Our culture spends a lot of time and money trying to help people find out what is wrong with them and to acquire at least enough of a cure that they can be comfortable, feel successful and perhaps even happy. The mere fact that so much time is spent on therapies of many kinds and both traditional and alternative medicine and support groups and counseling and self-help books indicates we are a deeply flawed people. This next statement might seem very arrogant, but please read the following argument that attempts to prove why it is not.
Society is blind to its own problem. If it denies a spiritual problem as the root of all other issues that trouble and frighten and motivate us to try new solutions, then its efforts are as silly as a blind eye surgeon attempting surgery on himself or herself so that he or she can see again. The point here is not that one should disregard therapy, proper use of medicine, a support group or anything mentioned in the list above. But if one ignores the fact that humans are both body and soul and attempts to treat the body only, a grave error is committed.
Why is this not an arrogant argument? Because the truth conveyed was not thought up by a mere human being who was deluded into thinking he or she had broken free of the quagmire of evils common to all humanity by single-handedly discovering the cure. That truth is a summation of the Bible’s teaching on the human predicament. And the Bible, while written down by human authors, is the product of a single divine Author who is God which means that the human authors were divinely inspired. We know this because God claims that He is the ultimate Author, and He has given ample evidence to substantiate that claim. For instance, the Bible was written over thousands of years by numerous human authors, yet the different parts do not contradict but instead form a beautiful unity. (There are many people who claim the Bible is full of errors. You might want to ask them to show you some, then see if folks who carefully follow and study the Bible might have some explanations for what others assume are contradictions.) Secondly, there is breathtaking fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible. How could the Book not be supernatural and originating in a personal God with such seemingly impossible foretellings that have come true? Thirdly, there is the evidence of the changed lives of Christians and the joy to which they can attest. Not all problems go away from the lives of Christians. Nor is everyone who says he or she is a Christian really a Christian. There are impostors among us who by their words lay claim to truth, but by their lifestyles show that they are not joined to Jesus. But those who are will eventually find peace and joy.
While not all problems go away for a Christian, the Bible gives him or her the big picture – a glorious goal with a real hope of reaching that goal (i.e., being perfected in heaven), and it redefines all the suffering one encounters in life to where none of it is wasted, and all of it has purpose and meaning.
The entire Bible points to, highlights, promotes, honors and endorses Jesus as the only way out of the human predicament it describes so adequately in so many places. Here’s a synopsis of the story: God created the first humans, our original parents, Adam and Eve, good, without defect and able to enjoy God and each other. Satan deceived Eve into believing that God was not good and that she and Adam would be better suited to take His creation and do with it as they please rather than live the way He directed them. When Eve sinned by eating a fruit which God had forbidden as a test of her and Adam’s loyalty and love to Him, Adam chose to follow her rather than remain true to God. Their sin has infected all their descendants in that we are born with the natural tendency to want to pirate God’s creation and handle our affairs in the way that seems best to us. But we are polluted and do not know what is best for us. Sin separates from God who is perfect. This explains all sicknesses of body and mind, the existence of tragedies, death and suffering in all forms. Sin separated humanity from God who alone can keep and sustain and provide for us and cause us to enjoy Him forever. Our best efforts to fix the effects of sin are noble at times, but none can undo what Adam and Eve unleashed.
What was required was a divine solution. God exists as a Trinity. That means He exists in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Son took to Himself through the womb of the virgin Mary our human nature. He had no sin and after He perfected His humanity after much testing and great humiliation, submitting perfectly to His Father’s will, trusting and loving His Father fully, He offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay the just penalty that was due sinners. Being fully human He was qualified to be our substitute and standing in our place to accept the penalty we deserved. But being fully divine the quality of His sacrifice was infinite. He absorbed the complete penalty that was due each of His own people which was an eternity in hell. And the quality of His sacrifice is such that He could pay for the sins of all His people.
Besides paying the penalty for sins to satisfy the demands of justice from a holy God, Jesus rose from the dead and defeated our enemies of death and the devil. His resurrection is evidence that the sacrifice for sins was fully paid and was acceptable to His Father in heaven. Jesus is the Head of a new race. Just as all the descendants of Adam shared in Adam’s corruption and the penalty for it, so all who by faith are descendants of Jesus will share in His righteousness and life. All who are in Christ are legally recognized as not guilty because Jesus paid for their sins – in fact more than not guilty, perfectly righteous because His righteousness is credited to us! And because He is risen from the dead He now lives to extend His own life to us so that we begin to live out His righteousness and learn to love as He loves and have humility like His and adopt pure affections as He has. This is effected in us by the Holy Spirit to lives within believers and facilitates a bond of true union with Jesus. While the Christian life can be very difficult because our own sinful natures, the world and the devil all oppose us and because there is a curse on this world since Adam’s time, the sure effects of Christ’s sacrifice to which a Christian can look forward are eternal life and being so changed that we will be able to enjoy God perfectly, being satisfied by His glory forever.
How does one come to participate in this salvation? By acknowledging your sins, confessing them to God, asking His forgiveness and calling out to Jesus for salvation. That can be done at this very moment. There is no magical formula of words to be used. But understand that a conversion to follow Christ means receiving a new life. So it is more than having one’s ticket punched and receiving immunity from prosecution. If you do not seek to love God and keep His commandments and fear God in reverence, if you have no interest in Christ’s design that each of His people fulfill a role in His Church, then something is not right, and you must seek grace from Christ to partake truly of His life through His Spirit working in you. If you need assistance in any of these matters, please contact us.