Luke 13:3 “Repent, or you will likewise perish.”
Repent means “to turn away from.” We are to turn away from sin, have genuine contrition, and commit to stop sinning with God’s help. For example, what if a wife discovered her husband was having an affair and he pleaded for forgiveness, but after some time he began to beg her to let him resume his affair? Is this repentance? No, this is anti-repentance. If he were truly repentant, he would have wished the affair never happened and would do everything possible to restore his relationship with his wife because of his love for her. So repenting to God is to be truly sorrowful for our sins, turn away from doing them, and live for God instead of our sinful appetites.
Hebrews 10:26-29 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
When a person stands before a judge in court, the judge is not trying to figure out how good a person is but how guilty an person is. One violation of law requires the judge to declare guilt and a punishment. It is similar with God. Just one violation of His law determines us as guilty in the same way as if we broke all the laws. Good human judges cannot be bribed and neither can God.
Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.”
A good human judge does not overlook punishment and neither does God.
Proverbs 11:21 “Be sure of this, God will not let the guilty go unpunished.”
But you say, “I’m so good (self-righteous).” Many criminals don’t think they are bad people either. But it does not matter – it only matters what the judge thinks. What does God think of our good works?
Isaiah 64:6 “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…”
It is not our goodness that saves us but God’s goodness and grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
For a more detailed explanation why goodness does not save, read the first lesson of Why Jesus available in the sidebar for free.
What other religions do this?
- Most religions say their faith is the only way as well.
- Most other religions say salvation can be earned by good works.
- Christians believe we’re guilty of breaking God’s law and no amount of good works can pay God off. That’s why Jesus paid our penalty (death) by his crucifixion and conquered death by his resurrection.
Get your copy of Why Jesus in the sidebar for a detailed explanation.