The Bible teaches that God is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-3), and when He finished His work of creation He pronounced it “very good” (Gen. 1:29), that is without sin —both among the angels and mankind. God also reveals to us that He created man “in His own image, male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)
Therefore, mankind was set apart from all the rest of creation and uniquely made to reflect God’s glory by displaying God’s character of moral holiness (1 Pet. 1:17), exercising rule over creation (Ps. 8), and with the wondrous ability to know God personally (John 17:3), glorify Him through obedience (John 14:15), and thus have a relationship with Him. (Rom. 8:15)
Man rejected God as the Creator.
God gave man a command, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17) The purpose of this command was so that mankind could demonstrate love and trust through obedience. The consequence of disobedience was death—separation from God.
Ultimately, we rejected God’s way and chose to go our own way, walk in our own wisdom, and be our own authority. Just as Satan (a fallen angel) became proud and was thrown out of heaven (Is. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:13-18), so mankind committed the same sin by rejecting love, worship, trust and submission to God—who supplied us with every good thing, and instead we sought to serve ourselves.
Man chose to believe a lie, and died.
2 Cor. 11:3
1 Tim. 2:14
Gen. 3:8, 23
This rebellion was instigated by Satan. (2 Cor. 11:3) Satan first deceived the woman (1 Tim. 2:14) by casting doubt on God’s Word ("God did not really say ... did He?."(Gen. 3) Next, he simply denied God’s Word as not being true, “You surely will not die.” (Gen. 3) Finally, he introduced the death blow of deception and said, “God knows that in the day that you eat of it you shall be like God.” (Gen. 3) The woman believed Satan’s lie, was seduced by her own lust to be equal with God, and disobeyed the Word of God. The man, following his wife rather than leading, sinned knowingly and high-handedly. (Gen. 3:6)
In this act of disobedience, sin and death entered into the world. (Rom.5:12) Man began to die physically (Gen. 5:1-32), died to God spiritually (Eph. 2:1-3), and was
in danger of death eternally (Rev. 20:14-15)—separated from God forever. (2 Thess. 1:9) Perfect fellowship with God was over. (Gen. 3:8, 23) Since that sad day, mankind has been characterized by sin and judgment rather than love, holiness, and blessing. (Gen:5-7)
God's wrath now abides in mankind.
Now instead of enjoying and glorifying God, man is born with a nature of sin and rebellion to God and seeks to live his life outside of God’s glory and God’s authority. (Ps. 2:1-3) The same creation that reveals God’s glory and God's authority (Psm.2:1-3), condemnation against men for their failure to honor and glorify God for what it reveals about Him. (Rom. 1:20) Now, not God’s favor, but his wrath rests on mankind.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” (Rom.1:18) It is not that we cannot understand who God is, or that God has not made it clear. It is that mankind is so enslaved and committed to sin (“ungodliness and unrighteousness”) that we “suppress the truth” and seek to ignore it and hide it so that we can hold onto our rebellion. (John 3:19-21)
“Because that which is known about God is evident within them ... for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what had been made, so that they are without excuse.” Every person alive is accountable to God and “without excuse” for not honoring Him as God the Creator, to whom we should submit. Even our conscience bears witness to the need and of forgiveness (Rom. 2:14-16).
Still, God waits patiently to give mankind the opportunity to turn to Him. He shows kindness to draw us near to HIm. He shows kindness to draw me to Him (Acts 14:15-17; Matt.5:45). Yet, every day of experiencing God’s kindness and stay of wrath while living in rebellion is only increasing the guilt and judgment. (Rom. 2:4-5)
Our rebellion is seen in religion.
But what about all the religions in the world? Aren't they evidence that mankind is trying to know God? The answer is, “No!” Actually, religion does not show how spiritually perceptive we are but how rebellious we are! “For even though they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools ... for they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever.” (Rom. 1:21-25)
Religion simply proves that we acknowledge that God exists, but through religion, we choose to re-define Him, according to our own image; according to our own foolish imagination. Instead of honoring God, acknowledging His glory in creation, looking to Him for grace because of our sin (Rom. 2:14-15), we make Him like us. Instead of submitting to Him, we redefine Him to fit our own foolish imagination. For this reason, God’s wrath abides on all of mankind who suppress the truth because of our love of sin. So—no, religion cannot make a person right with God.
