Q19: Is there any way to escape punishment and be brought back into God’s favor?
A: Yes. To satisfy His justice, God Himself, out of mere mercy, reconciles us to Himself and delivers us from sin and from the punishment of sin, by a redeemer.
Isaiah 53:10–11 “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
Becoming a fully devoted disciple of Christ is the most fitting response to the realization of salvation from sin (separation from God with a propensity for wrongdoing) and the redemption of our souls. We can demonstrate our devotion to following Christ (discipleship) by realizing our spiritual condition, hearing the gospel of Christ, and accepting Christ as our Lord and savior through confession of faith. We should place our faith in the One who saves and fulfilled the law by His death, resurrection and ascension.
In Romans chapter 10:3-13, Paul writes, “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
When someone does an unexpected act of kindness for someone, who does not have the means to provide equitable repayment, humility and gratitude may be the only way for the recipient of kindness to demonstrate the recognition of the value of the blessing realized by the act of kindness. In our relationship with God, placing our complete gratitude, faith, and hope in God is an appropriate successive response to the underserved gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
Our gift to see, hear, and confess the gospel of Christ should lead us to putting our faith and hope in action. Our relationship with humanity should mimic the concern for people our Lord has. The Word is clear when it says, “faith without works [action] is dead.” As the old adage goes, “your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.” Which of us, being aware of a building on fire, would not warn people trying to enter the building, even if the evidence of fire was not visible from their vantage point? Many of us would go so far as to go into a burning building and save those in harm’s way. Our awareness and firm belief in the holiness of God, our need for our Savior, and the ultimate fate of all who do not come to a saving knowledge and acceptance of God the Father and Jesus Christ, should inspire us to warn people entering into an eternity separated from God. Our hearts and minds should strive to learn more of God in order to empathetically implore our circles of influence to pursue the ways of God in Christ Jesus. The Psalmist puts it this way, “make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
In 2Peter 1:10 it reads, “therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” Practically speaking, use your gifts and talents to love God and love people in such a way that it becomes attractive to those who witness the testimony of your lives. If you talk about your relationship with, and faith in Christ, ensure your “audio matches your video.” The love expressed by Christ in scripture should be evidenced in our lives. We should be able to quote our brother Paul when he said, in 1Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. Do not simply let your actions speak for you; let your actions speak for your faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.