Friend, do you see eternity from where you are standing?
The Lord knows I have no desire to make your condition worse than it is by asking this question, nor to bring you any unnecessary fear or trouble. But you would call me a treacherous enemy, and not a good neighbor, if I should flatter you and not tell you the truth. If you visit a doctor when you’re sick, you expect him to tell you the truth, even if the diagnosis is grim. Sure, the knowledge of your disease may increase your fears; but you must know it or else you can never recover from it.
It is the same way with the spiritual sickness that brings eternal condemnation. I’m concerned that you are a stranger to God. For if you were a believer in Jesus Christ, your very heart would be set on God and His purpose for your life and the life to come. You would make it your chief concern to follow Christ now and prepare for everlasting happiness. You would not live in any willful sin, or neglect any known duty. You would joyfully live for Christ, knowing that He has prepared a place for you in heaven.
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” — Romans 12:18
One of the most beloved hymns of all time is John Newton’s Amazing Grace, not only among Christians, but also among many non-Christians. Its widespread acclaim crosses all boundaries of the belief spectrum, it seems. Most notably, Judy Collins’ version of the hymn was released as a single for the Christmas season of 1970, peaking at number 15 on the U.S. Billboard 100, and became an even bigger bestseller in the U.K., staying on the British chart for a remarkable 67 weeks. Her version is considered “one of the most notable recordings of the song for its spontaneous popularity.”
The Christian’s interest is clearly understandable, but why do unbelievers find it so compelling? Some suggest it is the familiar and beautiful melody that draws the ear, regardless of faith; but surely the distinct biblical expressions of doctrinal truth cannot be ignored. In fact, some singers, who find the term, “wretch” (Romans 7:24), to be objectionable for its quality of self-loathing, will purposefully change the words to “That saved and strengthened me,” “Saved a soul like me,” or “That saved and set me free.” Despite the occasional offense, however, the overall theme of divine favor can still stir the most hardened heart during those low times of life.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Please read those words carefully and take them to heart. This is the loving message of Jesus Christ who asks those who are burdened by sin to come to Him in faith with a promise of forgiveness and rest.
Who is Jesus Christ? He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is both fully God and fully man, born in human flesh to walk among us and show the world His righteousness, His obedience to the Father, and His amazing love. More importantly, this flawless, sinless Son of God came to give His righteousness to those who seek a perfect standing before God. In order to accomplish this, Jesus went to a cross and was there lifted up to die in the sinner’s place. There upon that cross, the sins of everyone who would believe in Him were transferred to Him so that he would take upon Himself the wrath of God. This was the great exchange of the cross—the sins of many laid upon Him, and His righteousness laid upon sinners as He shed His blood upon that cross.