My desire here is to pose these questions and then give you answers... not my answers. My answers can be wrong. When it comes to life's most important questions, we certainly don't want to be wrong. But how do we know what's true and what's false? In John 17:17, Jesus said that the Bible is true, so let's look at the answers the Bible gives to "The Big Four."
Question #1: WHO IS GOD?
Ever thought about this? Is He a cosmic kill-joy, seeking to ruin our lives? Is He a grandfather-figure in heaven, just sitting up there, smiling at us? Is He a She? Is He at all??
- Our Maker -- If you create something (a piece of furniture or artwork), then you have rights over it. You can do with it what you will. You can use it yourself or give it away. If it doesn't please you, you can destroy it. It's yours. You made it.
That's how it is with us and God. He made us for a purpose -- to glorify Him. That means He has rights over us and that we are accountable to Him. If we fail to accomplish our purpose (glorifying Him), we will have to answer to our Maker!
- Our Father -- God also reveals Himself as a Father, an ideal one. He is a Father who genuinely loves and desires to do good to His children.
- Our Judge -- This is part of the picture, too. God is a Judge. He will judge us all. But remember that He is just as much a loving Father as He is a mighty Judge. That means that He's going to do what's right, what's fair.
In order to set up what's fair, He's given us His law. The judge down at the courthouse doesn't (or shouldn't) judge arbitrarily. He judges based on the laws on the books. God does, too. That's fair. So what are these laws?
These were first given to us in Exodus 20:3-17. You probably know them as the ten commandments. Jesus summarized these ten by giving two commandments in Mark 12:30-31. He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (that's everything you've got). And you shall love your neighbor as yourself." So that's the law. Pretty simple, huh?
- He's the way back to God. As sinners, we are separated from our Creator & Father. Unless we find a way to fix our broken relationship with God, we stand condemned to Hell. We need a way back! Jesus, God's Son, became a man in order to bring us into a right relationship with the Father. Jesus is the God-man, which means He is fully God (enabling Him to forgive sin) and fully man (enabling Him to take our place). As the God-man, He - and He alone - is the way to fix your relationship with God.
- He Kept the Laws. Remember those laws that we couldn't keep? Love God perfectly and love others perfectly...no human can do that! Well, Jesus (the God-man) did it. He never sinned. That means He meets God's requirements on our behalf. If you turn to Christ, His perfect obedience becomes yours, leaving you guiltless in the sight of the Judge.
- He Took the Punishment. Sins must be punished. We said that if the Judge lets the guilty law-breaker go, then He isn't fair. You and I deserved God's wrath, the punishment from the Judge. The only way to settle this is for someone to pay the penalty. You must pay for your sins in Hell. The only other option is Jesus. He came and took the punishment for us! On the cross, He died a cruel, painful death in our place, satisfying the penalty of sin.
- He is Alive! He died on the cross, but 3 days later rose from the grave. This historical event, called the resurrection is the proof that 1, 2, & 3 are true. Only God could come back from the dead, which means Jesus must be who He said He is! And that means that there is hope for you! Your sins can be forgiven if you embrace Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord.
- Accept It - "I have read and understand this post. I recognize that I am a sinner who deserves God's wrath. I agree that Jesus is my only hope for salvation and that I need Him. I want to be in a right relationship with God." If you're thinking along those lines, God commands you to do two things: A) Turn Away From Sin: Stop loving your sin. The love that you have for breaking God's law must be replaced with a holy hatred. The thought of disobeying God needs to disgust you. Leave your sin behind! It's nasty! B) Turn Toward Jesus Christ: Start loving Jesus! Give Him all your affections. Make Him your life's passion. Be willing to give up everything just to know and follow Jesus.
- Reject It - "I have read and understand this post. According to the Bible, I am a sinner who is fully deserving of God's wrath. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ has paid the penalty that I owe on the cross and only He can save me. And according to the Bible, I must turn away from my sin and trust in Him. But I reject this, knowing that I am in danger of being eternally punished by God in Hell."
- Think About It - "I have read this post, but do not totally understand it. I still have some questions about Christianity."
Which one of these options best describes how you're feeling/ what you're thinking right now?
If Option 1, Read the Bible, Start Praying (talking to God), Find a Bible-believing church and get involved. This link might be helpful: "The Cost of Discipleship"
If Option 2, I urge you to reconsider. Know that this isn't a light matter. Please don't reject this message without first giving it some serious thought. Take at look at this link: "Why Christianity Is Credible"
If Option 3, know that you don't have forever to just "think about it." Be active in this. Read the Bible for yourself, talk to someone you know who really lives for Christ. This link might be helpful: "Life's Most Important Question"
Feel free to comment with any questions or concerns.