When we talk about sin, judgement, forgiveness and faith in Jesus, we sometime miss the blinding simplicity of it all.
Jesus died for the “Sin of the World”(Note A) – all the sin of every person, over all time, both those who lived before and after Jesus was crucified, was borne by Jesus on the Cross. Jesus brought things back to the days of Adam. We now have a free choice. The choice is to accept or reject God. God made even that simple. If you accept His son, whom we have seen, then you accept Him(Note B). The only remaining, unforgivable sin is to reject Jesus(Note C). ...Hence Rule 2.
If anyone adds any condition for entry to heaven apart from belief in what Jesus did on the cross, don’t listen to them! There are additional rewards in heaven depending on how you respond to the calling God has put on your life, but Jesus is the only entry condition. And those who are wise will know that even the reward is being close to Jesus.
Did you notice? God runs a reward scheme, not a demerit scheme. He never seeks to punish or drive us away from Him, but only to draw us nearer.
Be warned, some people have subtle ways of making salvation, that is, your entry to heaven, conditional on things like: being baptised; manifesting certain gifts or fruits of God’s Spirit; or repentance, by which they mean not sinning. These things are good consequences that flow from making the right choice, but making salvation conditional on anything means that it is not a free gift. It undermines the completeness of the Cross and the Grace of God, which is His unmerited favour. If you go down this road it will lead you away from God and you will be trapped by law and religion.
Jesus died for the “Sin of the World”. (John 1:29, John 3:16-18, 2 Corinthians 5:14-19, 1 John 2:2) That this applied even to those who died before the Cross is made even clearer in John 5:25-29, Matthew 27:52-53 and Hebrews 10:12.
If you accept His son, whom we have seen, (Colossians 1:15, Luke 2:30, John 1:34, 1 John 1:1-3), then you accept Him. (Luke 10:16, Matthew 10:40, Mark 9:37, John 13:20)
Unforgivable sin: Matthew 12:31 says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. But the Holy Spirit’s job is to lead you to Jesus. So I still see rejecting Jesus as the unforgivable sin. Just before this scripture Jesus had driven out demons and healed. Jesus says that this was done by the Holy Spirit as testimony of who He was. To attribute this to Beelzebul was denying the witness of the Holy Spirit to who Jesus was. Similarly, Luke 12:8-10 links denial of Jesus to unforgivable sin.
In John 15:22-24 Jesus twice says that the Israelites would have no sin if he had not come and spoken to them and done the signs he did. But because they hated Jesus they have no excuse for their sin. Wow, did you catch that? The same people he accused of hypocrisy, twisting the word of God, legalism and self-righteousness would have been totally free of sin had they not rejected Jesus.
When Jesus spoke this he knew that tomorrow he was to be crucified to pay the price of sin. The Jews knew and acknowledged who God was – that was no problem. Their sin was going to be atoned for, once and for all, the next day. But because they had rejected the Son of God, their sin remained.
Perhaps you see the rejection of Jesus as an unforgivable sin or perhaps you see it as a pre-requisite to receiving the forgiveness paid for on the Cross. Either way, Jesus declared that their sin would be no more had they accepted him. Jesus made no pre-condition that they first repent.
If Jesus had not declared himself convincingly as the Messiah, the Son of God, and had quietly gone to the Cross, their sins would still have been atoned for. But in declaring himself as the Son of God, it was God’s plan to make the acceptance or rejection of Jesus the only qualification of your salvation.
So, what is your choice? Will you accept or reject Jesus?
Jesus described the role of the Holy Spirit in John 16:8-11. He says that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement:
Concerning sin because they do not believe in Me (Jesus).
That’s it – no qualification. Did you get it? There is no sin that God will convict you of except the sin of rejecting Jesus. Sin is no longer the issue – it’s all about accepting or rejecting Jesus.
Concerning righteousness because Jesus is going to the Father.
Concerning judgement because the ruler of this world has been judged.
Those who reject Jesus remain as sons of Satan. That is, they belong to Satan who has been judged. At the end of the age those who reject Jesus go to where Satan is – the Lake of Fire.
So what decides whether you end up in Heaven or the Lake of Fire? It is not sin, meaning the things you have done. You just go to be with the one to whom you belong. The sad part is that because Adam rejected God, the default is Satan until you choose Jesus.
So, have I revealed the radical simplicity of it all? Jesus has done the hard part. All I have to do is to choose Him. No one can deny me that choice. Some things are hard and some things are easy. Though the decision is simple and clear, it does not always make it easy. There are many pressures to conform to the way this world thinks. This world is under the influence of Satan. Religion also clouds the issue and moves the requirements off of what Jesus has done, and back onto you. That makes it impossible.
The choice is simple and clear but sometimes the decision may seem hard. It’s probably that someone or something is trying to confuse you. Remember these two steps:
Now someone will try and confuse you over what it is to choose Jesus. Try this test:
Do you want to belong to this Jesus?
...That is what it means to choose Jesus!
I’m drifting past the goal of this article, namely, to show the simplicity of the choice before you. But I don't want you to be easily misled. It’s not about how much you understand or conform to various expectations; it is in the end, just a question of whether you want this Jesus as your Saviour; your King; your friend; and your God. If you do, you are saved, and phase 2 of the Holy Spirit’s job description cuts in, where He will guide you, counsel you and comfort you. That is why I only need to point you to Jesus. The Holy Spirit will take over once you make that decision.
Never forget step 1 – Jesus has already done it all. And if He has done step 1, then He will surely complete step 2. Don’t try and improve on that. The Helper will show you more and more to be amazed at; more and more to be thankful for; and that there is nothing to fear. You will know you love others because you will want to show it; especially by sharing what a great thing you have discovered in Jesus, even eternal life.