Free to Share
Author requests article critique
Excerpt Taken from - Gravity True For You But Not For Me - Read it for free HERE.
Since we have discovered that the evidence supports the Bible as true, it only makes sense to investigate why Christians think it is so important, and how it applies to you personally. Before we start, you need to remember that truth is what it is, whether we like it or not. This truth might initially be offensive and you may not immediately understand or accept it. But what we are going to review next is the key to understanding the Gospel, which is the main message of the entire Bible.
The most common mistake that people make is thinking that their actions or good deeds are enough to get them into heaven. Most come to this conclusion through a comparison of themselves to other people, who they believe have committed bigger sins. If I stole once—so what? Someone else is a bank robber. If I lie, it’s not all the time. If I go twelve miles per hour over the speed limit, it’s okay because someone else is going twenty over. If I hide my income and lie to the IRS, others have done worse (and the IRS are crooks anyway).
Other times, people compare themselves to their own past behavior and how much they have improved. I used to lie and steal, but now I do not. I used to drink and drive, but not now. I don’t swear any more. People tend to live by the rule well at least I am not as bad as that guy to rationalize their sins. However, the Bible does not say that God grades on a curve by comparing us to others, His standard is perfection. Consider this analogy that describes why a diagnosis of your true condition before God is crucial:
Let’s say you went to the doctor and you leave the exam room with the impression that you are healthy. As you leave, the nurse approaches you and hands you several medications for cancer. Would you take them? I wouldn’t. Taking the medications without a diagnosis would be foolish.
The same truth applies to the gospel message, which can seem foolish without a true knowledge of our diagnosis before God. How do we obtain this diagnosis? In the following verse, the apostle Paul tells us. The knowledge of our sinful condition comes through our personal examination of God’s law, not by comparing ourselves to other people or how we behaved in the past.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20, emphasis added).
In essence, the law provides the diagnosis of our condition before a Holy and Perfect God. In James 1:23-25, God’s Law is compared to a mirror. We are concerned with our outward appearance, but God is concerned with what’s inside as evidenced by our conscience. His law acts as a mirror reflecting what’s in our hearts.
For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7, emphasis added).
The following test is based on God’s law and may seem harsh by humanity’s low standard, but it will clearly diagnose your moral condition before a Holy God.
Just imagine you are in the doctor’s office again. The correct diagnosis, and therefore your life, depends on your truthfulness. For your own benefit, set aside your pride, listen to your conscience and be totally honest before God. Admit to Him and yourself how many times you have broken the five commandments listed below (you can find the full Ten Commandments in Exodus 20).
Do You Think You Are a Good Person by God’s Standard?
1. How many lies have you told in your life?
2. Have you ever stolen something, even as a child? Hid income to avoid taxes, illegally downloaded music or movies, took items from work, been dishonest on an insurance claim?
3. Have you ever used God’s name in vain? Using God’s name frivolously or as curse word is a form of blasphemy.
4. Have you committed adultery? Jesus said that just looking with sexual lust is adultery in God’s eyes (Matt. 5:28). Ever done that?
5. Have you ever murdered anyone? Jesus said hate or strong dislike for someone qualifies as murder in God’s eyes (Matt. 5:21-22). Ever done that?
Consider also any secret thing you have done in your life that you know God cannot condone. God knows it all anyway.
Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known (Luke 12:2, emphasis added).
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4:13, emphasis added).
Once you clearly see and accept the truth of your condition before God, the Gospel will make sense.
God knows our thoughts.
By human standards, you and I might be able to say we are pretty good. But compared to God’s standard of perfection, my conscience tells me I am guilty of being a liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterer and a murderer at heart. What about you? If you have been honest, you know that God’s law has just diagnosed your guilty condition before Him. If you are still minimizing and justifying your actions, think for a moment about how wrong you know it is when someone lies to or steals from you. Or how crazy it is to think God would allow unrepentant liars, thieves, blasphemers, adulterers or murderers into heaven. Since you are guilty, would you be headed to heaven or hell? Most people I speak to will admit that they are headed for hell, but a few are resistant. I like to ask them, “Do judges send the guilty to Disneyland, or do they go to prison?” The Bible warns us that God’s prison is hell. Considering the solid evidence for God and the Bible, does it concern you that if you died today, the Bible states that you would end up in hell?
