Sermons & Sunday Schools

How to Get Right with God

In this sermon, Pastor Babij talks about the most important question in life: how to get right with God. In explanation, Pastor Babij examines Romans 3:28 and discusses both the wrong way that most people take to try to get right with God and also the right way.

Full Transcript:

Let’s take our Bibles and consider the important question of how to be right with God. It could bolster our understanding of sharing the gospel with people as well. The texts I will be using today is Romans and Galatians. We’ll be looking at Romans 3:28 where it says:

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Father we thank You this morning that we are able to be together and worship You. I pray that as we open up the Word of God, we look at it’s contents and see what the message is that is found there and the Scriptures that Paul wrote to his church at Rome. I pray that we would always want to hear the gospel and be ready to receive it and think about it and speak it to others. We know that’s what people need in this dark world that we live in where it seems like chaos is abounding and the standard of law is being pushed away, and people are becoming openly rebellious to authority.

In these days it would be a great time to share Christ with people because that’s what they really need, the Lord. People don’t know how to get right with God and they won’t know without the Word of God. Give us the understanding and bring those who are listening today that don’t know You to a saving knowledge of Christ. Lord, continue to bring in the harvest because we know that the fields are ripe. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.

As we consider that passage of Scripture we all, at certain phases of our lives, ask questions about what trade we should pursue, or what college to go to, or whether we even will be successful in life. We ask about whether we each will find Mr. or Mrs. Right and have children. We ask about whether we will be good wives and mothers and husbands and fathers. The most important question that any person could ever ask himself is whether he is right with God. That’s more important, especially as you get closer to leaving this earth.

The most difficult thing about asking such a vital question is getting the correct answer. There has to be an answer to that question that is correct. Yes many many will deny that there is any need to get right with God. Their denial comes because they think that they have never been wrong with God. This comes from the understanding that mankind is basically good. Some even have the idea that the Bible has never really told us that man is the sinner and no good. They usually assess that before they even ever really read the Bible.

It is no doubt that some are better than others and not as good as other people. Everyone compares themselves to each other. However, this is altogether the wrong way with dealing with the question of whether you are right with God. There’s a statement in Scripture that surely causes every believer to gag a bit and it’s found in Romans 3:22, which says:

Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.

There is no difference that causes people to gag a bit because when God looks at people, he sees them just the way they are. He doesn’t fudge on them or compares them with other people. He actually compares them to Himself. And this is important because there is no difference between you and I when it comes to our own hearts. So how does God see all human beings? Well the next verse tells us in Romans 3:23:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

He is saying that all of us have failed the good test. All of us have failed the test before God. Our GPA is zero before God. Now it’s really not the goodness that I’m talking about of comparing people with people. But goodness compared to God’s perfect goodness that if we compare ourselves to God’s perfect goodness, we all fall short. This is for certain that if there is anything that the Bible teaches, it’s that men and women are not good and not right with God. The passage that Greg read this morning says in Romans 3:10-18:

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ;in their paths are ruin and misery, and ;the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

That’s how God sees us. Paul got this from the Old Testament. Psalm 14:1-3 says this:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Men have always been the same since the beginning of time. This is God’s opinion of you and me. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we are not right with God and we need to get that fixed. So let me examine briefly the wrong way that people take to get right with Him. Usually the wrong way to get right with God is the very popular way, which is the way most people think. Even in Proverbs 14:12 it says:

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

That’s how most people would think about this. In fact, this wrong way to get right is universally held by all people in all times. This applies to every generation and to every person who was born. There’s a thousand ways to interpret that. There’s a thousand ways that seem right to the fallen, dead human heart on how to be right with God. If that wasn’t so, then there wouldn’t be thousands of religious systems that all do the same thing, try to get somebody to hope that if they pass away they will be better off later than they are now.

So this way that leads to death as it says in Proverbs can be described by saying that someone can be right with God by the things they do. And it becomes a system of self-righteousness and works. Some people will say that they will live by the Ten Commandments and others say that they will live by the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do to you. Others would say they will follow the rules and standards of their religious system.

To those who follow the Koran, they will follow those teachings. To those who follow Buddha, they will follow the Eightfold Path. To those who are Catholic may go to mass every day. Or a person may say they will do the best they can, after all isn’t that all God wants? They help people and live a good life under their terms and understanding of goodness and they will live a moral life. The list can go on and on no matter how you slice it. These are all works based and basically us trying to save ourselves with the hope that God will look down and say that someone is trying pretty hard and will have to accept them.

