...YOUR WORD IS TRUTH. (JOHN 17:17)
THE GOOD NEWS
All of life rests on the certainty of God’s existence. Without the God of the Bible we cannot make sense of this world, because without God we have no basis for how we can know what we know, for morality, for logic, for science, indeed, we cannot even account for truth itself.
Why then do people deny Him? The Bible says that people suppress the truth they know, in unrighteousness, (1) because they love their sin (2) — their lying, their stealing, their blasphemy.
Perhaps you are familiar with the word ‘sin.’ It literally means to miss the mark, that is, the mark that God has set. Sin is transgression of God’s law. (3) When we sin we fall short of what He requires of us. (4) God says that we are not to steal (5) and so when we steal, we fall short of His will for our lives.
However, let’s ask a different question. Why? Why is it wrong, in the eyes of God, to go against what He has said? Why is it wrong to lie? Why is it wrong to steal? Why is it wrong to commit adultery? Does God issue random commands? Is He arbitrary in His judgements? Not at all. The reason it is wrong to lie is because God does not lie. In the same way, the reason it is wrong to steal is because God does not steal. Why is it wrong to commit adultery? It is wrong because God is perfectly faithful, and likewise He has created us that we should be faithful too.
God has created us in His image. (6) This means we have been created with the express purpose of representing Him, imaging Him in the way that we live. When we sin, we misrepresent Him. We effectively proclaim to all of creation that God does what we do. But God does not lie, and He does not steal. God is holy, (7) which means He is set apart from all of His creation. He is perfect and He is pure. The Bible says, ‘God is not a man, that He should lie.’ (8)
So how seriously do you think God takes our sin? Very seriously! He is offended, and rightly so. Moreover, He is a God of justice, (9) and justice demands justice. It is the right treatment for any wrongful act. It is to give someone what they rightly deserve.
But is there not mercy? Is not God a merciful God? There are two key points to make here:
Firstly, God is merciful. (10) However, God is not obligated to show mercy. Correctly defined, mercy is to not receive what we do deserve. On this basis, how we can ever say that God should grant us mercy? No, we deserve the wrath and judgement of a holy God. (11) The human race stands before its Creator without an excuse. Indeed, our consciences harmonise with the law of God, which He has written on our hearts, and when we are confronted with God’s law our conflicting thoughts either accuse or excuse us. (12)
It is important to understand that at the very heart of sinful man resides a wilful rebellion (13) towards the commands and decrees of a holy, just God. This rebellion manifests itself in an active way, suppressing the very truth that we all know concerning God. Ultimately, we are born into this world loving our sin, (14) rather than the God to whom we must one day give an account. (15)
So, are you suppressing the truth, because you love your sin? This is such an important question for you, because God’s righteous judgement is reserved for those who do. And that is what we all deserve; eternal punishment in hell. (16) For all have sinned; we have all pursued our own wicked lusts. (17)
Often there is resistance to this. Why would that be? The Bible explains it this way: we are born into this world with a heart and mind that is inwardly prideful. (18) We know this to be true! In and of ourselves, we believe that we are relatively good people. It's not that we think we are perfect, however we do think that we are good enough, and that is why we are so quick to justify our wrong doings: “Yes, I may have done some wrong things, but I've done plenty of good things too. God can see my heart, He knows that I always aim to do the right thing.”
However, when we examine our hearts in light of God's holy law, what do we see? “A heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” (19) We are riddled with self-righteousness. We have a high estimate of ourselves. We even believe that our good deeds can cancel out the wrong we have done. But is this really just? Can a guilty man really make himself innocent? No. As we observed earlier, we have all misrepresented God, through our lying, our stealing, and our selfish thoughts. So we are without excuse. In the eyes of a holy God, our guilt remains, and if we take our sin to the grave, He will treat us as our sins deserve.
Yet there is hope! Motivated by love, God has done the unthinkable. Through the gift of His Son Jesus, he has brought mercy and grace to this world. In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus entered this world and became a human being. On the day of His birth a promise was made: The Son of God will save His people from their sins. (20) Some years later, on the day of His crucifixion, he declared: “It is finished.” (21) The promise was fulfilled. Jesus finished the work He came to do. Indeed, He is our only hope, our mediator, through whom we can be reconciled to the God who gave us life. (22)
The reality of this is beyond comprehension. The Son of God who left heaven and stepped down into this world, came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many! (23) This is love, that He would live a sinless, perfect life on our behalf — the life that we cannot live, to be what we cannot be — holy and acceptable in God's sight. (24) He died on a Roman cross, but not because He had sinned. He died paying the penalty for our sins! (25) He was buried, but on the third day He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death! (26)
Is this good news? It's amazing news! Those who turn from their sin and trust in Jesus are blessed with the gift of eternal life. (27) For in the eyes of the LORD they are redeemed (28) — He no longer treats them as their sins deserve! (29) Incredibly, He treats them as if they have lived the sinless, perfect life of Jesus, and He treats Jesus as if He lived their sinful life! His goodness becomes their goodness! There is forgiveness in Jesus! He is the very embodiment of the grace of God. So I would entreat you, turn to God from your sin (repent) and trust in Jesus (put your faith in Him). (30)
Repentance and faith: these are the hallmarks of Christian salvation. But what exactly is repentance? It involves a change of mind, and more specifically, a change of mind in terms of what we are trusting in. It is turning from trusting in our own ‘goodness’ and trusting instead in the goodness of another — Jesus Christ, the only man to ever live the life that is fully pleasing in God’s sight.
Today, anchor your hope in the Saviour of this world. Read His Word, and serve Him in a Bible believing church.
The LORD bless you!
(1) Romans 1:18 (2) John 1:19 (3) 1 John 3:4 (4) Romans 3:23 (5) Exodus 20:15 (6) Genesis 1:27 (7) Leviticus 11:44 (8) Numbers 23:19 (9) Isaiah 30:18 (10) Daniel 9:9 (11) Romans 2:5 (12) Romans 2:15 (13) Job 34:37 (14) Psalm 51:5; John 3:19 (15) Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (16) Matthew 23:33; 2 Peter 2:4-9 (17) Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 13:10 (18) Proverbs 21:2 (19) Jeremiah 17:9 (20) Matthew 1:21 (21) John 19:30 (22) 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Corinthians 5:18 (23) Mark 10:45 (24) 2 Corinthians 5:21 (25) Romans 6:23 (26) 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:55 (27) John 3:36 (28) Galatians 3:13 (29) Psalm 103:10 (30) Acts 20:21
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