It should concern you greatly. Even though people have conjured up all kinds of jokes about the devil and movies about the big party in hell, the Bible warns of a place that is eternal, void of God’s presence and filled with evil and torment. We do not know exactly what it will be like, but Jesus warned us repeatedly to avoid hell at all costs. We do know that everyone there rejected the truth of God and will forever live with the tormenting knowledge of a choice they cannot change.
When you commit a crime, you give the law the right to apprehend and punish you. Right now, you are like a fugitive who has broken God’s law countless times. God is unavoidable in the end.
Most people have no objection to the thought of hell and punishment for murderers, rapists and serial killers. After all, who would expect God to welcome an unrepentant serial killer with open arms? However, hell for all unrepentant sinners makes sense, since the Bible states God is just and sin cannot go unpunished. It’s not the existence of hell that most people have a problem with; it’s who is going there. Yet these same people will agree it makes perfect sense that God’s standard would be much higher than human standards. Our conscience confirms this. By human standards, telling a lie is not that bad, but our God-given conscience disagrees. This is proof that God absolutely does not approve of telling lies. Conscience means with knowledge, so when we lie, we do it with knowledge that it’s wrong. Like it or not, God’s standard is much higher than ours. God is the Creator and we are the creation.
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter (Creator) be regarded as the clay (creation), that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding?” (Isa. 29:16).
In Luke 13:3 and 5, Jesus, offers only two options—repent or perish. In other words, He is saying that God’s perfect standard and the Gospel are the unchanging truth, whether we like it or not. He is advising us to repent and believe the Gospel, and He warns us if we do not, we will perish. If the Bible is telling the truth, it is not going to change because we believe something else, any more than the truth of gravity is going to change if we step off a cliff. We know that this is how truth works. God’s plan, described in His Word, is simply a true explanation of the way it is. The next six verses are Jesus speaking. I urge you to listen.
“… unless you repent, you will perish in the same way." (Luke 13:5, emphasis added).
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15, emphasis added).
Repent—Come to your senses accepting God’s truth as reality, humble yourself and turn to God, admit your sins, and throw yourself on God’s grace and mercy, found only in Jesus Christ.
“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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18, emphasis added).
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24, emphasis added).
“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24, emphasis added).
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:28-29, emphasis added).
Why Did Jesus Come?
Notice in the following list how clear the message is. Jesus came to save sinners, and we all qualify.
To save sinners - 1 Tim. 1:15
To call sinners to repentance - Mark 2:17
To seek and save the lost - Luke 19:10
To give Himself as a ransom for sinners – Matt. 20:28
To bear witness to the truth - John 18:37
To do the will of His Father - John 6:38
To be a Light in the world - John 12:46
To judge the world - John 9:39
To proclaim and preach the Gospel - Mark 1:38
To die on the cross - John 12:27
To fulfill the law – Matt. 10:34-35
To please the Father who sent Him - John 20:21
To pay for our sins - 1 John 4:10
To be the Savior of the world - John-3:16-18
To redeem us from the law’s curse – Gal. 4:4-5
To demonstrate God's love - 1 John 4:10
I have given the Good Person test directly to thousands of people and I want to respond to a few of the objections I occasionally receive.
1. God forgives everyone. The Bible does not teach that everyone is forgiven, only those who place their faith in Jesus.
2. I’m not a liar. I’m just human like everyone. But consider how many murders it takes to be a murderer or rapes to be a rapist? Only one, right? Since most people tell me they have told an innumerable number of lies, how many lies does it take to be a liar? Is there a certain number and a bell goes off? If you are still uncertain, what would you call me if I told you an obvious lie?
3. I don’t believe in hell. So what? The facts support the Bible. If it is true, it applies to you—whether you believe it or not.
