Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Merit

If God judges on merit, where is the bar? Is it high? How do you know? Is it low? How low? How high? Does God grade on the curve? What happens to those who do not make the grade regardless of how low the bar is? Do they go to Heaven anyway? If so, then the bar has no significance.

If everyone goes to Heaven when they die regardless of their belief or character does their character change when they die? How? Why? If it does not change then Heaven would be Hell. Heaven would be filled with immoral people.

If, however, God has a high bar then overwhelming numbers of people are lost. If merit is the way then they have no hope. If God has 4.0 moral standard then 100% of the population is lost.

If God has a solution which is not based upon the merit of man, but on his own merit of Justice and Love, Mercy and Forgiveness, then there is a solution for everyone. That is the way it is!

Without the cross of Christ the bar is very high, so high that no one has ever made it except Jesus.

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Romans 3:20

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6

If this were the only scriptures then there is not hope for anyone.

But there is hope.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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.” Ephesians 2:1-9

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:5-8

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

If this inclusive free salvation for all people is not the way, then if there is a way in the world religions and philosophies, ancient or modern, advanced or primitive none have yet shown an inclusive way that guarantees salvation and has a solution for sin, past, present, and future.

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