Before we explain what salvation is, we must first look at the predicament that man is in.
First of all, God is a righteous, pure, and holy God.
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: …. (Habakkuk 1:13)
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. (Psalms 5:4)
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Therefore, He demands justice (He cannot let sin go unpunished). Someday the perfect Judge must present all the evidence. He will show before the entire world your sins – both public and private.
…For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. (Matthew 10:26)
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
A holy God despises sin. He hates the smell and the sight of it, and cannot allow it in his presence. If he were to let sin into heaven, it would no longer be heaven and He would no longer be God. The only way a person can go to heaven is if he has never sinned. But is anybody that good?
Are you that good?
As it is written, There is none righteous, NO, NOT ONE: (Romans 3:10)
For ALL have sinned, and come SHORT of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)
If no one can be righteous, then why did God give the Ten Commandments? Didn’t He give them to us, so that we could try to keep them?
The answer is this: while God did give them to us to help regulate our lives, the main reason they were given is to teach us something: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP THEM!
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans. 3:20)
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
Most people try to categorize sin in the belief that some sins are worse than others. And while it is true that the consequences for one sin may be more harmful than another (murder vs. stealing candy), God sees every sin as contrary to His perfect law (the Bible), thereby bringing upon that person a guilty verdict.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4
If God is righteous, that means He is right. Therefore, anything that is not right (perfect) is unrighteous. All unrighteousness is sin… (1 John 5:17)
As a matter of fact, if a person commits one “little sin,” the whole law has just been broken.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
It is not just our actions that can be sinful.
The thought of foolishness is sin…. Proverbs 24:9
Jesus said that “… whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…(Matthew 5:21-22) It is murder, but it’s in the heart.
The Bible defines sin as “the transgression of the law.” To transgress is to go beyond or fall short of God’s law. So if we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that we cannot keep the law.
Can you honestly say you have never sinned?
Can anyone claim perfection? Remember, if you broke only one, you have broken the whole thing, “…whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
So how about you?
Have you ever lied?
Then you have broken
Commandment # 9 – “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
Have you ever been angry with or hated someone?
Then according to Jesus Christ, in your heart you have broken
Commandment # 6 – “Thou shalt not kill.”
Wanted what was not yours?
Commandment # 10 – Broken. “Thou shalt not covet”
Have you ever lusted after the opposite sex? As stated earlier, according to Jesus Christ, in your heart you have broken
Commandment # 7 – “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
How about taking God’s name in vain (either swearing while using God’s name, or simply using it in an irreverent or purposeless word – vain means empty)?
Commandment # 3 – Broken. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD in vain.”
Have you ever failed to honor or obey your mom or dad?
Commandment # 5 – Broken. “Honour thy father and mother.”
Have you ever placed something ahead of God in priority, whether it was money, or a job, or a person? (The thing we make #1 in our lives can become our god.)
Commandment # 1 – Broken. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
We have ALL broken the law in our actions or in our hearts.
The New Testament repeats this in the following passages.
Who has NOT committed some of the following in either thought or deed?
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators (sex before marriage), nor idolaters (commandments #1 & #2 – placing something or someone in a higher position than God – money, hobby, addictions), nor adulterers (#7), nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves (#8), nor covetous (#10), nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Galatians 5:19-21 adds hatred (#6), strife, & envying.
Revelation 21:8 adds lying (#9).
So how about you? If you were to count those that you have committed, how many do you think you violated? Three? Four? Eight? All?
Remember, the Bible is a unit. The Law is a unit. You can’t just break one commandment and the others are unbroken. How many transgressions does it take to break the whole law (that is, all 10 commandments along with every other command in the Bible)?
Therefore, every single one of us has broken the law, many times. All have sinned. Even the very best of men and women have sinned. All are guilty.
