The truth about ourselves
Have you ever noticed how broken this world is? Messy relationships, bad decisions, hearts full of pride, lustful thoughts, serving ourselves. We call this sin because we have totally missed what God intended and we end up worshipping what God has created instead of worshipping the Creator Himself (Romans 1:25). It all started in the Garden of Eden, when God gave the command,
"You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)
And so Adam and Eve disobeyed because they did not believe God was truly their sufficiency. They doubted His intentions for them. They wanted to be God. They wanted to choose what was right or wrong for them.
And they rebelled against the One who made them.
And so death came into the world. And from that point on, every person was born into sin.
"But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)
As the source of joy and life, God created us to give us full joy. And that fullest joy is found in Him. He was the best gift He could ever give us. But we have rebelled against a perfect, eternal, holy God and our just payment for those sins is death (Romans 6:23). Sin against an eternal God demands an eternal separation and payment for our rebellion.
Sound hopeless? It is...or was...until Jesus.
The truth about Jesus
Many today want to categorize Jesus as merely a moral man, a good teacher, or one who loved others. To do this makes my condition sound better than it is. But the truth is that I need a savior; I need one who can do for me what I cannot do for myself, and that is to make myself righteous before God and relate with Him once again as He intended.
Jesus was not just a moral man, though he did live a perfect life. Jesus was not just a good teacher, though people were taken back by his words. Jesus was not just one who loved other people, though he showed love to those who were unlovely to others.
There is much more to Jesus.
Jesus is God (Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:9-10) and He is the Son of God (John 1:14). And He set aside His rightful status and became a man on this earth to initiate a plan that we could have never conceived ourselves: redemption.
And as Adam merely lived life, Jesus was life giving (I Corinthians 15:45).
Jesus lived on this earth as the Living Word and ended up on a cross. But why die? Why would the Son of God die? To make a way for you and me. When God judged His son on that cross and killed His son, He viewed Jesus as if He had committed my sin and your sin. He viewed Jesus as having the hate in my heart that I have had, the rebellion in my heart to go my own way, and the pride in my heart that contends for supremacy against God.
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
But death did not have the final say, because after three days, God raised His son from the clutches of death and made Him alive again...forever. Satan was defeated (1 Corinthians 15:55).
God's love for you and for me was shown in the giving of His son (John 3:16). And now, when we recognize our hopeless condition, turn to Jesus, repent of our sin, and recognize Him as our redeemer and as King Jesus of all of our life, God makes us sons and daughters of Him (2 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 1:5).
In other words, He adopts us and now views us in Christ with Jesus' righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:20-26).
This is good news indeed. And we call this good news the gospel (Romans 1:16).
And as a son or daughter of God, there is no more performance because Jesus performed for us. There is no more condemnation because Jesus fully received our condemnation. And now there is victory over sin because He won the victory. And we cannot lose our salvation because it was never ours to gain. Now He offers life...eternal life, and He offers the ability to have a full and right relationship with a loving Father.
No. More. Wrath.
His strength our strength. His love our love. His grace our grace. His power our power. We call it the great transaction: our hopeless life for His perfect righteousness. And now, just like a branch cannot help but bear the fruit of the tree to which it is connected, so we are the branches now connected to the Vine who bear His fruit (John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-24).
Are you looking to fill that eternal void within you? To have a right relationship with the One who created you? Are you looking for true joy, lasting peace, even in the midst of a broken world?
Then in your brokenness and dependency, turn to King Jesus. And begin to live your life for God's glory and the fame of His name (Romans 11:33-36), because that is what he intended all along.
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." (John Piper)
And this is why we believe that Jesus is the hope of the world.