Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Bad News

In the fourth book in the New Testament, known as the Gospel of John, we hear about a religious leader who came to Jesus at night seeking to know more about Him and His message. But before he could even ask what was truly on his heart, Jesus answered Him by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). In this one statement, Jesus gave Nicodemus the necessary condition for going to heaven. He said, “unless one is born again.” You cannot go to heaven when you die “unless” this occurs first. He stated it again in verse 5, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” To be born again, Jesus says, you have to be born “of water,” that is, you have to be spiritual cleansed of your sin, and you have to be born of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is saying there must be a spiritual renewal and cleansing in order to go to heaven. And for that to take place, Nicodemus needed to stop trusting in himself and his accomplishments to get him to heaven but in Christ who alone was to die in his place for His sin. Jesus tells Nicodemus in verses 14-15, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” But, according to verse 19, man has two problems. First, he will not believe on his own. And second, verse 19 says, he loves “the darkness rather than the Light.” In other words, he loves his sin. So what can man do?

First, he needs to see he is a sinner who loves his sin.

Romans 3:10-18 says, “as it is written, "There is none  righteous , not even  one; 11 There is none  who understands , There is none  who seeks  for God; 12 All  have turned  aside , together  they have become  useless ; There is none  who does  good , There is not even  one." 13 "Their throat  is an open  grave , With their tongues  they keep deceiving ," "The poison  of asps  is under  their lips"; 14 "Whose  mouth  is full  of cursing  and bitterness"; 15 "Their feet  are swift  to shed  blood, 16 Destruction  and misery  are in their paths, 17 And the path  of peace  they have not known." 18 "There is no  fear  of God  before  their eyes.” Jesus said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:18-19). The history of sin takes us back to the first book of the Bible—Genesis. We are told in Genesis 2:16-17 that After God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, He “commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” In chapter 3 of Genesis we read in verses 6-7: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” This is what the Bible calls sin or disobedience to God’s specific command. Romans 5:12 sums it up by saying, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The consequences of what Adam and Eve did that day was passed to every person who would ever be born. But death itself was not the only thing passed to every person, also the sin nature. Every person would now have the knowledge of evil which would manifest in “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, [and] blasphemies” (Mat.15:19).  And even the good that man could express would be considered as “filthy rags” in God’s sight.

In Exodus chapter 20, God gave His Law, the Ten Commandments, to man to follow. But because of man’s sin nature, he could not live up to what God commanded. For example, the Law says: (Ex.20:3-17):

  • “You shall have no other gods before Me,” but man fashions a god after his own likeness.
  • The Law says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image,” but man bows down before everything his heart desires.
  • The Law says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” but man uses God’s name as a filthy four letter curse word.
  • The Law said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” but man refuses to rest one day a week and worship God.
  • The Law said, “Honor your father and mother,” and “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” But man says, “'Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’– then he need not honor his father or mother.’Thus [he has] made the commandment of God of no effect by [his] tradition” (Mat.15:4-6).
  • The Law said, “You shall not murder,” but Jesus said that “whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Mat.5:22).
  • The Law said, “You shall not commit adultery” but Jesus said “that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mat.5:28).
  • The Law said, “You shall not steal,” but man takes what is not his and uses it for his own purposes.
  • The Law said, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” but man lies and slanders because his tongue is set on fire by hell itself.
  • The Law said, “You shall not covet” but man lusts after what his neighbor possesses.
Because of man’s sin nature, he has broken every one of these commandments and is guilty of being an idolatrous, blasphemous, lying, thieving, adulterer at heart. And God says he will not be innocent on the day of judgment. Because Adam’s sin was passed to every person, they will be given the wages of their sin—death (Rom.6:23). And if the picture of the human dilemma was not bad enough, Paul said in Ephesians 2:1 that because of Adam’s sin everyone is therefore “dead in trespasses and sin.” Spiritual death not only speaks of our nature but also of our inability to do what is pleasing to God. It paints a helpless situation with no where to go, no where to hide, and no remedy. And if the Bible stopped right there none would have any hope. But praise God it doesn’t stop there. God has provided a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ! We will talk more about the Savior God sent in our next post.

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