(Image courtesy of http://nhne-pulse.org.)
"Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).
Not all non-Christians are vile scum picketing outside the gates of heaven.  By all appearances, I know quite a few upstanding, nice, generous sinners.  I'm sure you do too.  In fact, sometimes these non-Christians outdo me in patience and generosity.

Why, then, does God still find fault with the non-Christian?  Why will they be found guilty on the day of judgement and go away to darkness and gnashing of teeth?

Because they have rejected the Son of God.

While the sinner and the saint may look and feel similar to one another, they have a few strong distinctives that separate them.  Jesus Himself said that He did not come to bring peace, but to bring a sword -  a sword that divides the goats (sinners) and the sheep (saints), a sword that separates to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, judging the thoughts and intentions of each and every heart.  To be clear, the sinner and the saint are different.

One of the striking differences between a sinner and a saint is their hearts.  No matter how nicely kept the outside is, the heart of the sinner is hostile to God.  It cannot please God.  It will not - no, it cannot - submit to God's law.  All the sinner's seemingly good deeds merit no pleasure to God, for they are all as filthy garments; because at the heart, the sinner's gifts are the basically the same as a rebel taking a filthy rag and throwing it before the king's feet on his birthday.

Truthfully, this is the state of all of us initially.  There is not one who does good; no one is righteous.  Since every saint was once a sinner, all of us were dead in the trespasses and sins in which us once walked.  But God, being rich in mercy, and because of the great love with which He loved His Church, made His Church alive together with Christ!

There is only one man who has ever pleased God: the God-Man, Jesus Christ.  It is only, therefore, through faith in Him that one is justified before His judgement throne.  Death is the equalizer of sinner and saint; judgement is the destroyer of all appearances, for God looks at the heart.

What will He find in your heart on the day of judgement?  Will He find a new heart of flesh, faithful in submission to Christ as Lord?  Or will He find a heart as cold as stone to Christ Jesus, having never submitting to the Creator and Ruler of all things?

Man was made for a purpose: to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  When all outward appearances are cast off and our deeds are exposed before Him who knows all and sees all, will you be found clinging to Christ's righteousness or your own?  Remember: the standard for judgement is God, for He is the judge.  Only Christ has met His demands.  Repent and believe the Gospel, therefore, while you still have breath.

Oh Lord, please keep Your saints in the faith, that they may please You as they were made to do.  Also please save sinners, that they may escape Your wrath and no longer be a stench in Your nostrils, but that they also might please You in Christ.  You are God and You are Lord of all.  Amen.


"Repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).