4. I refuse to believe in a God who would threaten me with hell. If you were asleep and I pounded on your door to wake you and tell you your home was on fire, it would not be a threat, it would be a warning given because I feared for your life. In the same way, Jesus is not threatening us. Out of love He is warning us of the facts. He cares about our eternal destiny and He wants us to make the right choice. Stop resisting and run to Jesus, who loves you and can save you. Using an exaggerated form of speech called hyperbole to stress the seriousness of our decision, Jesus warns:
“And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire” (Matt. 18:9).
5. I do not want to believe in a God who would use fear to bring me to Him. The truth is, God loves you and therefore is warning you of what is absolutely certain to happen, if you ignore or reject His counsel. If I took you to the top of the Empire State Building and hung you over the railing of the observation deck, would you refuse to respect gravity because you felt fear when you looked down? There are some things it makes sense to fear, and this knowledge has often kept you alive in your life. The Bible actually says:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7).
Jesus goes against our natural inclination and out of love, warns us to not even fear men who can kill us, in comparison to God who can take our life and cast us into hell.
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:4-5, emphasis added).
Think about the respectful fear you have for gravity every time you carefully approach the edge of a cliff or look over the railing of a high balcony. This is an indication of how we need to respect the Creator of gravity, God. This is the type of fear Jesus is speaking of when He says to fear God, the Creator of the universe. The good news is that the Bible also says God loves you and desires to save you from the condemnation your sin has placed you under. If you do feel fear, let it motivate you. Run to God, the only one who can save and protect you.
6. It doesn’t bother me if I am headed to hell. The Bible speaks of eternal torment. Would you want to go to heaven if you had a choice? Of course you would. The Bible tells us the good news—God wants to save you.
Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
7. What about those who have never heard of Jesus? I can’t believe God would send someone to hell simply for not believing in Jesus.It is true that some may not have heard of Jesus, but we’ve learned that the Bible says God is obvious to everyone through creation and their conscience. Consider if you were up in a plane and chose to jump out without putting on a parachute. The primary reason you would die is not because you failed to put on a parachute, it’s because you violated the law of gravity. We have a similar situation with sin, since every person has violated God’s law written on their conscience. Our acts of lawbreaking are the reason the Bible says we are presently headed for hell. Jesus is the Savior—a parachute that God is freely offering to save us from the laws condemnation. If someone declines to put on the parachute) that’s their choice.
When we consider those who may have never heard of Jesus, this is one of those places where we need to let faith step in. We know that God’s nature is the pinnacle of morality as displayed in Jesus’ life and teachings. We can also see His unconditional love for us displayed in the ultimate sacrifice He made to save us. Therefore, Christians, by faith, believe God will deal with anyone that does not hear of Jesus in the fairest manner possible.
In addition, the Bible indicates that young children who die go to heaven. There are recent reports from the Middle East that 50 percent of the Muslims who are turning to Christ, are coming because of dreams and visions, indicating that God can reach people anywhere. http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/worldreports/595/01-2007.
Another possibility suggested by Dr. William Lane Craig of reasonablefaith.org, is that those who never hear, could have been placed where they are by God, because He knew they would reject Him even if they did hear. Since you are not one of those who have not heard, the best thing you can do is get right with God and then go and tell someone.
8. I cannot believe because someone I loved died not believing in Jesus and this would mean they went to hell. I understand how you feel; I also have loved ones who have died and whose destination I am unsure of. But if you had died first and experienced the reality of hell, like the man in the following story told by Jesus, wouldn’t you desire with all of your heart that no one else you knew would end up there? What about your family and friends who are still alive?
Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment (Luke 16:27-28).
9. The evidence makes me think, but I want to check things out some more before I decide. That’s great! I encourage you to do your own investigation right away. Just make sure that this is not another excuse to avoid God. You could be one of the 155,000 people that will die today.
10. God has blessed me with fame or fortune in this life. I am sure He is pleased with me as I am. This faulty logic leads to the conclusion that God is pleased with the wealthy criminals in the world, and not pleased with those who ignore wealth and sacrifice their lives to help others, or with Jesus and the disciples who were poor. Everyone needs to repent and trust Jesus. The act of humbling oneself and doing so can be much harder for the rich:
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:23-24).
