Face the Challenge!
Have you ever told a lie? There’s no one around and we are not asking you to submit details that anyone would ever know about. So, in the privacy of your own home, what is your answer? If you search your mind deeply and are honest about it, you will admit the answer is, ‘Yes. I have told many lies’.
Sometimes we like to think of them as what we call ‘white lies’. By that we mean we lied in order to protect someone or bring about a greater good, but it’s still a lie.
Perhaps if you were asked to answer the question publicly you might be tempted to say no; well here is an appropriate response to such an answer: ‘You just have’!
Here’s another challenge. Have you ever taken anything that didn’t belong to you? Think right back into your childhood. Think about being at work and sneaking off earlier for lunch or coming back late. There might be someone who can honestly answer this question by saying, ‘In all sincerity, to the best of my knowledge, I have never knowingly taken anything that did not belong to me – even a childhood friends sweets’! But here’s another one alongside it: have you ever wanted to?
Even if you are a nearly unique individual who has never stolen anything – even paperclips, stamps or envelopes from work for personal use – all of us are guilty of coveting, that is longing for things that belonged to others.
‘So what? What does it matter? Nobody is perfect!’
It depends whose standards we use in assessing ourselves. Society today is of the opinion that there are no ultimate truths. You just have to find what feels right and comfortable to you and so long as you don’t hurt others in any big way that’s fine. So by that standard I can lie, steal and covet to a degree that is acceptable in the world we live in and still claim to be a good person.
But what if the Bible is true? It lays down standards that are far higher than the ones above. If it is true and God does not lie, then you and I have a problem. You see the Bible gives people certain commandments. People who have read the Bible usually talk about The Ten Commandments which are written down in Exodus chapter 20, in what we call the Old Testament part of the Bible. The eighth, ninth and tenth of those speak about not stealing, lying or coveting. Admittedly, the ninth speaks about not speaking falsely about another person, but in another place the Bible says quite simply, ‘Do not lie’ (Leviticus 19:11).
Now even if we were just guilty of breaking one of God’s commands we have missed the mark – in fact in the New Testament it says:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10 NIV)
If God were to compare your life with the laws He sets down in His Word, the Bible, how would you fair? By the standards of the Bible it doesn’t matter what you are, even the most selfless person will fall short.
It is vital that we understand this because death is not the end of life (John 5:28-
The result? Condemnation for all (Romans 5:18). How you and I live now will matter for all eternity. That is forever and ever.
Yet God is love and because He loves He has made a way for people to be saved from eternal condemnation and hell.
The answer that God has provided is His only Son the Lord Jesus Christ. He sent Him into the world to save His people from their sins. Jesus Christ did this by living a perfect life in their place. We might say He became their substitute, living in a way that is pleasing to God; keeping all His commandments. When Jesus died upon the cross He was offering his life in our place. God, who is a just God and therefore must punish sin, punished His Son in our place. This we might think of as a sacrifice. As such because Jesus was without sin it was an acceptable sacrifice for sin on behalf of those who faced judgment for sin.
How can we know that Jesus dealt with sin once and for all upon the cross?
He came back to life! Death could not hold Jesus. He said Himself before it took place that He would both die and come back to life (Mark 10:33-
What does this mean for us? Listen to what the Bible has to say:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners… (1 Tim 1:15)
We have seen that all of us no matter how good we, or others, may think we are, we all fall short. None of us are good enough to get to heaven by our own efforts. That is the bad news. Yet the wonderful good news for us is this: what we cannot do Jesus has done for us by dying in our place. Now everyone who turns from their old life of sin and believes in Him will be saved (Mark 1:15, John 6:29).
This is the message that dramatically changed the lives of the first followers of Jesus Christ. You can read about in them New Testament. This is the same message that has changed countless lives down through the ages. And this is the same message that has changed our lives at The Granary Evangelical Church. We know it has the power to change your life too.
Why not come and join with us to find out more?
Please use the Contact form if you have any questions.