The Bible (God’s Word) is a message that needs to be heard. What follows is an overview of the main theme of the Bible and because it is God’s Word the message is from God.
A Message from God
Have you ever wondered if there is a God? Have you ever wondered, if God does exist, why you haven’t heard from him? Do you want to know what God has to say? Well, I have some good news for you; the Bible is a record of God’s word and activity.
The first thing we are told is that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 NIV). Because he is the creator, God has ownership rights; and everything he created is responsible to Him.
Because there is so much wrong in the world, many conclude that God doesn’t exist or doesn’t care. But God tells us why there is so much wrong in the world. The problems are because the people God created refused to live as God designed. They rejected God’s right as creator to establish the guidelines for living in the world he created. They wanted to determine right and wrong. God placed the people he created in the world and provided them everything they needed. There was only one command. God said: “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:17 NIV). God also told them what would happen if they ate: “…for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17 NIV).
Rejection of God’s right to determine right and wrong is what God calls sin. The people God created chose independence from God and decided for themselves what was good and evil. When they did, God says that they and all their descendants became sinners. This means everyone is a sinner: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Since sin is rejection of God’s right to determine right and wrong, then even the “good” things a person does are tainted by sin. God says: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6 NIV). It is clear from our experience that people prefer to determine for themselves what is right and wrong. God says that sin has separated us from him: “…your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you…” (Isaiah 59:2 NIV). The penalty or consequence of sin is death: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23 NIV).
God wants people to know that the guilt is real, the consequence of sin is real, and people can’t do anything to change their broken relationship with God. Only God, as the one who has been offended, can initiate restoring the relationship that has been destroyed by sin. However, because of God’s perfection in every aspect of his being including his justice, God can’t excuse, ignore, or overlook sin. Sin has to be punished! God’s plan, devised before the first act of his creation, involved a substitute. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, would become a man. As a man Jesus “…has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). During Jesus’s life he said: “…the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NIV). Jesus was to die. He did not deserve to die, because he had not sinned. In Jesus’ death he became our substitute; sin was placed on him: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree…” (1 Peter 2:24 NIV). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is the provision God used to bring reconciliation between God and man. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25 NIV). Since Jesus has paid the penalty for sin, God desires that people would be reconciled with him: “…be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV). You may be asking: but how? Jesus said to a man who came to see him “…no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again…” (John 3:3 NIV). This is radical and from the viewpoint of man impossible, but not with God. God wants you to know that “…to all who received him, to those who believed on his name he gave the right to become children of God – children… born of God” (John 1:12-13 NIV). Jesus said: “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 NIV). When the first followers of Jesus were asked, by those desiring to be released from the penalty of their sin, what had to be done, they answered: “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31 NIV).
This belief is more than knowledge of facts, it is a belief that involves the entire person (mind, will, and emotions). God wants you to know: “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10 &13 NIV). Your response of belief begins a relationship with the creator God that is filled with purpose and continued growth in the knowledge and grace of God.
This is all a demonstration of God’s love: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Please, if you have any questions, talk with the person who gave you this material or contact me, Pastor Steve Sabin, at First Baptist Church, 304 W. Center St., Blanchester, OH pastorsteve@firstbaptistblanchester. org
*all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) 1984 edition