Almost everyone tries to "measure up" in one way or another. Do my friends approve of me? Is my spouse happy with me? Am I doing O.K. at my job? But have you ever asked yourself, "How do I measure up in God’s eyes?" God makes the answer very clear. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God is talking about everyone - from the nicest person you know to the meanest person you have ever heard of. We all make choices against God and these choices have consequences. Furthermore, every single person comes into this world separated from God because of sin. When Adam committed the original sin, he doomed us to this fate. All descendants of Adam (except for Jesus Christ) have been born within the bondage of sin because our fathers passed down to us a sin nature which is detestable in God’s eyes. God warns us that without salvation from sin, death is the doorway to eternal punishment (Hebrews 9:27). God promises that every single person who has not escaped from the bondage of sin will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Is that where you want to spend eternity?
Once someone understands that they have sinned against God, it is only natural to try to correct the situation - to find ways to make it up to Him. But what does God ask of us? He asks us only for simple faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not a result of works" (Ephesians 2:8,9a). We cannot do anything to earn our salvation, so the real question is, "What must I believe to be saved?"
God’s perfect Holiness, Justice and Righteousness demand punishment for our sin. But in spite of our sin, God loves us. So He provided a way for every one of us to be saved from that punishment. How can this be? There was another who was willing to suffer in our place. Our substitute had to be a sinless man, able to suffer the righteous judgment of God for our sins. The only one qualified to take our place was God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Born of a virgin over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ lived a sinless life upon the earth. He willingly allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross outside of Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that God laid on His Son the eternal punishment we deserved for our sin for three hours on that cross. Then Jesus Christ called out with a loud voice "It is finished." He had accomplished everything in God’s great plan of salvation. God’s plan of salvation is a gift to us, and all that is required of us is to accept that gift. Nothing else is acceptable to God and nothing else is required by God. "...he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, ...’" (Acts 16:30,31) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16). "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." (John 6:47)