The gospel is both severe and joyful. The severe part is that we have turned our backs on God, he who is the source of life who created us. This is tragic, and it is the background for everything tragic in the world today. All the pain, physical and psychological, is a result of our turning away from God’s Word, both at the Fall and now. The Middle East conflict, the civil war in Libya, human trafficking, the drug league, divorces and shattered relationships in family and society are a result of the Fall.
The Fall led us away from the Life, and in our desire for our own sin and will, we are blind to who God is. We do not see him because we do not want to see him, even though God has revealed himself clearly through creation, our conscience, through the Bible and in history. In history especially through Jesus and his death and resurrection. Thus we have no excuse to live in rebellion against God.
What separated us from God from the beginning of human history is the same that separates us from God today. Our sin. Sin is violation of God’s law, and man loves to break God’s commands by nature. We break God’s commandments because our heart is evil, not because we are unfortunate. Jesus said:
“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person’” (Mark 7:21-23).
God says we are to love him, but we love the sin, and humanity showed that clearly when we killed his son Jesus with our sins. God says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we love ourselves much more than our neighbor, and we demonstrate this daily in many ways.
Within these two commandments there are also many other commandments. For example, God says we are not to make our own god, that we are not to steal, lie or commit adultery.
The problem is that we all have sinned. And that is a problem because God is perfect and holy. That means he hates sin intensely! That is why he will also one day punish sinners and send them to hell, not because he is evil, but because he is just.
These commandments are accusing you. You, like me, are a sinner. So this applies to you! If God were to judge you according to his law, what would the verdict be? Guilty or innocent? Would you have gone to heaven or hell?
Actually, all people would have perished. The Bible even says that God hates sinners and that his wrath is on the world. It is not so strange considering that sinners love injustice and sin (falsehood, murder, selfishness, adultery), and that God is completely pure and holy. But incredibly, the Bible also says that God loves sinners. Even more incredible is it that God loves us so much that he sent his own Son to die in the place of sinners.
“‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment we as humans deserved, so that whoever believes in him would not have to take the punishment for his sins on himself. By faith alone in what Jesus has done are we forgiven and cleansed and can have fellowship with God, he who is the source of life and the one who created us.
God now commands you to turn away from your sin and believe in Jesus. Believe that Jesus is the savior that he says he is. Believe that his atonement is sufficient to erase your sin.
Tomorrow is uncertain, and you do not know if there will be any.
“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).
The only sure thing you have is the here and now. Use it and obey God today, and he will forgive you and give you eternal life.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
And as mentioned before, if you do not do so, you will have to take the punishment for your sin in an eternal perdition away from the presence of the Lord and his glory.
Nothing you could ever do can be a part of saving you. You are saved by faith alone in the sufficiency of what Jesus did on the cross for you. That does not mean that you as a Christian can keep on sinning. No, if Jesus has become your savior, he has also become your Lord, and you are now called to live for him, not to become saved or keep yourself saved, but because you are saved.
Jesus does not promise us a new life here on earth, but he does promise us that he will be with us and take care of us.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!