The Good News

Good News – No More a Sinner!

Once a week I have the wonderful opportunity to teach a group of 11-12 year olds about God and the Bible and what Christianity is really about. Recently, I challenged their views on how God sees each of them and I believe God blessed many with a fresh realization of the GOOD NEWS!

Photo: rgbstock

I started the class by asking them why Jesus came. Quickly, and somewhat expectedly, I got the answer, “To die for our sins.” I agreed, but wanted to expand on this truth. The verse that came to my mind was 2 Cor. 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” and I wrote it on the board. I then explained its meaning and, although everyone seemed satisfied, I wanted to see if they really understood what it meant to them individually. So, just as we had agreed upon in previous sessions, I had them again recognize that we have all sinned and still often do sin. And, that in fact, we had all probably fallen into sin a number of times over recent days.

Sinner or Righteous

Then, I wrote two headings on the board, RIGHTEOUS and SINNERS. I asked if Jesus were to return today and separate the RIGHTEOUS from the SINNERS, would they know what group they belong to. It seemed without a blink that each put themselves in the group of SINNERS. Now, I am sure that among them there were some not yet born again and that answer would be true for them. However, the believers among them also classified themselves as SINNERS. It seemed, both groups needed to hear the GOOD NEWS again. The SINNERS for salvation and the RIGHTEOUS (who called themselves SINNERS) for realization of what they had received in Christ.

Good News!

Undoubtedly, the focus that the Christians in the group had was on their behavior rather than on their pardon for sin and new identity in Christ. And, the non-believers probably had a blurred grasp of the GOOD NEWS. Using the above verse I again explained the good news, only in this instance I took the time to show them what the verse really meant to them PERSONALLY. I showed that Jesus who hadn’t sinned actually became SIN, that all of our personal sin and that of the world was put upon Him. And, that He did this, so that we could be called RIGHTEOUS and not SINNERS anymore. That’s GOOD NEWS!!!

Three Men Crucified

Then, to bring it home, I spoke of the three men who had been crucified (Jesus being one of them) and how the whole message of the GOOD NEWS for mankind is seen played out through what happened. In the middle was Jesus, having been charged as a criminal along with the other two criminals. Yet, we know that Jesus hadn’t ever sinned. One of the criminals scoffed at Jesus, not realizing who He was. The other one, realizing who Jesus was, turned to Him and said, “Remember me when YOU come into your kingdom.” We agreed that he had been a bad man, a SINNER, as he even said of himself. And yet, despite this, Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

Identity Changed

What happened at the cross then was that three died. One, a criminal, a SINNER, and he died a SINNER. In the middle was Jesus who was RIGHTEOUS, but who was made to be SIN and He died as a SINNER. Then on Jesus’ other side was another criminal, also a SINNER, who recognized that through Jesus, God was offering pardon for sin and a new life. Through faith in Jesus he was made RIGHTEOUS.

Will Good People Go To Heaven

The general idea that most of the 11-12 year olds seem to have had is that although we all do wrong, “good people” will go to heaven. This is typical of how many people think. Yet, “good people” are also SINNERS and as such don’t qualify. What everyone does qualify for is God’s wrath. Not wanting to pour this out on us, God instead poured it out on Jesus, so that we could be freed. The response of these two criminals (with Jesus in the middle), in a way, represent everyone.

It seems that entrenched into many church members is the idea that as Christians we are SINNERS, but the message of Christianity is that through believing (realizing and receiving) who Jesus is, and what He did for us, we are made RIGHTEOUS.

Rob Morley

3 thoughts on “Good News – No More a Sinner!”

  1. Read ecclisiates 7th chap- verse 20. Jesus says if u love me keep my commandments. So, u also start worshipping on sabbath. In an article by good news editor its written we follow sunday as sabbath knowing that saturday is true sabbath. There are many innocent and some have misunderstood God’s word. So I hope and pray that u understand it correctly and properly.

    1. Yes, Ecclesiastes 7:20 is in line with Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and also Romans 3:11-12, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God… there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

      Because of our sinful nature it is impossible for us to be righteous in and of ourselves. However, through Jesus’ sacrifice we can be made righteous. Righteousness is a free gift that is given, once and for all, to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

      “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law… the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation(satisfying God’s anger) by his blood, to be received by faith. …For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Rom. 3:20-28).

      Jesus took our sin upon Himself, and the penalty for our sin, death. He did this so that He could justify us and call us righteous. Below are some verses that tell us this:

      “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

      “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God …” (1Peter 3:18).

      “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

      At the point that we are made right with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, our nature is also changed and His Spirit comes to live inside of us enabling us to love Jesus and keep His commandments. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Apart from this grace we could never love Him properly nor keep His commandments.

      Having said this, we still easily fail. Hebrews 12:1 speaks of “the sin that so easily entangles us”. We fail when we fail to walk in the power of the Spirit. Consider these verses:
      “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never fulfill the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh wants is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, and so you do not do what you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16-25).

      Yet, despite sinning through failing to walk in the Spirit, we remain righteous in God’s eyes. We are called the righteousness of God!

      As to what day to worship, the Bible says, “One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). Even if someone was wrong about what day to worship, they would remain the righteousness of God, and God in time would show the person what’s right.

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