‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God’ (1 Pet 3:18).
There are many opinions on how people can come to God. The more religious opinion is that you must work hard to balance the scales between your bad and good deeds. Every day is spent striving to be better than the one before, and spent worrying about the sins you committed. Whether you’re Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, or anything else, coming to God is based upon our works. Tragically, because it’s based on our performance, there can never be any assurance that we have done enough.
The more secular, or loosely religious, opinion (if they accept a God), is that coming to God is easy. It’s the belief that God will accept us (almost) no matter what we’ve done. His standards aren’t so high as those religious fundamentalists always suggest, he knows we’re not perfect, and he accepts us as we are.
But neither opinion is helpful, because both misrepresent God’s standards and our ability to reach them. God is holy, and he expects his people to be holy. He will accept nothing less than moral perfection. Despite what the secular/loosely religious thinks, God will not just brush off our sin like it’s nothing. This is a standard none of us can reach. We are all sinful, and a lifetime of good works will never outweigh one sin.
But there is a way, not earned by us, but provided by God. In his mercy he sent Christ who suffered for sins. By his death on the cross he bore the punishment for sin. He died for sinners, the unrighteous. Coming to God is a gift for those who trust Christ. This is a revolutionary message for us to proclaim.