How do you respond to the recent acts of terror in Israel? Pastor Jared draws attention to the underlying problem and only real solution.
Do You Know the Gospel?
From the very first verse of the Bible we learn that “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Bible teaches that God created everything including planets, plants, animals, even people out of nothing. That’s an important statement. It tells us that God is powerful, God is creative, God is good, and that God is in charge.
If he is responsible for everything that is, then he is also its owner. You might say that he has full creative rights. That means even we belong to him, owe him our allegiance, and are, in a very real sense, accountable to him.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that people were created in the image of God himself. We were designed in such a way so that we might be able to know God, enjoy God, display the glory of God. What’s more, we were made to have perfect, peaceful, and joy-filled relationships with each other.
All of that pointed to God’s magnificence. God is good! The sad truth is that we are not. While God created us to be holy as he is holy, we chose instead to turn our backs on his good design, his good purpose, and his good way, to strike out on our own. Genesis 3 describes the terrible decision that we made to exchange God’s rule and provision to play god ourselves. Instead of his way, we would do it our way. Instead of his glory, we would seek our own glory. That is what the Bible calls sin.
The Bible tells us that every single one of us has sinned and falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3:26). As good as we might think ourselves to be we are all sinners by nature and sinners by choice. Since the first two people decided to disobey, all of us carry around inside a nature that is turned away in rebellion against God, and we all freely and regularly fall short of God’s perfect standard.
While we might overlook a wrong or two that has been done against us, God cannot do that. An essential part of his nature is that he is perfectly just. That means that he cannot overlook even the slightest offense. Everything must be brought to justice. Second Thessalonians 1:8-9 tells us that God will bring sinners to justice “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
Passages like this are a sobering reminder that God is not to be trifled with. His holiness demands our utmost respect.
Those who have heard the gospel however, know that God is also perfectly loving (1 John 4:8). Because of his incomprehensible love for people that have been made in his image, he purposed even before he made us to provide a way of escape.
This is where Jesus comes in. John 3:16 says that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16–17).
This is the good news. That God the Son took on humanity as he was born of the virgin Mary, that he might live the perfect life that we should have lived, and ultimate die the death and experience the full punishment that we rightly deserve. In this way he became our substitute. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might be the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
It is by turning from our life of sin and trusting in the work that Christ accomplished on the cross that we are saved from the wrath of God and our relationship with him restored (Acts 16:31). We consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God as the Holy Spirit unites us with Christ that his righteousness and redeeming work might be applied to our lives (Romans 6:4, 11).
Because of Jesus we now proclaim with the Apostle Peter,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–5)