by Bill Nugent
Just after the Nazi genocidal extermination of Jews during WW2 a man defiantly said “We’ve just witnessed the mass murder of six million Jews, how can you still believe in God!” Another man replied “After witnessing such mass murder how can you still believe in MAN!!!” Secular Humanism, the religion that regards man as supreme being has lost much credibility.
Almost any person you meet will admit that nobody is perfect. People are aware, in at least a vague sense, of human fallenness. In spite of this, however, most people think that when they die they will go to heaven and be in the presence of a perfect, holy God! All people need to know that their imperfections which are sins in God’s sight can’t just be swept under the rug. The first step in the redemptive process is for a person to admit that he or she is a sinner.
The Christian faith maintains that human beings are imperfect and in need of redemption. All human beings are sinners whether they be Nazi war criminals or cloistered nuns. British author G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) wrote that the sinfulness of man is the most empirically verifiable Christian doctrine. In other words the sinful state of man is so obviously apparent and commonly seen in our everyday lives that we can say that the proof of man’s sinful state is empirical (known by experience).
Prominent Welsh author Arthur Burt (1912- ) put it this way:“You’ve got to own it in order to disown it!” We have to first admit that we have sin in order to turn from sin. We must turn from sin in order to embrace the Savior Jesus Christ who died for our sins. Jesus took upon Himself the penalty that was due us when He suffered and died for our sins and rose again on our behalf. The Bible says: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross… For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18 NAS).
One man said that if he had just one hour to speak to a man on his deathbed he would spend 55 minutes of that hour convincing him that he is a sinner. He would spend only the last five minutes leading him to the Savior.
God is holy. The Bible teaches that holiness is the most prominent of God’s attributes. The Bible in Isaiah 6:3 says : “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts.” The way that words are emphasized in the ancient biblical Hebrew language is by repetition. The word “holy” is repeated, not twice but three times for emphasis!
The Bible also teaches that God is merciful, God is almighty and God is love. Nowhere does the Bible say that God is love, love, love or God is almighty, almighty, almighty. Only holiness is emphasized by being repeated three times. All aspects of God’s character relate to God’s holiness which is of first importance. God’s love is holy love. His power is holy power and His mercy is holy mercy.
Therefore, to stand before God we must partake of His holiness. We can’t make ourselves holy. We must admit that we are sinners and then turn to Jesus and ask for forgiveness on the basis of His death and resurrection on our behalf. Holiness is then imputed to us as a gift from God. When we turn from our sins and embrace the Savior we receive “abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17).
It is only in this state of grace that we can expect to enter heaven after we die. In this state of grace we are also enabled to do good works with heart felt sincerity. The Bible makes it plain that we can’t earn salvation by good works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” We receive salvation first and then once saved we are empowered to do good works to honor God and serve people.
I’m a post-retirement specialist. Many investment advisors show people how to save up for retirement. I show people how to prepare for what comes after retirement. You may not live long enough to retire but you will live long enough to die!!! I urge you therefore to prepare for the afterlife. Turn to Jesus who came in fulfillment of many prophesies. The Father sent Him to die for our sins and rise again on our behalf. Pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart today!