The word faith is tossed around a lot today. Ask anyone on the street, and you’ve got a good chance of finding someone to be a spiritual person, someone who has faith. It’s easy to give a cop-out like, “Sure, I’ve got faith,” or “Yeah, faith is very important to me.” But these kinds of comments can mean so many things that they don’t mean much at all.
Don’t get me wrong. Faith is very important to me too. But what does that tell you about me? Not much. I could be talking about my conviction that purple kangaroos live on the dark side of the moon (which is nonsense) or my spiritual connection with Mickey Mouse (which is more nonsense).
Our questions need to go a little deeper… Why should we believe what we believe? How can we know what is true?
Here’s the starting point!
We have lots of questions, and God has already given us the answers we need! He wants us to know Him, and He has given us the Bible as our guidebook for life. Every bit of the Bible is true, and we can trust it today. How awesome is that?!? We can know the God of creation!
The message of the Bible is really simple. It has some good news and bad news for every single one of us. And God is going to hold us accountable for what we do with that news…
The bad news comes first…
Evil, destruction, and death came into the picture in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve disobeyed God; they ate the fruit that God had warned them not to eat. Adam and Eve sinned, and in doing so, their relationship with God was broken.
Unfortunately, none of us is any better than Adam and Eve. Check out what God says…
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
All of us have done things in disobedience to God. Think about it – little white lies and whoppers, bad attitudes and all-out rage, the worship of immaterial things like wealth and power and the worship of wooden or stone statues – all of these put us in the same position before God.
We are sinners. All of us fall short.
Here’s an illustration of what that looks like… Imagine you and I are going to have a rock throwing contest. Our target is the North Pole, and we’re throwing from my home in Iowa. (No cheating and throwing from Canada!) Your rock might go farther than mine, or mine might go farther than yours (highly unlikely), but let’s be honest. Neither of us is going to hit the North Pole!
That’s what Romans 3:23 is talking about. We have sinned, and God’s glory is so great and holy and perfect, that even with our best efforts, our good works, our faithful charities, our baptism, our church membership… Nothing we do could ever gain us access to God’s glory. It’s as impossible as my rock hitting the North Pole.
The news gets worse before it gets better…
The Bible says we are have all sinned. None of us can gain access to God. But that’s not the worst of it…
“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23
We all know what a wage is, right? Let’s say you hire me to do some work for you. I work hard, get the work done, and you pay me fifty dollars. The fifty dollars is my wage, my payment for the work I’ve done.
God says that the payment for the sin we’ve done is death. That’s what Romans 6:23 means. All of us have sinned, and we have earned our wage – death.
Unfortunately, the wage of death isn’t just talking about physical death; it’s talking about a second, spiritual death too…
“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown in the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15
Every one of us will die someday, and we will face the holy God of the universe. We’ll stand before Him and have to give an account for the sin that we’ve done in our lives. God will see our disobedience and give us our wages, the second death.
Does that concern you?
I don’t know about you, but verses like Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and Revelation 20:14-15 concern me. The lake of fire is a place of eternal torment and separation from God, and I don’t want to spend eternity there!
Here’s the amazing thing about our God: He doesn’t want us to spend eternity in the lake of fire either! This is what He says…
“The Lord is not slow in fulfilling His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Did you read that correctly? God doesn’t want us to die the second death! But what can God do? We’ve all chosen our path – we’re sinners. We’ve all earned our wages – eternal death. God is holy, and He never wavers from justice. Someone has to pay the price.
Here’s the good news!
God loved us enough to sacrifice His only Son, Jesus Christ, so we could be free from our sin!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should never perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8
Here’s an illustration of what happened. I know it’s an awful thought, but let’s say you have cancer. The doctors say there’s no hope, no treatments. You’ve got months to live, and then it’s over.
Then let’s say I come and take your cancer from you.
What’s going to happen to you? You’re going to live. What’s going to happen to me? I’m going to die.
That’s what Jesus did for us! He became human, lived a sinless life, and died the death on the cross that we deserved and He did not. Three days later, He rose to life again and proved to the world that He was who He said He was – the Son of God and the way to salvation!
So how do we receive this salvation?
Remember how we started all this by talking about faith? This is where faith comes in…
“For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
I like to use an illustration with this verse too. I have a pen sitting beside me as I type; let’s say I want to give it to you, for keeps. (It’s a really nice pen!) I offer it to you freely, no charge, no strings attached. At what point does the pen become yours?
When you reach out and take it from me.
God is offering something to you now, something you don’t deserve, something you couldn’t ever hope to earn. He’s offering you eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. All He asks of you is to turn from your sin, ask Him for forgiveness, and trust in Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection as the final payment of your wages for sin. Have faith that He has paid it all and has given you eternal life!
“For our sake, He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
I have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as the salvation necessary to save me from my sins. My faith in Jesus Christ has restored me to God, and now I am able to have a personal relationship with Him.
What about you? Do you have faith?
I hope and pray this is a decision that you have made. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions – this is something I would love to talk to you about. 🙂
Interested in more? Try these posts!
Have you checked out my weekly email? It’s got a great freebie to go with it! Here’s the link for more information – A Little Bit of Sunshine… 🙂
This post has been updated from a previous post.