How to Become Right With God

“How do I become right with God?” is neither a Jewish question nor a Gentile one. It is a human question. And the answer is neither Jewish nor Gentile. It is universal. However, it is through the Jewish people that God provided the way for us to have peace with the Almighty.

Many people believe God accepts them as they are because they do good deeds and try to be good people. But God sees us as sinners. The prophet Isaiah said, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isa. 59:2).

We all need to restore our relationships with Him but are incapable of doing so on our own. In his prayer of penitence for Israel, the prophet Isaiah declared, “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [good deeds] are like filthy rags” (64:6).

This is the human condition. We literally are “polluted” (in Hebrew) with sin. Even our good deeds cannot cleanse us. Pouring clean water into polluted water doesn’t make the polluted water clean. It simply makes the clean water dirty.

God condemns everyone as sinners:

There is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one (Ps. 14:1–3; cf. 53:3).

King Solomon, the wisest of men, observed, “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Eccl. 7:20).

God’s standard for righteousness is perfect sinlessness. Through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord says, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:20).

The New Testament reaffirms the Hebrew Scriptures. The apostle Paul quoted from Ecclesiastes and Psalms (Rom. 3:10–12) to declare everyone—Jewish and Gentile—sinners; then he added, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23). There is no way to avoid the fact that “the wages of sin is death” (6:23).

This truth flies in the face of human reasoning. We tend to compare ourselves to others and justify ourselves by thinking we are better than most and, therefore, God will accept us. Our hearts deceive us into believing we are good before Him (Jer. 17:9).

However, we need to see ourselves as God sees us. The Scriptures in both Testaments clearly indict us as sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness and are separated from Him by our sin.

The Bible teaches the only way to restore our relationship is through faith in His only begotten Son—the Redeemer of Israel—who bore the punishment for our sin so that we can escape God’s judgment.

The way of righteousness is the same today as it was in the days of Abraham: faith. Abraham wasn’t restored to God because he performed good deeds but because he believed God. He left his home, followed God to a land he didn’t know, and prepared to sacrifice his son as God commanded. All these actions were driven by his faith: “He believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).

Abraham’s standing before God came from his belief in the Lord and His promises. In pointing others to faith in Jesus Christ, the Jewish apostles stated that it was Abraham’s faith, not his works, that made him righteous before God (Rom. 4:3, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6; Jas. 2:23).

Faith is a personal matter between an individual and God. No church or institution can save a soul from judgment. Only God saves, based on faith in the One who took the punishment we deserve, died in our place, and rose from the dead.

The Lord warned the prophet Daniel that someday He will resurrect the dead to face their judgment, “some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2). After we die, our destiny is sealed. There is no further opportunity to repent. The author of Hebrews said it best: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (9:27).

God says the only way to be saved from eternal punishment is through faith in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world, who offers salvation freely to all who believe.

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