Messed Up by Sin, but the Good News is….

I have entitled my blog “Find His Love” for a very specific reason—my desire to help women better understand the tremendous love God has for them as individuals. (And as I have said before men, you are welcome to read along.) I know what it is like to doubt God’s love, to know He is love, yet to feel unloved and ashamed before Him and the world. Perhaps I will share those reasons at another time. For now I just want my readers to know that I understand what it is like to feel a deep sense of shame and unlovableness (yep, I made up that word). Even after I became a Christ-follower, I struggled with these feelings. And I am “one of those” who believe that feelings are important. God created emotions. He understands our emotions. Furthermore, God wants us to love Him with all our:

  • heart
  • soul
  • strength
  • mind

(Luke 10:27)

Seems like “emotions” or “feelings” are included in that list somewhere.

So I developed a mission to help followers understand and yes, feel(!) God’s love more deeply by studying the way Christ demonstrated that love. What a powerful force we would be for His kingdom if we could but begin to grasp the concepts of that magnificent love.

The Problem of Sin

And yet lately, I’ve been thinking more about the world in general, and of those who have no clue about who Jesus is or what He did. I have also been burdened by the horrors that seem to increase in our world every day. Atrocities haunt us when we turn on the news or get on the internet. Hatred. Starvation. Desperate refugees. Beheadings. Sex trafficking of women (I’m sure men as well) and even children.

Here in the United States, an affluent nation we still see hunger, homelessness, a plague of adultery, and yes, human trafficking. Perhaps you wonder why we are in this mess. Why do we see so much suffering and chaos in this world? Why do I suffer? Why are children hurt and scarred for life every day? Or maybe you are one of the few who believes things are really pretty good right now—better than they used to be. However you feel, every problem—from the violence of ISIS to our educational woes to the aggravations at work and at home—can be summed up in one word: sin.

I know we don’t like that word. But sin is the problem—throughout the world as well as in our individual lives. When sin entered into the world, death also entered, along with sickness, the violence we see in nature; the whole world became skewed from God’s perfect plan.

And believe it or not—that is the good news. Because sin can be redeemed. Sin and the damage to our lives can be healed and even used by God.

Was Jesus really the Christ?

 If you are a regular follower of mine, you probably know the answer to that. Jesus, the Son of God came to redeem sinners as the Messiah. But perhaps you think He was just a man, a good man, a good teacher. You may believe Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. But I promise, Jesus knew who He was and I’d like you to see a few of the ways in which He proclaimed Himself:

Jesus called God His Father, and the Jewish leaders understood what He was saying.                     So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.  In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:16-18 (emphasis mine)

“I Am the Bread of Life”
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Jesus Said He Could Forgive Sins
While healing He declared: “…that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God…” Matthew 9:8

“I am the Light of the world”
“…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life…”  John 8:12

“I have come that they may have life, abundantly”
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd….My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  John 10:10, 27-28

“I will love him”
“…he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him…. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:21

“I am with you always”
“…behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”   Matthew 28:20

“I am the way, the truth, the life”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

In today’s society, some of these statements seem very narrow, especially that last one, but if you believe the Bible has any historical value, you see that Jesus made some pretty amazing claims about Himself and His Father.

But How Could He Die for my Sin? He was a Human Being and He Sinned, Didn’t He? 

The direct answer is a simple “no”. Since Jesus made Himself equal with God, and God does not sin, He could not either. But other Scriptures support this concept as well. In Hebrews 4:15, the author states: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (NASB)

There are many other Scriptures I could refer you to. I suggest a search of Scripture or of course, a good ‘ol Google search or to make things simple I’ve provided a link to one site listing these Scriptures. http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Jesus-Christ,-Sinlessness

So How do I Respond?

Perhaps you think you have lived a good life, and have never done anything so bad that you need a Savior. “Surely I can make my own way in this life, and come out all right.” That seems reasonable. But take a look again at John 14:6 (above). Jesus claims He is the way. Hmm, that seems contradict our very human way of thinking that I can do it my way. And according to Romans 3:23 we have all sinned. Yes, Jesus loves us and He forgives. But He only forgives when we become willing to turn from our wrongful deeds. While Jesus declares “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, we must also realize that He died to save us from sin, not so that we keep on sinning and doing things our way. So believing He is the Son of God and that He died for us must be accompanied by a heartfelt repentance (turning from sin and to God).

Or you may be thinking, “surely I cannot come to Him as someone who has done horrible things and just expect Him to take me in. I must get my life right first.” Notice what Jesus says though, God wants to give us eternal life. And Romans 6:23 says that the gift of God is eternal life. A gift that is given out of love is not something we must earn or can earn. And it is only by believing that God can make us right with Him.

Do you hear the good news in all this?

  • God made a way through Christ to have a relationship Him
  • That relationship is not only satisfying, it quenches our thirst, and becomes abundant life
  • We can become a part of His family, a child of God by simply turning away from sin, agreeing that we will follow His way, and believing!
  • Eternal life is a gift.
  • He will come to live with us and will never leave.

Perhaps you feel a certain emptiness in your soul. May I suggest that the filling you need is Jesus the Son of God? I know I felt that hole in my life for a long time. When I was in my early twenties I realized what was missing and came to Christ. I needed to understand that I could never be good enough to gain God’s acceptance. His acceptance only came through a moment in time when I told Him I believed and that I wanted to live for Him. Praying a prayer is not necessarily what it takes as you may have been told. Believing and turning from our own ways invites Him to make our heart His home.

This video may be a little dated, but I hope you will enjoy it. It is entitled “The Hole Story”

References:

http://www.everystudent.com/wires/whodoyousay.htmlAccessed September 3, 2015

Parker, Troy. “The World’s Messed Up.” Worldview series Part 4. Sermon presented at Church at Red River. Shreveport, Louisiana, August 30, 2015  http://churchatredriver.com/media/worldview-2/

Scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.