For ALL have sinned, and come SHORT of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:19)
Now some might say at this point, “OK. Now that I know this, I will just try to improve myself, be a better person and not sin.” But do you think you could go the rest of your life and not sin? How about a week? How long do you think you would last? Could you or I even get through one day without sinning? But here is another factor. Even if you COULD stop sinning (and the only way we could do that is if we were in a coma), what about your past sins? You cannot undo them. It’s like this. Let’s say you ran a red light and the judge you were standing before sentences you to a fine of $100. But you protest. You say, “Wait, wait. But I’m a decent person. I give to charity, I’m a good father, I’m a good husband.” He says to you, “That is good, that is commendable. But did you run a red light?” You answer, “Yes.” The judge says, “Then you are guilty.” You protest again. “But I have obeyed red lights thousands of other times, thousands of stop signs, I obey the speed limit every day!” The judge responds, “I appreciate your efforts in trying to abide by the law. But you can read it in the law yourself. It is specifically stated, ‘Traffic Light Violations will be fined no less than $100.’ Now, back to my question. Did you run a red light?” You answer, “Well, yes.” The judge says, “Then you are guilty of violating the law. The law is the law. I am constrained by the law, and I must be impartial. I am required by the law to do my duty. The law states that the fine is $100. It MUST BE PAID.”
The good things we do are good, but the fine for the bad things we have done MUST BE PAID. The problem is, when it comes to our souls the PRICE IS TOO HIGH FOR US TO PAY. WE NEED SOMEONE TO PAY IT FOR US…
Let us explain something at this point. The Law was not something that God “pulled out of the air” or made up. The Law is eternal, it has always been. It is the Law of relationships (Matt 22:37-40). It is the law of interaction between two individuals with a free will. Therefore, God did not invent anything. If God did, then that would mean He could change it. The Law was GIVEN. It was given to be a blessing so that people would not harm each other (it guides and protects EVERYONE in a world that is far from perfect). It was not given so that God could “spoil people’s fun.” The Law emanates from God. It is Who He is. Because of all of these factors, God has no choice but to abide by the Law. Consequently, He has no choice but to require for His creation the same standards. It is a Law over ALL CREATION. It transcends all other laws. It is an absolute moral standard that does not change for location, for time, or for the opinions, circumstances, cultures or standards of man. It over-rides man’s laws, or manmade religious laws. In society, we cannot pick and choose which laws we want to follow, which stop lights we choose to obey or not obey, nor are we judged by only the portion we choose to follow. Likewise it is with God’s Law. It was given as an absolute unchanging moral standard by which to guide us in society, and in relationships with man and God. But it also condemns us, because we cannot keep it. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified…for all have sinned…There is none righteous, no, not one…
(Rom 3:19, 20, 10)
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)
This sin keeps us apart from God. It puts a wall between us and Him.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
It gets worse! Sin has a penalty.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)
For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a)
The penalty is not just a physical death, but a spiritual death. A separation from God forever in a place called “the lake of fire.” God wants to save us from this horrible place that was originally “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
Is there an alternative to this predicament? Can a person be reincarnated?
The answer to this is no. This life is the only life we have to live.
And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)
Some believe that hell is a temporary place. Some hope that a person’s soul will be destroyed, ending the suffering. But hell and suffering will be forever.
… the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night… (Revelation 14:11)
What kind of people go to hell?
The general thought is that most people are going to heaven, and that only murderers, rapists, or evil dictators will go to hell. It’s actually the other way around.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
It is not the degree of the sin that is the criteria. The criteria for deserving hell is, “Am I a sinner?” Let’s put it another way. A person does not have to commit a sinful act in order to be condemned to hell. A person does not have to do anything. Because of our sin nature, we are condemned already. All that a person must do in order to go to hell is NOTHING!
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
…he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36b)
We have seen that the Bible says we all have transgressed (broken) God’s commandments. We also must then be separated from God, and that if nothing is done, we will not go to heaven. Something must take place in one’s life in order for one NOT to go to hell. Let’s make this personal. Something must take place in your life. What is this “something?”