Jesus said He came to save sinners?" (Mark 2:16‑17).
The problem with thinking we are good enough, or trying to be good enough to go to heaven, is the fact that we have all broken the Ten Commandments. James 2:10 tells us that whoever keeps the whole Law yet fails to keep just one point is GUILTY of breaking the Law. The Law was never meant to make you righteous but only to reveal your sin (Romans 3:19‑20).
We all need a Savior! The word "Savior" has the idea of one that can rescue you from the penalty of sin. Jesus rescues the perishing so that they might have eternal life (Matthew 1:21).
To be good enough to go to heaven, we must have a righteousness that equals God's (2 Corinthians 5:21). The good news of the Gospel is that not only will Jesus forgive your sins, but He is offering—freely—His very own righteousness to us as a gift (Romans 5:17: "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ").
- Read Mark 2:16‑17."16And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." - Mark 2:16‑17Who did Jesus come to save?Answer
- Read Romans 2:1."Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." - Romans 2:1When we judge others, what are we doing to ourselves?AnswerWhy?Answer
- Read James 2:10."For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." - James 2:10If we keep most of God's Law but just miss the mark on a few things, what are we guilty of?Answer
- Read Galatians 3:10."For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." - Galatians 3:10If we are going to be righteous by keeping God's Law, how much of it do we have to keep?AnswerAnd how long must we keep these commandments?AnswerDo you see why we cannot be saved by trying to be good enough?Answer
- Read Galatians 2:16."Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." - Galatians 2:16Justification is the gift of righteousness, supplied by God, that brings a person into right standing and relationship with God. Justification of sinners is offered through faith in Jesus Christ and is accomplished once and for all through His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3‑4and Romans 4:25)."3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" - 1 Corinthians 15:3‑4"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." - Romans 4:25What is a man not justified by?AnswerHow is a person saved?AnswerHow many people will be justified by the Law?Answer
- Read Romans 6:14."For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." - Romans 6:14As a Christian, you are:
- under the Law.
- under grace.
- Read Ezekiel 18:20."The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." - Ezekiel 18:20If you were under the Law, what would be the punishment for your sins?Answer
- Read Romans 4:6‑8."6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." - Romans 4:6‑8Under grace what three things does God do with your sins?Answer
- Read Romans 5:1."Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:1Now that we are justified, what benefit do we enjoy?Answer
- Read Romans 5:9."Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." - Romans 5:9Now that we have been saved by Jesus' blood, what will we be saved from?Answer
- Read Romans 10:4."For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." - Romans 10:4Christ ended the Law as a means of obtaining righteousness before God.Answer
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:30."But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." - 1 Corinthians 1:30God made Jesus Christ to be our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.Answer
- Read Philippians 3:9."And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." - Philippians 3:9When you go under the Law of Moses, you are trying to obtain your own righteousness.Answer
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:1."Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 11:1As Christians, we are living under the law of Christ. The law of Christ is not a set of rules to obey; it is living a life in response to a person. That person is Christ.Answer
- Read Romans 8:3."For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." - Romans 8:3The Law could never save us, not because the Law was wrong, but because in the weakness of our flesh, we could not keep it.Answer