Our rebellion is seen in good works.
1 Sam. 15:22-23
Rom. 3:19-20, 7:7-13
Rom. 3:10-13; 10:1-3
But what about being good and doing what is right, even trying to obey the Ten Commandments? James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” If for argument's sake we live a perfectly sinless life — never sinning even once — and then commit just one little sin, we have become guilty of breaking the whole of the Law! Why? Because God is absolutely holy, and even one sin is an attack on His perfect purity and holiness (Habakkuk 1:13) — just as in the Garden. (Gen. 3:1-5) Sin is rebellion (1 Sam. 15:22-23; Ezek. 12:1), and everyone has committed sin. (Ecc. 7:20) God's law only shows us how much we sin — it reveals our guilt, not our path to salvation. (Rom. 3:19-20, 7:7-13)
Galatians 3:10 tells us, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Therefore, Jesus Christ said, “you are to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). If we want to get to heaven by being good enough, then we have to be as perfect as God, even Jesus Christ Himself. God can accept nothing less and still be holy which is good. Good works, to be right with God, is self-deception and rebellion because they reject God’s perfect standard and creates a new one — a false standard of righteousness. (Rom. 3:10-13; 10:1-3)
God hates sin, and punishes.
1 John 3:4
Rev. 14:9-11, 19:20, 20:11-15
2 Thes. 2:8-12
2 Peter 3-9
God hates sin and cannot allow it into His presence. Sin attacks His holiness, His
goodness, and His truth. Sin is lawlessness, hostility, and rebellion against God,
and would seeks to dethrone God Himself if it could, just as Satan tried to do
and now even fallen mankind attempts to do. (1 John 3:4) Therefore, to uphold what is holy, good, and just, God will punish every sin ever committed in a place called hell; this is the second death. God describes it as a place where the “smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever.” (Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:11-15)
It is utter separation from God, a place of eternal torment where every unrepentant sinner and fallen angel is condemned to suffer forever — time without end — for their rebellion to God and refusal to submit to Him. (2 Thess. 2:8-12) How great is God’s wrath against sin? So great that only an eternity of pouring it out on un-repenting and unbelieving sinners can satisfy Him.
Yet, even though God is glorified in judgment (Isa. 2:11), He does "not take pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek. 18:23). He would rather all repent and know His grace. (2 Pet. 3:9)
God punished another—His only Son.
2 Cor. 5:21
This is the future of all mankind in our natural condition apart from the work of God. But then what can we do to be right with God? Nothing. Is the desire for forgiveness hopeless and out of reach? No! We can do nothing at all to make ourselves right with God. (Rom. 3:10-12) But what we cannot do, God did by sending His Son, eternal God, second member of the Trinity, who took on human flesh, “who although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He humbled Himself and took on the form of man, and being found in appearance as man He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8)
The eternal Son added humanity to His glory so that He could live a perfect life as man and die a substitute death as a sacrifice for our sin.
Just as the Holy Spirit said, through the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before Christ came to earth, “He was pleased to crush Him, if He would render Himself as a guilt offering ... as a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied.” (Isaiah 53:1-12) Jesus’ death and suffering satisfied God’s wrath against sin; Jesus Christ’ righteousness satisfied God’s requirement of holiness. This is why Jesus Christ is the only way and no one can come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6; Acts 4:17); because He alone satisfied God’s wrath against sin, and He alone has the perfect righteousness that every person needs to stand before God without judgment. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we may become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
The price Jesus Christ paid for the debt of sinners was not just physically dying, it was that while on the cross He actually bore all of God’s righteous anger and wrath against every sin of every sinner who would ever repent. (Matt. 27:45-46) What happened on thE cross is in many ways an infinitely profound mystery.