11. But I Know I Am a Good Person
Some people insist passionately that they are good enough in God’s eyes. Usually these are people who have led a good life by human standards and therefore they are what most would consider good people. Naturally, they are very reluctant to think that they could be headed to hell. Based upon my interactions with thousands of people, those who continue to defend their own goodness have minimized God’s commandments in their minds and are continuing to compare themselves to other people. They tend to believe that God will weigh each person’s good actions against their bad, and in doing so He will find them acceptable. Unfortunately, this is not God’s standard. Resistance to this truth often comes from pride, which the Bible says is an abomination to God. Those who continue in their pride will never recognize their desperate need to accept God’s saving grace. I have been very prideful in my life, so hopefully what I have chosen to present next will help you see God’s position more clearly. Jesus distinctly points out the error of any person who believes he is good enough for God in the following parable.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).
The Pharisee believed he was good enough, so his pride led him to conclude that God must be satisfied with him, especially in comparison to other men. In contrast, the tax collector admitted his sin before God and threw himself on God’s mercy and grace. Jesus tells us it was the tax collector who humbled himself and was forgiven, not the man who would have been perceived as a good person by his peers.
Attempting to justify yourself before God requires you to judge others. To conclude that you are good enough (like the Pharisee), you need to know what is not good enough and what is best. When you insist that you are good enough, you saying some are not good enough. God, on the other hand, wants to save everyone from judgment and condemnation. God has leveled the ground at the foot of the cross by saying that all sin is wrong and all sinners need the Savior.
Some people who continue to maintain their goodness before God are unhappy with the possibility that people could lead a life of sin and then at the last second deceive God by saying a prayer. If this is you, don’t worry. God welcomes all into heaven, but a prayer that does not include humble, sincere repentance of the heart and true faith in Jesus will not fool God. This is simply another excuse to reject God’s offer. It does not matter what anyone else does, it only matters what you do, especially when it comes to God.
I will admit that it is much easier for those of us with a history of obvious sins to see our need for the Savior. This is exactly why prostitutes and thieves gravitated to Jesus, and those who thought they were good enough stayed away. But the truth is, even the best of us fall short. Here is an analogy:
Let’s suppose you entered a high jump contest being held at the Superdome. You are a very good athlete and feel positive about your chances. Then you notice Michael Jordan and other premier athletes who will be involved and your hopes sink. Everyone is then led out onto the playing field where the instructions are given. To everyone’s shock, you are told that the only way a person can win is to jump and touch the ceiling of the Superdome. Despondent, you glance over at Jordan and the other athletes and notice that they are downcast, just like you. No one can jump and touch the ceiling, no matter how good they are. It is impossible!
In the analogy, Michael Jordan and the other athletes are a parallel to the most righteous men alive and the ceiling is God’s perfect standard. Even the best can never reach it on their own power, as pointed out multiple times in the Bible. Here are Jesus’ words:
And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-3, emphasis added).
Those who think they are good enough would never imagine that the men who crucified Jesus could be forgiven and saved. But as Jesus was on the cross looking down at those mocking and insulting Him—those guilty of severely beating and crucifying Him—He clearly displayed His love for them by stating the opposite of what we would.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
People get it wrong and think it’s about being good enough, when in reality it’s about being lost and not knowing it. Jesus came on a rescue mission to seek and save the lost—every sinner. The only way you cannot be saved is to reject the Truth (Jesus) who is right before your eyes.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR, LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE AS A MEMBER OR ANONYMOUSLY
Read more articles by Michael Edwards or search for other articles by topic below.
Main Site Articles
Most Read Articles
Highly Acclaimed Challenge Articles.
New Release Christian Books for Free for a Simple Review.
NEW - Surprise Me With an Article - Click here for a random URL
God is Not Against You - He Came on an All Out Rescue Mission to Save You
...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
LEARN & TRUST JESUS HERE
The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.