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How To Get Right With God 1

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How To Get Right With God
Romans 10:9–10 KJV (WS)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
I’d like each of you to picture yourself floating down a river.
Some of you are in inner tubes, floating lazily along in the calm parts, enjoying the excitement of the rapids when you get to them.
Others of you are going in more comfort, in a boat.
Back at the place where you rented your tube or boat, there was an ominous warning sign that read, “WARNING! All who go down this river face the risk of going over a fatal waterfall, often without immediate notice.
The company assumes no liability.” That sounded kind of scary, but since so many others were renting tubes and boats and having so much fun, you shrugged it off by thinking, “That’s probably just a disclaimer so the company won’t get sued.”
So you launched off.
The river I’m speaking of is the river of life.
Every one of us is floating down it, some just with the basics, some in style.
The trip is generally enjoyable. Some get dumped in the rapids, but come up sputtering for air and get back on board.
But every once in a while you see someone who hits the rapids, goes under, and never comes up.
It troubles you for a while, but you figure, “I’m still floating and enjoying the ride.” So you put it out of your mind and keep cruising along.
Once in a while you remember that warning sign back at the start and wonder what hidden dangers might be lurking around the next bend, but usually you shake the thought and keep floating along.
Suddenly you notice that the current has gotten much stronger.
You’re moving quite rapidly downstream. And, you notice a noise that keeps getting louder and louder, until you can’t hear anything else.
You see some who are trying desperately to paddle upstream, but it’s not doing them any good.
Some others are simply yelling, “Help! Save me!”
But you’ve heard from some others who were floating down the river that going over the falls is not all that bad. It’s just part of the natural cycle of things, and no one really knows what’s on the other side. So just accept it.
When it comes to floating down the river of life and facing the inevitability of death and of standing before God, the best advice you can get isn’t the philosophy of someone else heading downstream, who thinks that the falls aren’t all that bad.
Nor is it best to follow the example of those who are rowing for all they’re worth to try to escape the inevitable or to deal with it in their own strength.
Rather, what you need is someone who has already experienced the falls, who knows for sure what is on the other side, who can tell you how to get ready for it.
You need someone with a sure word on how you can be ready to face God.
Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to tell us what to expect in death and when we face God.
He claimed to have come to this earth as one sent by God the Father.
He died and was raised from the dead, and was seen in His resurrection by many reliable witnesses.
He spoke authoritatively about how we can get ready to face the falls that surely lie ahead on the river of life.
One of those witnesses who saw the risen Lord Jesus was a man who formerly had been bitterly opposed to Him. After his encounter with the risen Christ, the apostle Paul later wrote that the entire Christian faith hangs on the truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
He said, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins”
1 Corinthians 15:17 KJV (WS)
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
That statement implies that our sins are a problem that need to be dealt with before God, and that they are in fact dealt with in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9–10 KJV (WS)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
That same apostle tells us how believing in the risen Lord Jesus gets us right with God.
We get right with God by believing and confessing that Jesus is the risen Lord.
Paul is talking about his deeply felt concern for his fellow Jews who needed to be right with God, but who in fact were mistaken on this most crucial matter.
When Paul says that his prayer to God is for their salvation.
Romans 10:1 KJV (WS)
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
We need to understand what that word salvation means.
It is not a mild term. It does not mean that folks need to change their course slightly or that they need a little boost from God to help them cope.
The only people who need to be saved are those who are hopelessly lost or in grave danger, who cannot deliver themselves.
So when the Bible talks about the need for salvation, it is referring to a desperate situation where, if God does not intervene, those needing salvation will be eternally lost.
As Paul has shown us that every person, from the raw pagan to the most religious person on earth, is under God’s just condemnation for his sin and is desperately in need of God’s salvation.
The pagan may not even realize the trouble he’s in. He’s just floating through life, enjoying the trip, not thinking too much about the falls ahead.
The religious person may realize the impending problem, but he’s confident that by his own good works and efforts, he can solve it.
But Paul has shown that both types are in big trouble, because they have sinned against a holy God.
In the case of the religious type, Paul acknowledges that they have a zeal for God, but it’s not according to knowledge.
Romans 10:2 KJV (WS)
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Contrary to popular opinion, it does matter what you believe.
You can be as sincere as the day is long in believing that your car will fly you across the Grand Canyon.
You believe it so sincerely that you drive your car toward the rim at 90 miles per hour.
Your sincere belief will plunge you to your death, because it is not based on the truth.
You can sincerely believe that because you’re a good person, you will get into heaven, but if that is not the truth, you will plunge into destruction.
The Jews were sincere in thinking that their good deeds along with their Jewish birthright (after all, they were God’s chosen people) would make them right with God.
The fallacy in their thinking was, they didn’t understand God’s righteousness, nor did they submit to it (10:3).
Romans 10:3 KJV (WS)
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
That is precisely the error of many “good” people in our day:
They underestimate the absolute righteousness of God.
They fail to see that God is so holy that even the most righteous person on earth would be consumed if he stood before Him, just as a spaceship would be consumed if it attempted to land on the sun.
They overestimate their own righteousness by mistakenly thinking that their good deeds can qualify them for heaven.
So Paul wrote these verses to show how people who think they’re pretty good, but who really are heading for the falls, can get right with God--get saved.
(It also applies to those who know they’re in big trouble, who know they need to be saved.)
1. To get right with God, you must recognize that you’re wrong before God.
The Apostle Paul formerly thought that he was right with God.
He was zealous in his practice of the Jewish faith.
As a Pharisee, he was meticulous in keeping the Jewish rituals and ceremonies.
He says he was “... a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness of the Law, found blameless” (Phil. 3:5, 6).
Philippians 3:5–6 KJV (WS)
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But like many who are religious, Paul mistakenly thought that righteousness is an outward matter of keeping a bunch of rules and regulations.
He took great pride in his ability to do all these things.
But in reality, God’s law is a matter of our hearts before Him.
His holy standards, rather than justifying us, actually condemn us.
The very first commandment,(Exod. 20:3) convicts us all, because none of us have always put the living and true God in His rightful place in our hearts.
Exodus 20:3 KJV (WS)
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
The entire law, summed up in the two great commandments, to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbor as we do in fact love ourselves, does not exonerate us.
It condemns us by revealing how far we fall short of God’s perfect standard.
So God’s law reveals His own perfect righteousness as well as the extent of our sin. It tells us of God’s judgment that we face because of our sin.
Until this dawns on us, we won’t recognize our need of salvation. We’ll just cruise down the river thinking that things are fine, not recognizing the falls ahead.
So the first step in getting right with God is to realize that, even if you’re a good person, a religious person, you’re wrong before Him.
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