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|Why is it important to be sure where you will spend eternity? Is the faith that people have in God going to get them into Heaven? Matthew 7 says, "I'm sorry. I never knew you,' here's what His message is." What are two ways that Jesus talked about misplaced faith.
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. YBS1
Keywords: Righteousness, Perfection, Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23
Ankerberg: Speak to how a person gets that righteousness that Luther got when he realized what Scripture was saying.
Lutzer: First of all, it is a recognition that our works contribute nothing to salvation. Because I’ve already emphasized, the only righteousness that God accepts is His own – it’s a righteousness of which we have none! All of our good works are tainted, even “our righteousness is as filthy rags,” it says in the book of Isaiah [64:6] and in the New Testament, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” [Rom. 3:23]. Yes, some have sinned worse than others, no doubt about it. But all have sinned. And so what happens is, Jesus becomes for us now everything that we have sought. Twenty four hours a day God demands perfection and holiness from me if I am to be His child and to be in fellowship with Him. Twenty four hours a day, Jesus supplies what God demands. Isn’t that wonderful?
Ankerberg: It’s fantastic.
Lutzer: I mean, you talk about something I’d die for, there aren’t a whole lot of things I’d die for, but I’d die for what I’m telling you right now. Because it has affected my life, it has changed my life. And it isn’t something that you experience, you know, just at conversion. It’s something that invigorates me every day, that “before the throne my surety stands,” as the hymn writer says. “My name is written on His hands.” To think that I am already in Heaven legally because it says that we have been raised with Jesus Christ, we have been seated with Jesus Christ, and Jesus represents me now to the Father. And do you know what that means? That means at death there’s no hassle at the border because, you see, we’re already legally in Heaven. One of the first doctrines that Luther gave up when he understood this was Purgatory, because Purgatory was based on the notion that nobody dies righteous enough to get into Heaven. Now, they understood that you have to be perfect to get into Heaven. Thank God that medieval theology understood that, which our generation has forgotten. And the way in which you get into Heaven, you see, is you die imperfect and you’re in Purgatory where you are purged in these fires and so forth. Nobody knows how long, but eventually, God says, “Now you’re perfect. Now you can come in.”
What Luther understood was this: that if the righteousness of God is applied to me in this life, I can go from this life directly into Heaven and be presented into the presence of God as perfect as Christ Himself is, because I’m saved completely on the basis of the merit of Jesus, and not my own righteousness. That is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.