Most people, who don’t follow Jesus, think of their path and the Christian path as being basically the same, two paths going in the same direction. Both the person who sees himself as basically good and the Christian accept basic moral guidelines. Because they have this in common, if a holy God actually exists, surely He will accept and appreciate the good things this person does. So He definitely won’t judge them, because they are basically on the same team any way. But, that’s not what the Bible teaches.
Imagine life in this way; imagine that life is a one lane highway, one lane going two directions. On any highway there is no parking or standing still. If you try parking your car on a highway you will be forced to pull over and ticketed a heavy fine or you’ll get run over. So in order to stay on life’s highway or any other highway, you always have to stay moving. Also, as on any road you have to go in the direction that’s been determined by the state, if they say north, and you go south, you get in big trouble! Now, life’s road doesn’t just go on in any direction forever. It ends, and its end is not nothingness. According to the Bible for a follower of Jesus “to be absent from the body” is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). For an unbeliever according to Jesus, the “wicked will be taken out from among the righteous and thrown into the furnace of fire (Matt 13:5)” a place called hell. Now the “basically good” people don’t think they are going the wrong way so at this point it’s necessary to explain what it means to go the wrong way as far as God’s concerned. But it might be easier to explain the wrong way if we start by understanding the right way.
The right way is the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are God’s moral law. And who is the Judge of God’s law? Jesus is. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world” (John 9:39). Now, man’s law has a lot of “loopholes.” Some lawyers make their living taking advantage of these loopholes so their clients don’t go to jail. If I break too many traffic laws and lose my license but I know a lot about the law, maybe, through clever lawyering I can reverse my sentence and regain my driving privileges. But Psalms 19:7 says that, “the Law of the Lord is perfect”.
A perfect law is carried out perfectly. If there were any loopholes, it wouldn’t be perfect. So once this law is broken the penalty must be paid and the guilty offender has to receive their just punishment in hell. But you’re probably thinking “hell seems just for a murderer perhaps, but not for me.” The Bible says “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), but Jesus said that the consequences of sinful anger were the same as the consequences for murder (Mathew 5:21-22). According to God’s law murder and wanting to murder carry the same consequences. The Bible says “you shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), but Jesus said whoever looks with lust has committed adultery in their heart (Mathew 5:27-28). God’s law, unlike human law, cannot be obeyed in practice but disobeyed in desire or conscience. The Bible says “you shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Coveting is wanting to take something or someone that doesn’t belong to you without concern for the person who it or they do belong to. If you’ve lusted, which you have, you’ve definitely coveted. In addition to these you have stolen. You have born false witness against your neighbor (lied about someone). You have worshipped something other than God (self, sex, money, etc.) and are guilty of idolatry. Maybe “Jesus” has become a swear word. That’s called blasphemy. The Bible says that we were born sinners (Psalm 51:5). Your life has been going in the wrong direction from the beginning and you have probably passed a lot of warning signs telling you to turn around. But you were headed in the wrong direction too fast to pay them any attention. If you want to know what one of these warning signs might look like;
You’re passing one right now.
And every time you saw someone heading in the right direction you probably thought they were foolish. Because in your sin the things of God are foolishness to you because they have spiritual value and you can’t understand them. And so through the knowledge of Gods law we come to understand how sinful we actually are. Knowing this leaves us hopeless. “I don’t have peace with God… I’m not forgiven.” There’s an enormous separation your sin has created between you and a holy God. Instead of your goodness remaining goodness, compared to Gods standard of goodness, it’s shown to be, as the Bible says, “filthy rags” (Isiah 64:6) to God. Imagine standing before the judgment seat of Jesus this way!? Your goodness isn’t worth anything and you can’t buy His forgiveness or stop His wrath. You thought you were okay but He says, “Depart from me you who practice lawlessness” (Mathew 7:23). Is this how God has left everyone, Hopeless, separated, condemned? No, “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 1:31). Repent, turn from your sin. Trust Jesus to pay the debt you can’t. Not through a legal loophole but through Him receiving and suffering the death that you earned. He paid what you couldn’t and He paid it with the only payment acceptable to God, His blood.
Please don’t read this and continue down the path toward judgment when Jesus makes it possible for you to turn around. Please repent, ask forgiveness from Him, and He will be faithful to forgive you.