The embedded video of Brit Hume urging Tiger Woods to "turn to the Christian faith" is being hammered on the Internet by skeptics and scoffers. I, for one, say "Good for Brit Hume." A journalist who speaks his mind about the Christian faith--and in a positive manner--is a journalist worthy of a kind word from us all. Brit, knowing the show on which he spoke was short of time, and the length of his response was limited, could not flesh out what "the Christian faith" is... So, for all those who read this blog, particularly those curious about "the Christian faith," allow me to spell out why the gospel (i.e. "the Christian faith") is such good news for all of us who have failed morally.
“Righteousness will be credited to those of us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, (the One) who was delivered for our transgressions and raised again for our justification " (Romans 4:24-25).
C.S. Lewis observed that in centuries past people had no problem understanding that they were sinners, they just wanted answers on how to be delivered. Not today. Most people have a hard time seeing themselves as sinners--until something happens as flagrantly immoral as the behavior exhibited by Tiger Woods. Then, when sin is sensed, the question becomes: How can a such a vile sinner be made right with God? Or, to put it more succinctly and in modern English, "Can a person like Tiger be forgiven by God and become a changed man?" Yes. The six words in bold above illustrate how.
(1). RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 24: “it”) means “to be right” or “as one should be” or “perfect.” Make no mistake: A perfect God requires a perfect creation. God doesn't just "wink" at people who fail and say, "That's all right." He declares, "Be ye perfect!" (Matthew 5:48). But the Bible is clear that “there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:10; Ps. 14:1). People who morally err like Tiger have little difficulty seeing their imperfections. Everyone, by nature, is crooked. Some peoples' imperfections are just more visible than others. Only God, by His grace, can make crooked sinners "as they should be." God alone, as a gift, can give to people the "righteousness" He demands.
(2). CREDITED: (v. 24: “imputed”) means “to credit” or “count in an account.” The perfection of moral character that God requires is not earned. Just as you keep a record of the things that are precious to you, so the Lord keeps a record of your
life. He never misses a detail, He never forgets an action, He never ignores a deed. He is in charge of the books of your life. Perfect righteousness wins his approval, while just one sin earns His condemnation. The bad news is that one sin occurred before you were even born (Rom. 5:17-19) and your sins only only add to to the condemnation of Adam's sin. For you to have the righteousness required by God means you must be given it by God; it must be "credited" to your account.
(3). BELIEVE (v.24) --- also to “trust” (v. 24), to be “fully persuaded,” to “have faith.” The only way you will ever be "right" with God, or more precisely, the only way you will ever be deemed "righteous" by a Holy God and allowed into fellowship with Him is if you "believe" on Him who raised Christ from the dead. The essence of Christianity is faith in God (“to believe on him”). This is opposite of what every single religion in the world teaches, but it is at the heart of true religion. The world's religions tell you to perform to be accepted by God (including Buddhism), but Christianity tells you to trust God. "Faith is reason at rest in God, ” C.H. Spurgeon. When you place your trust in Him “who raised up Jesus from the dead,” your faith is credited "for righteousness.” God cooks your books! He takes out all the condemnation you earn by your moral failures and grants you all the blessings earned by Christ's perfect obedience.
(4). DELIVERED (v.25). --- means to “send” or “to give.” Jesus Christ our Lord was "delivered for our offenses” (v.25). God delivered for sinners His Son. Jesus Christ died on Calvary as a gift for the ungodly who will believe on Him. God loved you before you ever loved Him. He delivered His Son to deliver you.
(5). TRANSGRESSIONS (v. 25) – which means living outside the boundaries of God’s law for your life. Christ was delivered "for your transgressions." In other words, the condemnation and punishment of a Holy God for your sins was born by the Son of God who was "delivered" to bear the punishment. God in His love for “sinners” sent Jesus Christ to die for those who will believe on Him.
(6). JUSTIFICATION (v.25) --- means “a declaration of perfect righteousness.” The Bible says that “God justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5). God declares ungodly people perfectly righteous --- in Christ, “who was raised for our justification.” This is the essence of the Christian faith.
It is the ability for imperfect, morally deficient human beings to lie down at night at peace with their Creator because they have trusted Him to place their guilt and condemnation on the Son He delivered for sinners. God, who gave His Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins, counts my faith in Him as righteousness, because He considers me perfect in Christ, my Savior and Lord.
May Tiger Woods come to peace with God through Christ.
In His Grace,