Who Is God?
Holy God Came Down
Who is God? What is He like? How can I know Him personally? These are the most essential questions in life. Thankfully, God has provided the answers.
His work in creation reveals that He is powerful, capable, and greater than us. His Word declares that He is holy and just and therefore we can trust that He will ultimately judge and punish evil. His act of coming to earth shows that He loves us deeply and chooses to identify with us.
“Holy God” tells us that He is perfectly pure and perfectly just. “Came Down” reminds us that He so desired to have a personal relationship with us that He took on a human body there in a manger in Bethlehem.
But why did He have to “come down?” Aren’t we all already related to God? The answer to the second question is no, and that is precisely why He had to “come down.”
To Take The Punishment For Our Sin
The reality is that mankind is separated from God by sin. Sin makes us unholy and utterly incompatible with holy God. Sin is simply this: 1) Our natural desire to live our own way instead of God’s and 2) The result of that desire, which is the breaking of His laws.
At this point, most protest and say something like “that’s not me, I respect God and I’m a pretty good person.” However, when we look a little more closely at our lives in comparison to His Ten Commandments, we find a different reality. For example, how many lies (including partial truths and exaggerations) would you say you have told in your lifetime? If you’re honest (irony acknowledged), you will admit that like the rest of us you have told far too many to remember. How about this? One commandment says do not kill, but Jesus went further. He said that if you have had anger in your heart toward someone, He sees that as murder too. Why? Because God doesn’t just look at our actions. He also sees our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts.
Other questions might include: have you ever used the Lord’s name disrespectfully, disobeyed your parents, taken anything that didn’t belong to you (an answer from someone else’s test, candy as a child, sick days when you weren’t sick, etc…), had impure thoughts about members of the opposite sex? Now, what if we added up all of the times that you have broken the law in thought, desire, or action since you were born, listed them on paper, and handed them over to the judge of all the universe, God? Would you be innocent or guilty? Crazy question, huh? Only someone who had a very selective (or very bad) memory could claim to be innocent. Of course we are all guilty! We have sinned against an eternal God and we deserve eternal punishment. We have a debt (a fine) we cannot pay. That is the dilemma. How can a perfectly pure God have a relationship with lawbreakers without compromising His character?
But, here is the good news! Jesus did not just come down to identify with us; He came to pay our fine and to make it possible for us to have a relationship with God. He was totally innocent, but He offered up His life in our place. God the Father poured out our punishment on Jesus. He paid our eternal fine. That is what the Cross was all about. It proved that: 1) God is holy and just and He will not simply overlook the fine that sin deserves and 2) God loves us beyond our imagination because He offered His own Son to take our place and pay the debt we owed. What an amazing thing!
But that’s not the end of the story. How do we know that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted by God the Father as sufficient payment for our sin? And, if it is acceptable, how can His payment be credited to our account so that our sins can be forgiven?
And Offer New Life
God the Father chose an incredible way to show that He accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as sufficient payment for our sin. He raised Him from the dead! Jesus died for our sins and was buried in a guarded tomb. His enemies, and even His followers, who were scared and confused, thought it was the end.
But three days later, when they went to visit His grave, He wasn’t there. Angels announced that He had risen from the dead! Then, for many days, He visited, ate with, and taught, His disciples. He told them the way that His payment could be credited to their accounts. He shared with them the offer of a new life. A life that was no longer a slave to self and sin. A life that was forgiven and in an unbreakable love relationship with God. Jesus alone is Savior and Lord.
His death was accepted as payment for our sin so that we might be made acceptable to God. What an offer! But that still leaves us with one very crucial question . . . “what do I have to do for this offer to become mine?”
To Those Who Trust In Him…
Let’s be clear. There is no work you can do to earn this gift of forgiveness and life that Jesus offers. So simply trying to improve your behavior, become more religious, or kick some bad habits, will not work. If there were a particular church you could join, good deeds you could accomplish, or religious observances you could follow that would satisfy God’s justice then He would not have had to come and die on the cross.
Our works could never be enough, but there is something the Bible tells us we must do for forgiveness to be ours. That is to, by faith, surrender our lives into the hands of Jesus. Faith is more than just saying we think He is real; it is trusting Him to take control of our lives, to love us, and to lead us through this world and into eternity in Heaven.
Is that the desire of your heart? Do you want forgiveness…a fresh start…a new life? The Bible says that happens when you by faith repent (turn away from your sin and self and toward God) and trust yourself to Him (placing your life in His hands and at his disposal).
If that is your heart’s desire, you can express it in a prayer to God like this:
Dear Jesus, I admit that I have been living my own way and that I am guilty of breaking Your laws and Your heart. I deserve punishment. But, I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave to pay my fine and make me acceptable in Your eyes. Today I turn away from my sin and I trust my life to You as my Savior and my Lord. Thank You Jesus for Your Love and Grace. Amen!
If you just gave your life to Christ, awesome!!! But what now?
1. Be baptized. Being immersed in water and raised back up is a public declaration that your old life is dead and buried and that you have a new life in Christ.
2. Become involved in a local Church where the Bible is preached and they can help you to start living out loud. That means letting your life S.P.E.A.K. Christ.
S = study the Bible and live what it says
P = pray spiritually, focusing on the things God focuses on
E = evangelize, tell others how they can be forgiven and know God too
A = actively contribute your time, skills and resources to reaching others
K = keep growing in love for God and others