You lack the righteousness which comes by faith, which is required in God’s kingdom.
If I were to move to another country, I would have to leave the Bill of Rights behind. I would need to familiarize myself regarding the customs and laws of the land. In India, for instance, I learn that the death penalty applies to people who kiss in public.
Similarly, God’s kingdom has a different set of expectations for its citizens. Your moral values as an atheist do not meet the minimum requirements for acceptance in the kingdom of God. Romans 3:20 tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short with regards to keeping God’s laws for righteousness. In other words, you have already been found guilty and sentenced to death.
What laws have you broken? Naming one will suffice: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Jesus explains the commandment in this way: “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother “Raca” [empty head] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “You fool!” shall be in danger of @#!*% fire” (Matt. 5:22).
Have you called someone a fool or an idiot? Then you’ve broken this commandment. If you break a law in your state, you’d be a lawbreaker or criminal, and you could expect to pay a penalty, such as a fine, imprisonment, or do civic work. If you break God’s law, you are a sinner and can expect to be cast into @#!*% .
God is not looking for nice, moral people. He is looking for people who will love and obey him. Those who turn themselves over to him can expect to receive the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them to give them the power to live the life God wants.
What Do You Think?
a. Sometimes we can do the right things for the wrong reasons. Since God looks at the heart, wouldn’t he reward those who serve him from gratefulness more than those who scarcely acknowledge him?
b. Do you think you’ll get on God’s good side by ignoring what He wants you to do?
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