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 I want to start off by posing a question to you. First, I will give you a scenario, followed by that question. There is a man sitting in jail. He has gone astray and committed several serious crimes. These crimes are so severe that he will have to pay for them with his very life, the death sentence. If you could stand in the place of this man and take his punishment, which is death, so that he could go free would you? That sounds absurd doesn't it? Most of us cannott imagine dieing in the place of a convicted criminal and if we were honest with ourselves, we wouldn't even die for a "good man."

What if I told you that God has declared all of mankind, yourself included as being guilty of going astray, of committing serious crimes against His law and therefore against Him, and that the severity of these crimes calls for the death sentence. Isaiah 53:6a "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;" In other words, the Bible is saying, that we have all chosen to live our lives in rebellion toward God.  

We have all disobeyed God, which is called sin. Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  Would you agree with that ? Look at the ten commandments, have you kept them in word, thought and deed? What about the lifestyle you live? Do you have other gods before the one true God? Such as money, sex and partying? Do you live by the principles of the world verses God's word? Do you have any conviction when you lie, steal and use God's name in vain? Do you hate and lust, which Jesus said is the same as murder and adultery?

The law of God can't free us it merely is used to give us a knowledge of our sin (Romans 3:19-20). It was meant to show us that we are law breakers and under God's judgment. If we die in our sins we will pay for them forever in a place called hell. The person will be conscious and in great torment without any hope of getting out. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death.."

A lot of people believe that going to church, being baptized, confirmed, keeping sacraments and doing good deeds will somehow even the score with God and earn salvation. Romans 4:4 "Now to him that works (tries to earn salvation) is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." In other words, it will actually work in reverse. Instead of earning merit with God, it will be charged against them.

Look at it another way. Let's Use the guilty criminal on death row from above. What if he started doing really nice things for the prison guards, what if he attended anger management courses, what if he even attended services within the prison? Would that erase what he did? Would it take away his sentence, his payment for the crimes? Would it take away his guilt? These are all nice things in themselves, but they cannott erase his debt for the crimes committed.

However, what if someone stepped forward for us and was willing to pay our debt in full? I specifically left out a portion of Isaiah 53:6 when I mentioned about us being like sheep going astray and here's the reason. Isaiah 53:6 b "....and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus Christ) the iniquity (sin) of us all." My friend, someone has come forward on your behalf to pay your fine and take your punishment. That person is Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son." I also left out the last part of Romans 6:23 "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The penalty for your sin and mine couldn't be taken on by anyone else. It had to be someone who could present themselves perfect before God. The person had to be like man, yet be without sin (Rom. 8:3). He had to be able to exchange something on our behalf to settle the debt and remove the consequences of sin. Here we have the great exchange. 2 Corinthians 5:21 "For He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." In other words, God laid your sin upon Christ at the cross so that you could be pardoned and that you might receive eternal life through Christ.

Why did God do this? Love!!!Romans 5:8 "But God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." How do we know His sacrifice has been accepted by God the Father? Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God. He can make a sinner righteous before God and give to Him His very resurrected life. How is this done? John 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."

When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior, God in His grace grants to you the perfect righteousness of Christ, because of what He did at the cross. He gives you the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of you and with that, the power to turn from sin and live for Christ. The result. Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by His blood,we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Romans 5:1 "Therefore having been justified by faith,we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Salvation is a free gift to be received not earned. Ephesians 2:8-9 "for it is by grace that you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourself, but is a gift of God." Would you like this free gift of grace? Then go to God in prayer. Repent of your sins, confess them and forsake them and come to Jesus for salvation. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

Please contact us and let us know that Christ saved you. We would love to pray for you and give you some materials that will help you in your new relationship with the living God. God bless you.

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    The Lighthouse Fellowship
    660 N Van't Haaff
    Corsica, SD 57328
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