The first time I sat down to read the Bible I was looking for similarities between Christianity and other religions. I was also looking for inconsistencies or contradictions in the Bible. Back then; my opinion was that all religions held the same basic view. In fact, the “One Way to God” claims of Christians struck me as supremely intolerant.
I was well versed in many of the classics; furthermore I had examined different kinds of religions while in college. But I could never fully justify my “they’re all the same” point of view, because I hadn’t actually studied the Bible. If for no other reason, I owed it to myself to read the best-selling literary work in history…
I read the first book of the Bible, (Genesis) then skipped over to the “New Testament” and started reading the book of Matthew. I had expected a set of maxims for daily living; but instead, I read how God came down to earth and fixed the problem that was started in the book of Genesis.
Mankind was created with a free will—with the choice to listen to God’s warning about the knowledge of evil. Getting to “know” evil would spell certain death. Now this I could believe… just knowing about something evil makes me sick…but experiencing it for myself is even worse. What was news to me was a plan to avoid it.
It’s common sense that a good deed doesn’t erase a bad one. What you have is two deeds: one good and one bad. God accepts the good, but not the bad. Since the human race is not perfect, we all make mistakes. I reasoned that God should forgive us since we can’t help our shortcomings.
Except “shortcomings” don’t belong anywhere near a perfect God. Even if every person on earth has got them. And that’s the crux of the problem. If God would tolerate our sin, mistakes & shortcomings then His justice would no longer be perfect. God is perfect; sin and evil are not. By definition, perfection is totally intolerant of imperfections. God does not tolerate evil.
Knowledge of and experience with evil kills; it has since the beginning. And if God lets us die for sin (something none of us can help) how is that perfect justice? But as I read on, it became clear that God’s intolerance for evil sets the stage for the greatest story ever told.
If someone could live without making a single mistake, then sin wouldn’t separate that person from God. If this person would be willing to accept the penalty for ALL the sins of the world, then justice would be served. Separation from God (or death) would be over. But who’s qualified to take on the sins of the world? Who hasn’t got a “shortcoming” of their own that separates them from a perfect God in the first place? There’s only one person.
God Himself. God would have to come down to earth in the form of a man to do that. Jesus Christ, His totally perfect Son is the only one qualified. Jesus Christ experienced the separation from God that everyone else deserved when He died on the cross with the sins of the world attributed to Him…not to the people who actually committed them.
Jesus: fully God, fully man, and totally without sin is the perfect sacrifice. There’s no need for separation from God (also known as death) because Jesus accepted the ramification for sin. The proof that death has been conquered for mankind is that Jesus rose from the dead, opening the door to everlasting life. But remember, mankind was created with a free will. We make our own decisions.
I had a choice to make: get what I deserved for the mistakes I’ve made, or accept God’s gift to the world, Jesus Christ. It’s the same choice as in the Garden of Eden. “Believe God, trust God”, or “Pursue the knowledge of good and evil”
What’s my point?
- God loves you—But how you choose to address your “shortcomings” has eternal significance.
- Only God is perfect, so keep your eyes on Him—not on His followers. I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and the evidence is overwhelming. But I’m not the one you should follow. Jesus is.
Accept God’s gift of Jesus Christ with a simple prayer:
I’m a sinner who has really sinned. I’m full of regret, remorse, sorrow and shame for the things I’ve said and done in my life. We both know the mistakes I’ve made. But I’m asking for forgiveness, Lord. Forgive me. Come into my heart. Cleanse me. Take away all my sin. Make me into a new creation. Be with me always Lord. Give me a sense of your presence in my life. Lord, I’m asking to know you personally. I praise you and I thank you for saving me in the name of Jesus Christ.