There is One who is altogether lovely. Unless our gaze is fixed upon Him, the heading and bearing of our life will never stay in the direction which is for our highest interest. Often, for people of all ages, life itself appears empty, hollow, and without satisfaction. But when the life is focused upon Him, everything comes into perspective. Duty, sacrifice, goals and aims, what to strive for and what to lay aside—all become clear. What do you see when you look toward Jesus for a “thoughtful hour each day”?
Jesus by a voluntary act of free-will offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. His sacrifice is for the sins I have committed, and I receive a personal pardon for sin when I repent, confess, and put my trust in Him.
Many Christians believe this and they think that it is “righteousness by faith.” Indeed it is part of it, but not even one person can be saved just by having his sins pardoned (justification, pardon and forgiveness are all the same thing). We know this for sure from Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus that unless a person is born of the Holy Spirit He cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5.
There are other things that need to happen in order for you to receive the richness and fulness of the blessing that Jesus wants to give to you. Do you understand who the real Jesus is? The devil is constantly trying to confuse people either about the divinity or the humanity of Jesus. If you lose sight of the fact that He is a divine Person who is equal with the Father, (See Adventist Apocalypse, 368.) not only will you lose sight of the magnitude of the divine sacrifice, but you will not realize the value of His virtue or character either.
In heathen religions, in order to be holy, men perform various acts of penance, sacrifice and suffering. In some religions it is believed that the merits gained by one person for his good works can be transferred to another who has done less good works.
If we have real New Testament Christianity we do not do any works to gain merit, in fact we believe that as far as merit goes, the best and most godly Christian is utterly helpless and has no merit of any kind of his own. (See Philippians 3.) Any merit that we have as Christians is of grace and is given to us as a free gift when we put our trust in Jesus. His life and character being divine, His divinity places Him above the law. Since all created beings are created under law, the law is greater than any created being but the law is not greater than the Lawgiver. The obedience of the highest angel in heaven to the law of God is simply his reasonable and just duty as a created being and gives him no “excess” merit, power or grace to give to a fallen sinner.
But there is One who is above the law. His character has infinite excellence and virtue. Being the Creator, the rightful Owner and Sustainer of all things, He has the divine right to impart any blessings that He may choose, to those who realize their utterly helpless condition and ask for His help.
More than this, because of His abiding unchanging love for every person of the human family, He has an intense desire (that we mortals are prone to lose sight of) to give the priceless gift of His own perfected virtue to every human being who opens his heart to receive it. 2 Peter 1.
To receive this is to receive the character of Jesus or in simple language, we learn how to think the way He thinks, we learn how to talk the way He talks, we learn to act the way He acts, we learn to live the way He lives, we treat our enemies the way He treated His, in brief we live the life of Christ. This is New Testament Christianity.
The outward evidence that we are having this experience, is perfect obedience to the law of God. If I am not obedient, any theology or study or talk about salvation or holiness or righteousness is just talk, I am not yet experiencing the real thing. Anybody who thinks that good works are not important does not understand the first principles of either righteousness or faith. In the New Testament the law and the gospel are not two unrelated things but are bound together as one complete whole. Romans 8:1–4.