By S.C. Shaw
This is an interesting title, I know. It is so countercultural to make a statement like that. From birth we are taught “You can do anything you want. If you believe enough you can accomplish anything. You are enough.” Every Disney movie is based on this idea. Hear me correctly, I am not here to bash your identity, character or worth. After all, we are all made in the image of God. This blog is simply to help us think through this idea that we are in desperate need of something much more powerful than “us” in this life.
I lead music for my church. In our youth service we are in a series with the title, “You Are Not Enough”. I added “Good” for reasons I will be explaining. I love that we are doing it. This age group is so affected by everything they are seeing and hearing. But this topic is an epidemic to all ages, and I pray this blog plants seeds of thought.
Why is this important?
Because even from a humanistic worldly context this idea that “you can do anything” is dangerous. But I’m not here to talk about that. What I am going to be talking about mainly is how much danger we are in if we think we are safe and sufficient in ourselves towards a God who demands perfection. I am not going to touch on the worldly aspect of this but the godly one. Our culture is so confused about who God is and what righteous requirements there are to make it to heaven. We are living in a post Christian culture and there is not much help in the area of Biblical truth out there. Here’s my small attempt to help spread truth and love from a Biblical perspective. After all, I am claiming to believe in a God who gave us a book that He is the author of, and He claims to be the only way to heaven and from escaping eternal punishment, (John 14:6). If I didn’t share this with everyone then I would be a hypocrite. Regardless of what you believe or think of me, at least hear these words as someone who is trying to save your life because that is what I believe I am attempting to do.
What does God require of me?
The God of the Bible created everything good and according to His will, (Genesis 1:31). He Himself is the definition of goodness and perfection. He can do nothing apart from His holy and righteous character, (Matthew 12:25-28, 2 Timothy 2:13). In other words, He can’t deny Himself. He creates man and woman in His image and likeness. What does that mean? You and me bare some of who He is within us. We are not God, but we are able to experience and understand more about God by knowing who we are and being in relationships with one another. He has also given us His Word. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God used man to write down what man needed to know to know God better and live according to His will. But I’m jumping ahead.
God created everything good and man messed it up by disobeying Him. Because Adam was our representative, we are all cursed because of his actions (Romans 5:12-21). And before you think that’s not fair just remember, Adam and Eve had a relationship with God that no other human has ever had. They walked with God and spent face to face time with Him. And they still failed. Now that we are born into this curse, we are under Gods wrath from birth (Ephesians 2:1-3). Remember, God demands perfection because He can have no part of imperfection. He is perfect holiness, righteousness and a myriad of other great things. But He still desires to be with His creation. You see the dilemma? So, what do we do? We are unable to live up to Gods standards because we are born into this curse of sin. God can’t just accept us the way we are. So, what do we do? The real question is “What did He do?”
Luckily God is all mighty, all wisdom, all power and sovereign. Meaning He knew that giving man the ability to make choices means we would ultimately mess up because we are not God. Created by a perfect God does not mean we are perfect. In fact, only God is perfect. So, God demands perfection, and we are not it.
What was God’s plan?
God sent Himself to earth to take His own wrath upon Himself in order to make a way for some to be worthy of Himself. Why some? The Bible makes it clear that some are chosen, or elect, to receive the gift of eternal life (Matt. 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Luke 18:7; Acts 9:15; 11:18; Rom. 8:29, 30, 33; Eph. 1:4, 5, 11; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:10. See, also, Luke 10:21-22; John 6:37, 44, 65; 10:26; 15:16; 17:2, 6, 9; Acts 5:31; 13:48; Rom. 9:11, 15, 16; 18 11:5, 7, 28; 1 Cor. 1:27, 28, 30; Gal. 1:15; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; 2:8, 9; Rev. 5:9; 7:10-12). Sorry to overwhelm this point but I believe it to be very irresponsible and dangerous to teach anything else. Sound unfair? Remember, we are all deserving of eternal judgment because our fallen state. God was under no obligation to save anyone. He would have been just in destroying everything and starting over again. But God choses to save some. But hear this. No one who comes to Him will be denied. Anyone who calls upon the Lord for forgiveness will be welcomed in to His family, eternally forgiven of their sins and secured eternal life in heaven. The plain fact is, not all will accept that invitation.
So, God sends Himself in the form of a man He calls (Yeshua). Why a man? Because there is no forgiveness for sins without the shedding of blood. Why? Because sin leads to death and therefore death is the only way to pay for sin (Romans 6:23). Hence the continual animal sacrifices we see in the Old Testament. But the blood of goats and lambs are not enough to take away the eternal punishment that awaits the judgement for man’s sin. It was always a temporal way to cover sin. Again, God making a way for Him to be able to dwell with man even before Christ enters the scene. But this was all a foreshadowing of Him who was coming. We need an eternal sacrifice to secure us for eternity. Only God is eternal. But God can’t die. God must come as a man in order to live perfectly, die perfectly, be raised again and ascend to heaven to secure His children forever. But Jesus didn’t forgo His deity. He was 100% man and 100% God while on this earth. He is the second person of the Trinity. Yeshua is His name, or Jesus for the more recent of understanding. 100% man because God can’t die and there must be bloodshed. 100% God because only God can live a perfect life as a man in order to be the perfect substitute for sinful man. Only God is enough to take on the sin of all who would believe, die, be raised and ascend to His Throne in Heaven. Only God can take God’s wrath and survive. Only God can raise people from the dead. Is this starting to make sense? God alone can make a way for people who are dead in their sin, back to Himself, accepted as holy and righteous before Him (Ephesians 2:1-10). Only God is powerful enough make this happen. And He did. Jesus is our perfect substitute. He lived and died perfectly to save us. He rose from the grave and is back in heaven praying for His children every day.
Why does this matter to you?
This truth is important to all because there are only two kinds of people. People going to heaven and people going to hell. What is hell? Hell is a place made for Satan and those who follow him. God desires no person to be there (1 Timothy 2:3-4), but He is also not going to force anyone to follow Him. Hence the ability to make choices. God is just and allows people to make their choices and our choices have an eternal consequences. That means the way you take this message will matter forever. I’m not assuming your eternity in this blog, but I am talking about the truths that do concern your choices. This is a choice we must all make for ourselves. There is no salvation based on your family, where you grew up or political party you hold to. This is a response to the love Christ has shown us on the cross. God becoming man and offering us forgiveness by His work alone. God deserves nothing less than a life completely submitted to Him.
You are not good enough to enter heaven. But Jesus the Christ was, and He offers His perfection on anyone who chooses Him over all else.
If you want to know more then continue reading here.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
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