What if God saved everyone from the consequence of their sins? Truth is, He has! Jesus died to save the world. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 NLT) But we seem to be getting ahead of ourselves, let’s back up a little.
The truth from scriptures is that no one is going to hell because of their sins (plural), it’s because of sin (singular). Though a historical compendium, the Bible is actually a legal document. Its historicism serves as contextual precedence, laying foundation for the kernel of the law. Like all legal documents, the Bible is fastidiously technical. A simple letter “s” added to a word can portend great consequences. Take Paul’s analysis of Abraham’s will and legacy (Paul was a lawyer). He contends a simple letter “s” goes to the issue of definition of “descendant” of Abraham: “Now the promises [in the covenants] were decreed to Abraham and to his seed. God does not say, “And to seeds (descendants, heirs),” as if referring to many persons, but as to one, “And to your Seed,” who is none other than Christ.” (Galatians 3:16 AMP) The Message translation is easier understood: “Now, the promises were made to Abraham and to his descendant. You will observe that Scripture, in the careful language of a legal document, does not say “to descendants,” referring to everybody in general, but “to your descendant” (the noun, note, is singular), referring to Christ.” (Galatians 3:15-18 MSG) Without the elimination of letter “s” from that covenant the regime of grace would be in abeyance. That’s how technical the Bible is.
In the same way, the Bible distinguishes between “sin” and “sins” when it comes to acquittal from damnation. It is only when the issue of “sin” is clarified that the issue of “sins” can arise in God’s court. According to the Bible, the sin that leads to Hell is the sin of rejection of Christ as saviour. Singular “sin” – “Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him as personal Saviour and Lord is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe and has decided to reject Him as personal Saviour and Lord is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because he has not believed and trusted in the name of the One and only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him].” (John 3:18 AMP)
In the heavenly assizes “sin” goes to the issue of the state of a man, whereas “sins” addresses the acts of a man. Because Jesus sacrificed himself for sin he freed us from the penalty for our sins: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24 NLT) Think about it: the man destined for Heaven sins, even after being saved. The man who is going to hell also sins. Therefore the difference is not every day sinning, but the legal status at the time of death. It is only after the legal status has been resolved that the consideration of “sins” kicks in. It is the resolution of one’s standing before God (what the Bible calls righteousness) that determines whether one goes to Heaven or Hell. And there are two standards of righteousness. There’s a standard based on human morality – the doing of good; then there is God’s standard of righteousness. (cf. Romans 3:23-24)
The problem with the righteousness based on human morality is that it has no legal credence in God’s court when it comes to salvation. The reason is simple. Sin is a criminal subject matter, it is not a civil liability. Sin is a capital offence. In law, there’s civil liability and criminal liability. Civil liability is something like defaulting on a contractual obligation. If you agree to supply goods to someone at an agreed price but fail to do so, you’re liable for damages. If you’re a murderer, on the other hand, you don’t atone for your sin by paying money. You’re executed. The fact that Jesus was executed like a common criminal tells us sin is a capital offence. It is not civil liability. So there’s no amount of good you can do that will atone for your sins before God. You can’t do good to be saved. That’s like a murderer asking to be acquitted because he gave alms to the poor! It is therefore not our goodness that takes us to Heaven, it is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
Now, lawyers talk about vicarious liability. Interpreted, it means Jesus took on all those punishment on our behalf. He stood in our place. And he stood in the place of humanity. He was on that cross as an Adam. An Adam is a representative of the human race, a genetic source code, the federal head of mankind. There are two Adams. There was the original Adam – the guy we met in Genesis. That was the guy who introduced sin into the world: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned.” (Romans 5:12 AMP). Being the genetic source code of the human race Adam introduced sin into the human race. We were born sinners. We’re not so much sinners because of what we do. We’re sinners because we have a sin nature. We inherited it from Adam. It’s actually a psychological state that is hostile to God and produces a list of sins. (cf. Romans 8:6-7, Galatians 5:19-2) We sin because of our sin nature. But the Bible refers to Jesus as the last Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45) In that capacity he stood as representative of the human race on that cross. The work is done!
For those of us living at this time, obviously the death of Jesus took place before we were born. He died over two thousand years ago. In order for everyone to be able to plug into the legal resolution of the sin problem, God basically asks us to apply to be joined as interested party. Not by filling of forms in duplicates and triplicates but through simple faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. It’s not paper work, it’s heart work. “Because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognising His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 AMP)
Paul elucidates on this point further: “For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Saviour] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous – being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses his faith openly, resulting in and confirming his salvation.” (Romans 10:10 AMP)
So the subject of righteousness is a juristic question, it is not a moral equation. All the good in the world without legal standing before God will not yield any acquittal from sin. The locus classicus (classic case) on this point is the thief to the right hand side of Jesus at crucifixion. He obviously didn’t have any more opportunity to do any good in life, so neither goodness nor morality could save him. He had no morality. But he acknowledged the political authority of Jesus, acknowledged his power and majesty when he said, “Jesus, please remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42 AMP) Jesus replied, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43 AMP) Our goodness cannot save us. It is faith in the sacrifice of Jesus that saves. So yes, God HAS saved everyone from the consequences of their sins. But the legal requirement is that you apply to be joined as an interested party in the benefits of the resolution. You have the opportunity now.
If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, please pray this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus Christ died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Please forgive me Father. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.All the good in the world without legal standing before God will not yield any acquittal from sin. Click To Tweet