As sinful people, we deserve only death. Yet God sent His Son so that we might have eternal life. Today, R.C. Sproul marvels at the gift of salvation and the assurance that it offers to every Christian.
Paul tells us, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life eternal through Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:23). Do you see the contrast in that statement by the Apostle? There’s a contrast between death and life. There’s a contrast between wages and gifts.
What are wages? Something you earn, something that you deserve, something that is owed to you by moral obligation. If God owes you anything, He owes you death. But the gift of God—the gift that you can’t buy, you can’t steal, you can’t earn, you can’t merit, you can’t deserve—the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. That absolutely astonishes me, blows my mind, that God would give us that free. That’s what He did.
Did anybody ever ask you the question, “Do you know for sure whether you’re going to heaven?” I hope you can answer that question, “Yes,” not because you’re sure of your own righteousness, not because you’re sure of your own justice, or you’re sure of the worthiness of your performance, but because you do have an assurance of the trustworthiness of God who has promised you eternal life in Christ.
If God says to me, “If you embrace my Son, I will give you life eternal—God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son; whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” if God promises that, if He stands behind His promise, if He’s a God of integrity, if His Word means anything, and if I believe in Jesus Christ, and somebody says, “Do I know whether I’m going to go to heaven?” I say: “Of course I’m going to go to heaven. God can’t lie. He doesn’t revoke His promises. He’s promised me eternal life in Christ. I believe in Christ. I’m resting my case in Christ. I come with no merit—nothing in my hand I bring except the righteousness of Christ. It’s my only basis for relating to God. God has promised me eternal life. If I say I’m not going to go to heaven, it would be to assume that God doesn’t keep His Word.”
And if I should die and stand before God tonight, and He says to me, “R.C. Sproul, why should I let you into My heaven?”—knowing what God requires in terms of obedience, knowing what He requires in terms of His law—I know what His law is, I know what His requirements are. I look at that. If God said, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” I’d say, “Oh God, you know, that I know, that You know,” you know, “Nothing in my hand I bring. The only thing I can plead is the righteousness of Christ—His merit and His merit alone. That’s the only way I can relate to You, God. I can’t relate to You as a peer. I can’t relate to You on a legal basis. I can’t relate to You say on the basis of an industrial contract. I can’t relate to You on the basis of my merit.”
We are profitable servants who can’t pay their debts, but who have been redeemed by an amazing grace.