(2) ACCEPT HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS--BY REPENTING
If we would be saved from the guilt of our sins, we must be willing to turn from sin to live for Jesus (according to the standard of righteousness He expects of us). In practical terms, repentance is: the determination to live for Christ. Jesus came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). The apostle Paul put it this way:
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:1-4).
If we accept Jesus, we must accept His righteousness, and live as He lived.
He made it plain enough in Luke 13:3 - "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish." The very first time the gospel of Christ was preached after His death and resurrection, people asked - "'What shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37,38). When the apostles were preaching Christ, repentance was basic to the admonitions - "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). And repentance is to bring about a change in the way we live. As the apostle Paul wrote of Jesus - "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21).
(3) ACCEPT HIS DIVINITY--BY CONFESSING
To accept Jesus means to recognize that He was more than a man. He was (and is) the Son of God. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone...Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:9,14,15). To recognize Jesus Christ for who He really is, read with me:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-3,14).
When Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, the man asked to be baptized, and Philip replied - "If you believe with all your heart, you may." Then the eunuch said - "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). That confession shows the faith the man had, and it is commended for all of us who would accept Jesus. In fact, we read in John 12:42,43 - "Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Surely, none would argue or suggest that those who refused to confess Him had accepted Christ as Savior, even though they believed in Him to some degree.
We will conclude this study in our next lesson.