All these are the attempts to save oneself before God, hoping that the divine scales will be heavier on the one side than the bad side. This is the wrong way to get right with God and it really stinks to high Heaven when you think about it, especially when you start reading the Bible. The person who strives to make themselves right with God in this way seems right but actually it shows that they are at odds and conflict with God.

The person who says whether it’s he or she has lived by the commandments really has an argument with Christ. The reason for this is that the Word of God says in John 7:19:

Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?

The people who said they were following God were ready to throw the commandments away and say they were still following Christ. Now some may say maybe they have not kept all the Ten Commandments but they know they kept some of them. Whether you kept some, one, or none, keeping the law will not make you right with God. James 2:10 says:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, ;he has become guilty of all.

The idea that by keeping some set of rules will make you right with God is the wrong way to be right with God. The bottom line is that we all have broken the commandments of God as it says in Scripture in Romans 3:28:

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

I want to tell you a story about someone you may have heard of, Donald Gray Barnhouse. He had an opportunity one day to preach the gospel on a transatlantic ship voyage. And after he preached that particular Sunday morning, a lady talked to him about how she might go to Heaven. He felt compelled to ask her a question. He said, “If this ship were to sink and plunge to the bottom of the sea and you were to find yourself with what men called debt and were standing before God, He would ask you what right you have to enter into His Heaven. Then what would you say?” The woman thought for a moment and answered, “I wouldn’t have anything to say.” Then Barnhouse said to her, “My dear do you realize that you are quoting the Apostle Paul?” In Romans 3:19 it says:

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth.

Everybody Jew and Gentile stand before God with their mouths closed because they have no defense or anything to say. So the law of God is not designed to save anyone let alone the self-made rules of some religious person. So what is the function of the law?

Well first of all it reveals sin, that God is holy and sets the standard for His people. The Bible tells us in Galatians 3:19 why the law was given:

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

The law reveals sin but it cannot remove sin. It pronounces guild on a sin but cannot provide grace for a person. The law causes death but it has no cure. It was Martin Luther, former Roman Catholic priest who became a preacher of the gospel and said the law is a hammer which smashes our self-righteousness and leaves us prostrate before God in our sins. The law was designed by God to shut up everyone under sin and that’s exactly what it does. The Bible also says that the law brings about wrath.

You may be thinking that if there are sinners in every period of history and the law of God that is the Ten Commandments cannot save them as someone endeavored to keep them, there would be no hope at all whatsoever.

There’s also good news connected to the law for the Bible says it’s a mirror to hold before our heart and show us that our heart is sinful. It was Martin Luther who said that the law is a mirror that shows us our vileness and sin. But one does not wash his face in the mirror. He rushes to the sink and washes his hands and face.

So many have a gross distortion of Christianity which really supposes that in keeping the law, they maintain the salvation of God. This has been and continues to be the most widespread heresy that every plagued the church. If anyones hope for Heaven are based on keeping the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, or the teachings of Jesus, or any other sets of rules in order to be right with God, then they will surely perish in their sins. No one on this planet has ever been able to keep all the commandments of God other than Jesus Christ.

That means that Jesus Christ becomes the answer on how to be right with God. A person is made right with God and comes in the family of God only through faith in Christ for it says in Romans 3:26:

For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Without this, people can’t recognize their pitiful condition and need of a Savior. The law is a mirror and gives us the knowledge of our sin. Therefore, we cannot be justified by the law because each of us is broken by the law. And that’s what Paul says in Romans 3:20:

By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

Again the law is a mirror which reveals to us our uncleanness and causes us to fly to the place where we can be made clean by the blood of Christ. The law is a whip and stings our back and drives us to the cross for redemption. So the law was given to us to show us that we are not right with God and we are sinners, undone and condemned before God. We need to have a sacrifice and we need someone to die in our place and wash away our sins. Contained in the law is a very special design. The law is our schoolmaster and it says in Galatians 3:24:

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

That means we have a lamb that takes away the sin for all those who trust in Jesus Christ who trust in His substitute sacrifice. I read a story about a person being arrested for driving down a one-way street and that person runs through three red lights, hits a car, continues to drive, tries to elude the police and finally gets pulled over. Then he slaps the policeman in the face where he is detained and hauled off to jail. The judge asks the man what he has to say for himself and he says that he stands on his record. And the judge says to him that his record is going to put him in jail. He gives him the full penalty of the law and fines him $10,000.

The problem here is that he has no money and is unable to pay. But his brother finds out about it and comes forward and writes out a check to pay the full penalty for the young man. The young man is confronted as he leaves and is asked what right he has to do so. He says that his right to leave this courtroom is that his fine has been paid by his brother.

