What is the real problem?

The Gospel:

1. Know your condition.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). God loves you and wants you to be a part of His family. So what’s wrong? Why does God feel so far away? Why does it feel like God is not around at all? The answer is sin. Almost everyone is familiar with the 10 Commandments and can even name a few. Contrary to popular belief, the 10 Commandments don’t get you to Heaven. They are actually there to show you why you’re not going to Heaven. Think of God’s Law like a mirror. They are showing you “how you look” in God’s eyes. Do you want to know His standards? OK. First off, never lie in your life. You should never steal any item. Never ever take The Lord’s name in vain (using the name of God or Jesus as a cuss word or to express anger or shock). You should never put something over your love of God. Oh and also never disobey your parents – not even once in your entire life. That is God’s standard and we’ve only done 5 of the 10! How are you doing so far? If you say “perfect” you just violated the 9th Commandment by lying so add another one to your sin tally. The point is clear — we have all sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s standard of moral perfection in thought, word and deed. And the sad truth is we know it. Even if someone has never read a Bible, we are made in God’s image, which means we have a conscience, a natural understanding of what is right and wrong. The Bible says God has written it on our hearts, so everyone born knows when they have done wrong.

2. Know where you’re headed.

So you’re a sinner. You have broken God’s law. So what does that mean in terms of your eternal destiny? We know God is the judge, how is He going to see it?

“For the wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23). Death?? Yes, death. That is how you are paid for your sins. Now some may be thinking “well wait a second. I know I’ve sinned, but my rap sheet is not even close to people like Hitler, Stalin or serial killers. Surely they are going to make me look really good.” The answer to that is no.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). God sees one sin as the same being guily of all of them. That’s how good He is and how high His standard is. No sinner is coming to Heaven, no matter how big or small their sin list is. And even our good deeds, like holding doors open, recycling or giving money to the homeless can’t help us:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags;” (Isaiah 64:6). Thinking nice gestures will get you to Heaven is like thinking a murderer could get let off for killing someone in cold blood by telling the judge he helps his neighbor carry her groceries home. That does not change the fact a crime took place! And God as a just Judge is not going to let any criminal off the hook. So this may seem grim but stay tuned…there’s good news….

3. Know the Good News

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

(Romans 5:8). God loves us so much that He made a plan so we could escape the eternal punishment of hell and be with Him in Heaven for eternity. The Bible says God is “not willing that any should perish..” God does not want you to be separated from Him or to suffer in Hell for eternity. So He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. The Bible makes it clear that someone has to be punished for every sin. And Jesus came to Earth to be a perfect sacrifice for all of humanity. By living his perfect life on Earth and dying on the cross, He took our punishment for us. We chose to sin and He chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us. This allows us to be declared innocent and sin-free in God’s Eyes. The debt we owed for our crimes is paid. That is love. Many parents will happily say they’d die for their kids but how many parents would let their kids die for you? God did just that out of love for you. To bring us back as His children to be at peace with Him.

4. Believe

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

And there it is. Believe in Jesus as your Savior. Know you need salvation and believe that Jesus died to take your sin punishment. It’s not just saying it, it’s understanding that without Jesus Christ, you are 100% headed for eternal punishment. And knowing that your faith in His sacrifice is what saves you. It allows God to give you a new spirit, that can feel His presence and seek to worship Him. And that’s what being “Born Again” and “Saved” means. It’s the simple Gospel.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8). It’s faith in Christ that saves, not our own efforts. Not good deeds, not going to church, not any type of ritual. It’s our faith in Christ. If that seems easy, that’s precisely why the Bible calls it a gift! When is the last time you had to work for a gift? Your answer should be never because if you did, then it wasn’t a gift! God’s gift to us is salvation by our faith and not by actions. So take the gift and enjoy it forever.

So if you believe what has been written above, and you are not saved, then don’t waste time. We don’t know if we have tomorrow. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Believe in Christ, pray to God and with your mouth let him know that you know you’re a sinner, you know that you deserve hell but you also know that Christ took your punishment when He died on the cross. Welcome to the family of Christ.

Now from that point, you can start growing in your relationship. Read the Bible. Find a Bible-believing church. Pray often (even if it’s to tell God what’s on your mind. You don’t have to sound like someone from the Bible). And find other believers to spend time with who can help you grow.

If you’ve read this far and still don’t believe, I only urge you to think about it some more. Maybe this makes sense to you, but God still seems far away. Or you just don’t know about Jesus for certain yet. Then get to know Him. Read the Gospels. I would recommend just starting with the Book of John and learning about Jesus Christ. God will not force Himself on you because you cannot make someone love you. It has to be a choice. The Bible says God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Coming to this page is a great step. Reading the Gospel is an even better one.

If there’s one thing the Bible says about Heaven is that it’s a great place! And I hope to see you all there!

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