January 10th, 2016
In Source we have been going through questions that the junior high's wrote down back in October. This past weekend we looked at this question, "If there are so many religions and not everyone believes in God, will all the good people go to hell or will they be saved by all of their good deeds even if they don't believe in God?"
We started by looking at sin and what sin is. After all, Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin. The usual answer that is given when we ask what sin is is that it is disobeying God. However, if this was the case then we could be saved by the Law. The Law shows us what sin is and by simply following the Law then we do not disobey God and therefore stop sinning. Romans 7:7-8 and 13 however says this, "Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "you must not covet." But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there was no law, sin would not have that power...But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It used God's good commands for its own evil purposes." The law points out that we are sinful and does not save us because it was never designed to save us. We can never fully obey the law nor can we be saved by it. Part of this is because sin is not fully about disobeying God.
Sin is "missing the mark" or not living the way God intended us to live. Disobeying is part of this but not necessarily disobeying the law. We only needed the law because of our disobedience. If it were not for the sin in the Garden of Eden we would never have needed the law, we also would never have needed a savior. But how did God intend us to live. This is shown in Genesis 1:26-30 and Genesis 3:12-19. We put together this chart to show what happened in the Garden:
In the end, eating the fruit was an action against how God created us. It was a failure to live up to how God intended us to live. He desires us to live in a healthy relationship with himself, each other, and with Creation. Obeying the law (if we could) would solve obedience but not trust or relationship with God. It would be obeying on our own efforts. The consequences led to our inability to live to this intention of God and that was the effect of sin. The only way to reverse this is Jesus.
John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." These words came right out of Jesus' mouth. The only way we can live the way God intended us to live, is through Jesus sacrifice and his Spirit poured out upon us. Timothy Keller says in his book Reasons for God, "Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from him (God)." We naturally gravitate to getting an identity from things other than God and it is only through Jesus sacrifice that we can get our identity in him. No good deeds can ever save us. Only Jesus.