This story relates to us because in the same way we are just like that man and have broken all the rules. When it comes down to it, we have nothing to say before God and will get thrown into that eternal jail. We have driven down the wrong way through this world and have violated His commandments over and over again, and the law has declared us as the sinners that we are and we have no defense against the judgment of God and all that we can really say is we are guilty as charged.

But Christ, as it says in Hebrews, is our older brother and comes to pay the penalty with his own precious blood. So why should we be allowed to leave the judgment hall and enter Heaven? Because all those who come and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, their penalty has been paid in full by Christ so they can enter into Heaven.

Secondly, what’s the right way people are to be made right with God? I believe that it’s clear at this particular point that all our own attempts at salvation, making ourselves right with God are utterly hopeless. We need not the righteousness which people try to work up on their own. That is the way of death and destruction. We need a righteousness that God reveals from Heaven. The Apostle Paul in Romans 3:21-22 says:

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.

There is a righteousness where God is the source and which He accepts when He sees it and which is beyond our ability to perform ourselves. Now you may ask, why does anyone need a righteousness that comes from God? Well let me answer that by asking another question. How good do you have to be to be good enough to go to Heaven. Well Jesus said it very clearly in Matthew 5:48:

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So you have to be perfectly good all the time for your whole life! If anybody is an honest person, they know they cannot do that. That’s the conclusion, that we cannot be perfect. The good news is that we don’t get to Heaven by being good enough. We get to Heaven despite the fact that no one is good enough and all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We get to Heaven because Christ was good enough and was perfect. We are trusting in Him. Jesus led the only perfect life of any man who ever lived it. Jesus alone who could actually say in John 8:29:

And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.

Only Jesus could have said that, that everything He ever did as a man pleased the Father completely. Jesus will grant to anyone who asks for His righteousness. He will give it to them who believe. Those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. He will give His righteousness. He will clothe them with the perfect white robes of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

So we are justified freely, not by any merits of ourselves but entirely by the goodness and grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ who died for our sins. Now how is this received? It is received by faith. Let’s say you say that you already believe in Jesus. Is that enough? Is that faith? A person must have a faith that the Bible says justifies the sinner before God. A faith that declares the sinner right before God. It also says in Romans 3:28:

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

We already know the law can’t save but faith in Christ not only saves but justifies the person before God and makes them right. That is the great truth of the gospel. It says in Romans 3:23:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

See faith is in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin for as God presented Him. People are made right when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life by the shedding of His blood. Anyone who believes that with all their heart will be saved. That is the most comforting truth that we can hear on this side of eternity. It was the blood of the infinite son of God Jesus that paid that penalty for us that we might not have to pay it and we might have an everlasting life. That’s why hell is eternal because the price of the debt that sinners owe God can never be paid off. That’s why Christ is the only answer. He is the answer to all the sin that is in the world and on the news.

This is the good news, that even though we haven’t kept the law and we will never be good enough in and of ourselves, God has given us a perfect lamb, the unblemished Lamb that takes away the sin of the world and died in the place unjust sinners. So Christ’s perfect righteousness makes a repentant believer right and acceptable with God. So what right do we have to go to Heaven? This is the right we have, that we have Jesus Christ who died in our place and who has given us His righteousness to be accepted in the beloved. We have nothing in ourselves to save ourselves.

So here is the question, are you right with God? Have you repented of your sins and have acknowledged that all your works are like filthy rags before God? Have you yielded yourself to Jesus Christ and surrendered your life to Him? Have you bowed to Jesus Christ as your Savior by confessing Him with your mouth and believing Him in your heart? Will you become right today if you are not? I would plead with you not to put it off. And if you are right with Him because you have believed in the final and only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then you can rejoice and know that Heaven is guaranteed to you based on what the Lord has done.

Let’s pray as we close this morning. Lord God, thank You for showing us from the Word of God the message of salvation and how unholy, imperfect sinners can be made right with the living God and who can be forgiven and cleansed and made perfect by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. If there are any out there who have never gotten right with You, I pray that they would say, “God I have been wrong and stubborn to not believe what is true. I have trusted in my own goodness and efforts to keep the law. I see today that all these ways are empty and cannot save me. I have broken Your law in thought, word, and deed and I am guilty in Your sight. Please Lord God have mercy on me, forgive and wash me and clothe me in the white robe of Your righteousness so that I may be truly right with God who created me and will save me by faith in Jesus Christ Our Lord. And I pray this in the precious Name of Jesus Christ and in His Name I ask it, Amen.