One must have a right understanding of "sin" before they can have a right understanding of salvation as one without the other is meaningless. Where there is no sin there is no need of salvation. The New Testament presents two different views of sin and in this world today the same two views continue to exist. 1. There is the Phariseeical view of sin that inteprets the scriptues in such a way to lower the standard of God's righteousness so that it is acheivable by imperfect human beings. 2. There is the Christ view of sin that interprets the scriptures to define sin as anything less than God's own "glory" or moral holiness as revealed in the Law, preached by the prophets and ultimately revealed by God in human flesh - Rom. 3:19-23 This clash of interpetations of sin and righteousness is found in Matthew 5:16-48 where Jesus repeatedly says "you have heard" which is a reference to the traditional interpretations of the fathers which is then contrasted with "but I say." 1. Jesus claims His purpose is to personally fulfil - measure up to - the righteous standard set by the Law of God - Mt. 5:16-18 2. Jesus admits that those already in the kingdom of heaven do not personally measure up to that standard - Mt. 5:19 3. However, Jesus demands that anyone seeking entrance into the kingdom of heaven must obtain a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees and their interpretaional basis for defining righteousness and sin - Mt. 5:20-47. 4. Jesus interprets the righteousness standard demanded by God's Law to be equal with God's own personal moral holiness - Mt. 5:48 This presents a dilemma for any sinner. The only human ever to PERSONALLY attain this standard is Christ but none in the kingdom of God personally attain unto it (v. 19) but yet it is this standard that must be attained to enter the kingdom of God (vv. 20,48). If entrance demands attaining to this standard but none that have entered have attained then how did they gain entrance? This is the dilemma for all who repudiate substitutionary atonement and righteousness imputed by faith in Christ. Paul defines any righteousness that "comes short of THE GLORY of God" to be sin - Rom. 3:23 James defines any obedience that violates the Law in "ONE POINT" to be disobedience to all points of the Law and thus sin - James 2:10 - Therefore for the Law to justify you as righteous you must keep EVERY POINT of the Law without failing any point! Jesus defines this to be "perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect" - Mt. 5:48 to be justified by the law as "righteous" in God's sight. What does perfect "EVEN AS" God mean? 1. God has never sinned in the past 2. God is not sinning 3. God will never sin in the future Hence, to sin but once is to fail the standard of God's Law for righteousness and ETERNAL life but come under its ETERNAL condemnation. This is precisely why Jesus said "There is NONE GOOD but One and that is God." However, God has not changed his standard of righteousness! That is the righteousness required to enter heaven - Mt. 5:20 - That is the will of the Father to be righteous before Him - that is His standard. How are sinners going to obtain that standard of NEVER SINNING? This is precisely why Paul denies that any sinner can be justified by works proceeding from their own life in an attempt to measure up to God's standard of righteousness - the Law - Rom. 3:19-20. Paul says this righteousness is now manifested in the life of Jesus Christ which was witnessed by the law and the prophets: Rom. 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; This is why it is obtainable only "by faith" in Jesus Christ and received by imputation rather than by perspiration: Rom. 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe This is a righteousness that is impossible for sinners to attain by anything connected with their own life before or after regeneration as it is a righteousness completely without sin. It is a righteousness that no sinner can attain even by God's grace as it is a sinless righteousness and they have already "come short" and thus their life can never personally measure up to apart from glorification (Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 1:8-10). Hence, there is no other way to attain to it other than by a legal substitute who acts in their behalf for their person in a legal exchange whereby His. righteous life is legally imputed to them by faith. . Such a legal substitution would require God coming from heaven in the flesh as a second Adam or a second representative man and living a sinless life and then offering up that sinless life to satisfy both righteous demands of the Law fully "It is finished" in the place of sinners who receive it by faith. 1. Perfection to be justified by the Law's standard as righteous 2. Penalty to satisfy the Laws wrath against sinners for coming short of that righteous standard This is the "good news" of the gospel How Christ came and live and died IN THE PLACE OF sinners that we might be made THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him. How many of you believe that Christ did not die IN YOUR PLACE? Do you believe you must go back 2000 years and climb upon the cross and co-participate in his death? Do you reject his death IN YOUR PLACE as sufficient but believe you must co-participate now and pay for your own sins? If not, then you have accepted LEGAL SUBSITUTION in regard to his death and have no argument to reject it in regard to his life. If so, then how are you going to co-participate in paying for your own sins?