you ever stroked the velvety petal of a rose? Or listened to
the restful cascade of a mountain stream? Or strolled in awe
through a redwood grove? In these quiet moments, a thought
may well up from your soul: Only God could create such beauty.
Most people who have experienced
moments like these come away believing that there must be a God.
But how does
a person relate to this Creator? How do we come to know God?
The most marvelous book in the world, the Bible, marks the path
God with four vital truths.
Let's look at each
marker in detail.
Our Spiritual Condition: Totally
The first truth is rather personal. One look in the mirror of Scripture, and
our human condition becomes painfully clear:
it is written, " There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There
is none who does good, There is not even one." Romans
We are sinners through and
through---totally depraved. Now that doesn't mean we've committed
known to humankind. We're not as bad as we can be, just as
bad off as we can be. Sin colors all our thoughts, motives, words,
and actions. Don't believe it? Look around.
Everything around us bears the smudge marks of our sinful nature.
Despite our best
efforts to create a perfect world, crime statistics continue
to soar, divorce rates keep climbing, and families keep crumbling.
Something has gone terribly wrong in our society and in ourselves,
contrary to how the
world would repackage it, "me first" living does
not equal rugged individuality and freedom; it equals death.
says in his letter to the Romans, "The wages of sin is
6:23)---our emotional and physical death through sin's destructiveness,
and our spiritual death from God's righteous judgment of our
sin. This brings us to the second marker: God's character.
God's Character: Infinitely Holy
Our very awareness that things are not as they should be points to a standard
of goodness beyond ourselves. That standard is God Himself. And God's standard
of holiness contrasts starkly to our sinful condition. Scripture says that "God
is light, and in Him there
no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). He is absolutely righteous--which
creates a problem for us. If He is so pure, how can we who
are so impure relate to Him? Perhaps we could try being
better people, try to tilt the balance in favor of our good deeds.
people have attempted to live up to God's standard by keeping
the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, no one can come close
to satisfying the demands of God's law. J.B. Phillips' translation
of Romans 3 states: "No man can justify himself before God
by a perfect performance of the Law's demands---indeed it is
the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are." Romans
Our Need: A Substitute
So here we are, sinners by nature, sinners by choice, trying to pull ourselves
up by our own bootstraps and attain a relationship with our holy Creator.
But every time, we fall flat on our faces. We can't live a good enough
make up for our sin, because God's standard isn't "good enough"--it's
perfection. And we can't make amends for the offense our sin has created
without dying for it.
can get us out of this mess?
If someone could live perfectly, honoring God's
law, and would bear sin's death penalty for us, then we would
be saved from our predicament. But is there such a person? Thankfully,
Meet your substitute---Jesus Christ. He is the
One who took death's place for you!
"[God] made [Jesus Christ] who knew no
sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness
of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
God's Provision: A Savior
God rescued us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins on the cross
(see 1 John 4:9-10). Jesus was fully human and fully divine, a truth that ensures
His understanding of our weaknesses, His power to forgive, and His ability
to bridge the gap between God and us (see Romans 5:6-11). In short, we are "justified
as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans
3:24). Two words in this verse bear further explanation: justified and redemption.
is God's act of mercy, in which He declares believing sinners
righteous, while they are still in their sinning state. Justification
doesn't mean that God makes us righteous, so that we never
sin again, rather He declares us righteous much like a judge
a guilty criminal. Because Jesus took our sin upon Himself
and suffered our judgment on the cross, God forgives our debt
proclaims us PARDONED. Redemption is God's act of paying the
ransom price to release us from our bondage to sin. Held hostage
Satan, we were shackled by the iron chains of sin and death.
Like any loving parent whose child has been kidnapped, God
willingly paid the ransom. And what a price He paid! He gave
His only Son
to bear all the sins of humankind: past, present, and future.
Jesus' death and resurrection broke our chains and set us free
to become children of God (see Romans 6:16-18, 22; Galatians
Placing Your Faith in Christ
These four truths describe how God has provided a way to Himself through
Jesus Christ. But God won't force us to follow it. He won't drag us down
a path we
don't want to go. It's our decision to step forward into a relationship
with Him, and we do so in faith. "For by grace you have been
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
as a result of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians
accept God's gift of salvation simply by placing our faith in
Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Would you like
to enter a relationship with your Creator by trusting in Christ
as your Savior? If so, here's a simple prayer you can use to
express your faith:
I know that my sin has put a barrier between You and me.
Thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place. I trust in
Jesus alone to forgive my sins and accept His gift of eternal
life. I ask Jesus to be my personal Savior and the Lord of
my life. Thank You. In Jesus' name, amen.
If you've prayed this prayer and you wish to
find out more about knowing God and His plan for you in the Bible,
The next time you ponder a rose or admire a
sunset, consider the One who created our wonderful world. You
know Him personally!
content adapted from www.insight.org