Continuing our series we now move to the next topic — Our Need:
Humanity began as perfect beings created by a perfect God. We had a well-balanced mind, our thoughts were pure, and we lived in harmony with God. Then we disobeyed God, and the disobedience began a chain reaction that twisted our nature from one of love, to one of selfishness. The disobedience weakened our nature to the point where it was impossible for us—on our own—to resist the power of evil. If God had not stepped in and done something, Satan would have held us captive forever. Satan would have twisted the divine plan of creating man and after filling the earth with all types of evil, he would point at God as the initiator and argue that sin is all God’s fault.
Before sin entered humanity, we enjoyed a wonderful relationship with God, but after sin entered the world, we no longer were able to enjoy holiness and instead became fearful of God and the presence of our Creator. It is the same way today for those who do not know, or for those who have rejected, Jesus and the Holy Spirit—the heart is not able to enjoy or be happy within God’s presence. If it were possible for sinners to enter heaven, the place would not be enjoyable for them because of the spirit of unselfish love that reigns there—with every heart reacting to the heart of God, the heart of Infinite Love, sinners would feel alien and very out of place. Heaven would hold no happiness because everything about heaven’s environment would be counter to their sinful nature—their interests, motives, and desires. Heaven would become a place of torture, and similar to what happened in Eden, any sinner who hypothetically made it to heaven would be forever running trying to escape the presence of God that permeates all of paradise.
Because of this, it is not God’s decree that would ultimately keep sinners from entering heaven, but simply the sinner’s own inability to grasp the unity and selflessness present in heaven. The magnificence of God would be to them a consuming fire. Instead of enjoying heaven, they would prefer anything that would keep them from seeing the face of their Creator and Redeemer—even preferring complete destruction/death.
It is impossible for us to escape the disease of sin that consumes our hearts and lives on our own. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. “Who can bring purity out of an impure person? No one!” (Job 14:4). “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.” (Romans 8:7). Education, culture, and our own willpower and effort all have their proper place, but ultimately they are powerless to change our hearts, because no amount of influence and desire can create life out of no life.
Instead, there must be a power working from within us, changing us from the inside and giving us a new life that resembles how God created us to be before we can be cured of sin and become holy. This power is Jesus Christ. His forgiveness, mercy, and grace alone can transform the lifeless heart within us into being attracted to God and His perfect holiness. Jesus told us while He was here on earth: “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,” [meaning unless you ask for and receive a new heart, new desires, new purposes, and new motives that lead to new life,] “you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).
The idea that we simply need to develop good things (good character, good desires, & good purpose) in our own lives and with our own nature to make it to heaven is a critical deception. “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Cor 2:14). “So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:7). “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” (John 1:4). “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
It is not enough for us to see God’s love, or to see the compassion in His character. It is not enough for us to recognize the wisdom and justice of His law and how this law is founded upon the endless principle of love. Paul the apostle saw this when he exclaimed, “But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.” (Romans 7:16). “But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.” (Romans 7:12). “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:14). Paul desired the purity and righteousness that he was incapable of achieving on his own. “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24). Paul’s cry is the same as our cry, when we end up realizing that we cannot make it on our own. For everyone, there is only one answer, John’s answer as he declares, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Next week we will conclude this topic and continue Growing with Jesus!
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!