By the time their meals arrived, the topic had turned to religion. . . . .
"Jeff, I always hear about Jesus Christ dying on a cross, but no one has ever really
explained how it directly affects me."
"Gary, the BIBLE says, in I Timothy 1:15, that Christ Jesus came into the world TO SAVE
"But that verse refers to sinners."
"Hmm. . . . I think there's something you should understand." Jeff pulled out his small
New Testament. "Read the whole verse, and remember, the Apostle Paul, a great man of
God, is the one speaking. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I AM CHIEF (1 TIMOTHY1:15)."
"You mean Paul considered himself a sinner? What did he do that was so bad?"
"It's not what he did, it's what he was - he was a sinner. You don't become a sinner
because you have sinned, but rather, you sin because you are a sinner."
"I don't get it," Gary said.
"Being a sinner is the condition that everyone is born into. King David understood this
when he said, "Behold, I was SHAPEN IN INIQUITY; and in SIN did my mother CONCEIVE
me" (PSALM 51:5). When Adam and Eve rebelled against God they died spiritually and
obtained a sin nature. They became sinners, and their sin nature has been passed down
to every generation since then. Gary, everyone, including you and me, is born with a sin
nature: For as by one man's [Adam's] disobedience MANY WERE MADE SINNERS...
The waitress stopped by to refill their water glasses. Jeff could see that Gary was
"What is so hard to believe? Take your three year old, for example, did you have to
teach him how to lie, or steal a cookie? Did you have to teach him to act selfish and not
share his toys?"
"No, I guess not," Gary replied.
"That's because sinning comes natural to him. He was born with an inclination toward
wrong behavior. In fact, if anything, you have to counter his sin nature by teaching him to
do right," Jeff said, reaching for his glass.
"But what about the idea that man has a spark of goodness inside, waiting to be fanned
into a roaring fire of benevolence?"
Jeff had to smile. "Well, that's one idea that didn't come from Jesus. He said, For from
within, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN, PROCEED EVIL THOUGHTS, adulteries, fornications,
murders, thefts....all these EVIL THINGS COME FROM WITHIN... (MARK 7:21-23). The
Bible further says the HEART IS DECEITFUL above all things, and DESPERATELY WICKED:
who can know it? (JEREMIAH 17:9). The worst part is: as sinners we do by nature the very
thing that God hates the most - sin!"
"But you make it sound like sin is part of my daily routine," Gary said.
"It is. The Bible says: Sin is the transgression [breaking] of the law (I JOHN 3:4). Sin is
simply not following God's will, and disobeying what He commands in the Bible. Gary, can
you honestly say that you don't sin at least once, everyday?"
"Well, nobody's perfect. Sure I've broken a few commandments here and there. But then
again, I haven't been seriously trying not to. If I really wanted to I could probably follow
"I'm afraid you can't, Gary. Paul couldn't, and he was an Apostle. He said, For I know
that IN ME (THAT IS, IN MY FLESH,) DWELLETH NO GOOD THING: for to will is present with
me; but HOW TO PERFORM THAT WHICH IS GOOD I FIND NOT (ROMANS 7:18). That
means God's law, including the Ten Commandments, go against our sin nature. Sooner or
later we will break them. That's why he said . . ."
"Wait-a-minute! What about the commandments I've never broken? . . . Like adultery
for example." Gary was getting upset. "Doesn't that count for something?"
"Actually, Jesus said simply lusting after a woman is considered adultery by God
(Matthew 5:28). He knows our thoughts. Besides, if you break one commandment, you've
broken them all. The Bible says: for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and YET OFFEND
IN ONE POINT, HE IS GUILTY OF ALL (JAMES 2:10)."
"But Jeff, that would mean no one could make it into Heaven, no matter how good they
"Right! No one can be righteous enough to earn Heaven. In fact, in God's eyes, no one is
righteous period! That's why the BIBLE says, There is NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE
(ROMANS 3:10). For there is NOT A JUST MAN UPON EARTH, that DOETH GOOD, AND
SINNETH NOT (ECCL. 7:20)."
"Then answer me this: if God's law is impossible to keep, why did He give it to us in the
first place? Didn't He do it so we could earn our way to Heaven?"
