Here are four divine imperatives. Four things demanded by God. If you do not possess and experience these four things by the grace of God in Christ, you will perish forever. Without these four things, you must forever be damned. All four of these things are stated emphatically by the Son of God himself. These are not the Words of a mere man, a mere, church, or a mere religious institution. These are the words of the incarnate God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. You must have a perfect righteousness before God.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
There is only One whose righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinner’s Substitute. You must have his perfect righteousness imputed to you, you must be made the righteousness of God in him, or you must forever die under the wrath of the thrice holy God.
2. You must be born again.
John 3:3 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God
No sinner can ever believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, no sinner can have life, no sinner can enter the glory of heaven, no sinner can ever can ever be saved until he is born again, raised from the dead, resurrected from spiritual death to spiritual life by the irresistible grace and power of God the Holy Spirit.
3. You must repent.
Luke 13:3, 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish…I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Repent or perish. There is no alternative. You must turn from the world to Christ. You must turn from your sin to Christ. You must turn from your way to Christ. You must turn from your religion to Christ. You must, by the grace of God, repent of…your sin…your sins, …and your righteousness. If you do not repent, you will forever burn in the fires of God’s wrath in hell. God help you to repent, for Christ’s sake.
4. You must be converted.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Conversion is the turning of God’s elect to Christ by the power of his grace. It is a willing turn of rebels to Christ as their King, surrendering to his do-minion. Yet, it is a turning that is caused by God’s free grace. We turn to him, because he has turned us by his grace. Yet, unlike regeneration and effectual calling, conversion is not something in which we are passive. Conversion is both God almighty turning us, and us willingly turning, under the influence of his grace, to him. Conversion is the willing response of the newborn soul to the effectual call of God’s grace. As John Gill put it, “Conversion lies in a man’s turning to the Lord actively, under the influence of divine grace, being thoroughly convinced that there is salvation in no other but in Christ.” If you read the Scriptures carefully, you will find that repentance, faith, and conversion always go hand in hand. They are inseparable gifts of God’s grace (Acts 11:18-21).
Notice once more what great emphasis is placed upon the instrumentality of Gospel preaching in the gracious operations of God. As in regeneration and in effectual calling, so also in conversion, the Lord God has been pleased to save his elect through the instrumentality of gospel preaching (James 5:19-20). It is as plain as the nose on your face that James declares by divine inspiration, that God uses human instrumentality to accomplish his purpose of grace toward chosen sinners. God is pleased, in his infinite, inscrutable wisdom, to work the conversion of his elect by the instrumentality of converted sinners. C. H. Spurgeon said, “Instrumentality is the plan of the universe.” So it is in the new creation God’s invariable rule that he converts sinners by the instrumentality of converted sinners. Specifically, sinners are converted by other sinners, in one way or another, preaching the gospel to them. Several things need to be stated and clearly understood in this regard. (1) The use of human instruments is in no way a necessity with God. It is his pleasure. (2) The employment of human instruments in the work of saving his people is honoring to God, both as an act of amazing, condescending grace and as an act of infinite wisdom and sovereignty. (3) If God almighty is pleased to use you, or me, or any other human being for the conversion of his elect, it will be the conferring of the highest possible honor upon us. AMEN.
Grace For Today Radio Message #550
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Danville, KY 40422 - 9438 - Donald S. Fortner, Pastor