Photo by Chad Runge / Creation Swap

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Salvation: The Bad News

Let me say this right from the start. I am not a theologian. I am not a pastor, group leader, elder, deacon, teacher, or any of those highly gifted students of God's Word. I am, nonetheless, a student of His Word and will always be. I'm flawed, imperfect and sinful, but shown grace upon grace by God.

I believe that God reveals His Truth to each believer. And as such, He has shown me and opened my eyes to some amazing truths. And this is my feeble attempt at sharing what I believe God has revealed to me.

What is salvation? What does it mean? Who needs it? And, if life is going along just fine, why should I worry about it?

I meet people everyday and I wonder just what is it that they believe. I'm a little timid on broaching the subject with them but it is an important question. Most times I never get to asking.

But what if I were to ask? What would their response be?

Don't know, don't care?
Something I try not to think about?
and how about:

I think in the end when my life is summed up, God [or their version of God] will see that my good outweighs my bad and I'll probably go to heaven.

I've heard the latter response before. It's scary that man can think that he can be good enough. So, how good is good enough? Is it on a grading scale? Do I just have to do my best 51% of the time? And do I actually have to care about it while I'm doing something good? Or is it good enough that I actually do the good deed? You know...get 'er done! That's what they say.

Wow, that's a lot of stuff to mull over. I mean, if I go out and party, get drunk, become obnoxious and rude, AND then get a DUI or worse...I hit somebody with my car and they die...well, surely I can't be good enough to make up for all that! I'm definitely going to hell. No use trying now. Might as well have fun and make the most of it.

But what if I don't kill somebody. What if I just go out Saturday night and have a good time? I might swear a little. I might be rude. But hey, in the morning I can sober up and get my bearings and be ready for Monday. NOW doing good stuff for the rest of the week seems manageable. I mean I wasn't that bad. It shouldn't take much for me to get right with the Man upstairs! I still got a shot at them pearly gates!

BUT what if you're measured up to a higher standard? What if you have to be REALLY good like Billy Graham or Mother Theresa? Oh boy, I'm in trouble.

The thing is is that God looks at our righteousness and sees nothing but filthy rags. But wait a minute, which god are we talking about? Who is it that we have to appease and is it possible that there are different gods and many ways to heaven? In fact, I think I've heard that reasoning before.

To answer that question, it would take MUCH more space than I have here. Let's just TRY to break it down some. First, what distinguishes the God of the Bible from every other god? Well, He's perfect. His character is WAY above reproach. He's the only One to love us enough to send His Son to die on the cross for us. The vast majority of human kind has come to recognize Him as THE only God and hope for the world (past, present, and future.) And He's the only One who stirs our hearts and grabs our attention. No one is as talked about, written about, studied about, or even debated about more than the God of the Bible, and more particularly, His one and only Son Jesus Christ.

Again, there is so much more to be said about why the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the God that became man and died on the cross for our sins is the one and only true God. On this subject alone many books have been written.

So, with God in mind as the One who will judge us, can you honestly say that you want Him to measure you up by the good you have done? That's a frightful proposition. Even if you are like Mother Theresa. The Bible says there is no one good. Not one. (Psalm 14:1-3) Whoa. Now what?

The thing is is that we don't see things the way God does. His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are greater than ours. He can see the very intent of our hearts. And therein lies the problem.

We're born sinners. There's been wickedness in our hearts from the very beginning. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In a sense, we're dead where we stand. Spiritually speaking of course we are.

But what is sin? And are some sins worse than others? Well, first you have to understand what sin is. Sin is missing the perfect, righteous standards of God. The laws (God's commandments...which by the way are not just 10) and the prophets (all written out in the Bible) tells us what His perfect standards are. But don't try justifying yourself or try to make yourself believe you kept them like the Pharisees did. That in itself is a form of denial and may lead to self-righteousness.

So you say that you're not even sure you have sinned? Even if you said you never committed adulterycommitting murder.

We're all sinners. And we all are guilty and deserving of God's wrath. Because He is the perfect and ultimate Judge, God can forever condemn us to everlasting death and torment.

That's the bad news. Praise God He didn't leave us that way. God had a plan from the very beginning. And that's the Good News...

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