"No! Just the opposite. The law was given precisely to show us that we are sinners and
cannot earn our way to Heaven: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it
saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and ALL THE
WORLD MAY BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD. THEREFORE BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW SHALL
NO FLESH [man] BE JUSTIFIED in his [God's] sight: for BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF
SIN" (ROMANS 3:19-20). Our inability to follow God's law, without breaking it once, is the
best proof in the world that we are all naturally-born sinners. His law acts like a mirror that
shows us how far off the mark we are; it clearly demonstrates that ALL HAVE SINNED, and
COME SHORT OF THE GLORY [standard] OF GOD (ROMANS 3:23). God didn't give us the
Ten Commandments to enable us to get to Heaven, but rather to show us that we are
sinners unworthy of going there! The Bible says: know ye not that THE UNRIGHTEOUS
SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor
thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the
kingdom of God (I CORINTHIANS 6:9-10)."
"Okay . . . so let's say I can't make it into Heaven. . . why wouldn't God just leave me alone
and let me stay here with all the other sinners?"
"He can't. God has special plans for His universe, and they don't include sinners running
around loose committing sin. Jesus said, The Son of man [Jesus] shall send forth his
angels, and THEY SHALL GATHER OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all things that offend, and THEM
WHICH DO INIQUITY [SIN]; and shall CAST THEM INTO A FURNACE OF FIRE [HELL]: there
shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (MATTHEW 13:41- 42)."
"BUT THAT'S NOT FAIR!" Gary's eyes were wide open. "How can a so called loving God
dispose of me like that if I can't help but sin in the first place?"
"Gary, you have no excuse! You not only sin by nature, YOU SIN BY CHOICE, and you can
always choose to repent, humbling yourself before God, and say, God be merciful to me a
sinner (Luke 18:13). Remember, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...
(I TIMOTHY 1:15)."
Gary relaxed his angry posture.
"You see, God hates sin, but He loves mankind. And He proved His love toward us by
giving His own Son to die on the cross for us. He provided a way, the only way, to have our
sins forgiven and avoid Hell. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, but have everlasting life"
(JOHN 3:16). Christ's death satisfied God's justice."
Gary was now quietly listening.
"He took our sins and died in our place. He was the innocent dying for the guilty, taking
upon Himself the punishment that we sinners deserve. In the process, He appeased God's
wrath: But God commendeth [proved] HIS LOVE TOWARD US, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET
SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, WE
SHALL BE SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM (ROMANS 5:8-9). As sinners we are at
opposition with a Holy and just God, but Christ's death reconciled us back to Him: For if,
WHEN WE WERE ENEMIES, WE WERE RECONCILED TO GOD BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON,
much more, being reconciled, we shall be SAVED BY HIS LIFE (ROMANS 5:10). If Christ
had not died on the cross, you and I would be doomed. We can't save ourselves by trying to
pay for our own sins. As natural-born sinners that would be impossible, because for every
good deed we perform, we commit many more acts of sin. It would be a losing battle, like
trying to push the ocean back with a spoon! That's why God's law has no provision for
earning our way to Heaven: NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which we have done, but
according to his mercy HE SAVED US (TITUS 3:5). For by the works of the law SHALL NO
FLESH BE JUSTIFIED (GALATIANS 2:16). For BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH;
and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should
boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). We couldn't stop sinning or change our sin nature if our life
depended on it - and it does! Only the shed blood of Christ can erase all our sins past,
present and future! The Bible says that He "...loved us, and WASHED US FROM OUR SINS
IN HIS OWN BLOOD" (REV. 1:5). Our only hope of salvation is through Jesus Christ; His
death paid for our sins, it's the only payment God will accept, "For THE WAGES OF SIN IS
DEATH; but THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord" (ROM. 6:23)."
"So how do I accept His gift of salvation?" Gary asked.
"Admit that you are a lost, hell-bound sinner in need of a Saviour and REPENT. That
means, change your rebellious attitude toward God by TURNING FROM YOUR SIN, TOWARD
HIM in complete submission. And TRUST Christ, and only Christ, to save you! Salvation
requires: REPENTANCE toward God, and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ, (Acts 20:21)
and the Bible promises: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and shalt believe [TRUST] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the
dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED. ... For whosoever SHALL CALL upon the name of the Lord
SHALL BE SAVED (ROMANS 10:9-13)."
IF You were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity [sinners];
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth." Mat. 13:41-42
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the
way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by me."
(John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."
(Rom. 5:8-9) THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:9
SEND THE LIGHT
P.O. Box 815
Fargo, ND 58107
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]