What we can know is that it was enough to satisfy God’s requirement of righteousness from men and His wrath against the sin of all who come to Him with repentant faith. (Rom. 8:1-4) God’s wrath will be satisfied. Either in hell for eternity on all the unrepentant, or it was satisfied on the cross by Jesus Christ, for every one who comes to Him burdened by their sin and desires to know God, no matter what the cost.
Why did God sacrifice Christ?
1 John 4:7-19
1 Tim. 1:12-17
Did God the Father crush the Son to show how valuable we really are? No! He did it “to demonstrate His own love, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:6-8) Jesus said, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16-17) God loves us because we bear His image and because love is essential to His own nature. (I John 4:7-19)
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ do not emphasize how valuable we are, just the opposite; it shows us how incredibly merciful and gracious and glorious God is; it puts the greatness of His holy love on display precisely because we are so profoundly wicked and unworthy. The gospel is about the glory of God. (Rom. 11:33-36) Praise be to God through Jesus Christ! His love is perfect, complete, and available to all who come to Him, burdened with their sin, and desiring eternal life and eternal fellowship with the one true and Living God. (Matt. 11:28-30)
God forgives sinners, even the worst of sinners! (1 Tim. 1:12-17) He will forgive even you.
Is faith all I need? What will it cost?
Matt 16:21, Luke 9:22
Matt 16:24; Luke 9:23
Matt. 19:16-26; Luke 14:26-33; 18:18-30, 18:1-10
What will it cost? Everything. True faith is a repentant faith. We must be willing to give up everything to gain Christ and the forgiveness He offers. (Matt. 13:44-46) Jesus Christ, while on His way to Jerusalem "to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day," (Matt. 16:21; Luke 9:22) told His disciples, "if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23)
Jesus Christ requires nothing less than full repentance, to turn from sin and self to follow Him. If we come to Christ but are not willing to give up everything to have Him, to obey Him, He will not accept our faith. (Matt. 19:16-26; Luke 14:26-33; 18:18-30, 19:1-10)
What is my soul worth?
Mark 8:36; Matt 16:26
Heb. 3:15, 4:17
Scripture then goes on to say, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36; Matt. 16:26) Picture this: you can have everything this world has to offer — the sum total of everything in this world is yours — money, popularity, power, influence, security, health, sex, ease of life, comfort—without limit. Then, after death, you find yourself standing before the infinite, personal, and perfectly holy God, and directly behind Him is the entrance into eternity — it is right before your eyes. You are only seconds from entering your eternal state — the place where you will consciously and physically exist forever. (Dan. 12:2)
Your eyes are staring directly into the black abyss of hell and the bright joy of heaven. What, at that moment, would you give in exchange for your eternal soul and forgiveness of sin? You would give up everything. And that is exactly what Christ calls for — now is your opportunity. (Heb. 3:15; 4:17)
What will I gain?
Phil. 1:23; Rom. 8:18
But what will you gain? God. Heaven. Forgiveness of all your sin — past, present, and future. (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:19-22) The promise of living forever with Jesus Christ worshipping Him with every other person who has ever repented of their sin and trusted in God’s promise of grace. (Rev. 5:9-14; Phil. 1:23; Rom. 8:18) “For by grace you have been saved by faith, and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God, not a result of works lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
You gain the assurance that when you stand before God you will be found “blameless with great joy,” because you will be found covered in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ! You gain an eternity of perfect joy, perfect peace, worship of God in His presence absolutely unhindered by sin, enjoying Him and loving Him and experiencing the lavish riches of His grace forever and ever (Eph. 2:7).
You gain everything. You gain Jesus Christ. You gain God and a perfectly restored relationship with Him that can never and will never change! It is a relationship that begins now when you turn to Him to trust, love and worship, and serve Him in faith. You get the first taste of the joys of salvation that will be perfectly realized after death when you stand in His presence, forgiven and blameless — in great joy.
This is the good news. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.