This is an important question, isn't it?
If You Want to Answer it Correctly
Then You Must Think About Several Things
Be sure that you know what God is like. God created you and is your rightful owner. God is loving, merciful, and kind. But we often do not think about the fact that God is holy. The Bible says that "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) This means that God is perfectly holy. God always does what is right, and His laws are perfect. God never makes a mistake. God never approves of or ignores evil. Because God is holy, He hates all sin. (Psalm 5:5) Anything that is sinful or wrong cannot even come near God -- it would be burned away by His holiness. The Bible says that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." (Habakkuk 1:13; "iniquity" is another word for "sin"). God is so holy that the Bible compares Him to a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29)
God's holiness is an awesome thing. The Bible says, "who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For thou only art holy." (Revelation 15:4) This pure, holy God who hates sin is your Judge. The Bible says, "Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?" (1 Samuel 6:20)
God's holiness is the opposite of our sinfulness.
Everybody admits that they are not perfect. We all know that we have done some bad things in our lifetime. But most people do not understand what the Bible teaches about sin.
What is sin?
The Bible says that "Sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4). In other words, sin is rejecting or disobeying God's laws. We sin any time we do not do what God wants us to do. If we disobey God's laws, then we sin. If we fail to do the good things God commands us to do, then we sin. Some people think sin is only really horrible things like murder, adultery, getting drunk, or robbing a store. These are sins, but the Bible says that we sin when we disobey any of God's laws. The Bible also says that our attitudes and thoughts can be sinful -- so things like pride, lust, selfishness, greed, and hatred are sins, too.
Here are a Few of God's Laws
Have You Broken Any of Them?
"Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22:37) This means that God must be the most important thing in your life.
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Matthew 22:39) This means that it is not enough to put up with other people. God commands us to love them.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." (Exodus 20:7) This means that we cannot use God's name in a joking way or to curse with.
"Thou shalt not steal." (Exodus 20:15) Even stealing little things is a sin.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (Exodus 20:16) Telling lies and deceiving people are sins.
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old, Thou shalt not kill and whosoever shall kill will be in danger of judgment; but I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment." (Matthew 5:21-22) This means that feeling hatred or strong anger toward someone is usually a sin.
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28) This means that lust is a sin.
If you did one sin every day, in ten years that would add up to 3,650 sins. In forty years, you would be guilty of 14,600 sins. And this is if you did only one sin a day!
This is why the Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The Bible also says "there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7:20) Is there such a thing as a righteous man who never sins? The Bible says, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar." (1 John 1:10) It is true that no one is perfect. But the Bible teaches that we are not even close to being perfect! All of us have broken God's laws many, many times. All of us are guilty sinners.
Stop and think for a moment. How many sins have you done in your lifetime so far? 100? 1,000? 10,000? More than that?
WHY DO WE SIN SO MUCH?
The Bible says we sin over and over again because we have a sinful heart (or, as some people call it, a sinful nature).
Just like it is the nature of a fish to swim and it is the nature of a bird to fly, it is the nature of a human to disobey God and reject His laws. This is the source of our sin problem. Deep down inside our heart, we really want to sin. We like to sin. That is why we do it so much. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Have you ever noticed that you do not have to teach a child how to lie or how to be selfish? They will do that on their own! That is because we are all born with a sinful heart. The Bible says that our sins (things like evil thoughts, lying, stealing, cursing, greed, lust, and pride) come "from within, out of the heart of men." (Mark 7:21-22)
Because we have a sinful heart, we refuse to let God be the Boss of our lives. We do not want anyone -- including God -- telling us what to do. We want to live our life the way we want to. We want to be the boss of our lives. We might believe in God, and we might even go to church or get baptized or sing songs about God, but we do not want Him to run our life. Either we do not want to obey God, or we will only obey God when it is easy. We do not care about God. We all have this attitude, and it comes from our sinful heart.
God created us and is our rightful owner. He demands that we love Him, obey Him, and live the way that He wants us to live. It is a serious sin if we will not let God be the Boss of our lives and if we insist on running our lives the way we want to. If we say, "God, You won't be my Boss! You won't tell me what to do! I'll do whatever I want to with my life, and I'll live my life the way I please!", isn't this just as serious as slapping God in His face?
Do you have a sinful heart? Is God the boss of your life?
Because God is Holy
He Must Judge All Sin
God cannot ignore our sins or pretend like our sins never happened. Because we have broken God's laws, we deserve God's punishment. Look at these Bible verses:
"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
"God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalm 7:11)
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)
"The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)
A holy God must judge sin. If God allowed our sin to go unpunished, He would be saying that sin is okay. God will punish all sin because He is a God of justice.
We all know that this is fair. What if a murderer stood before a human judge and the judge knew that the murderer was guilty. What would you think if the judge just let the murderer go free? He would not be a very good judge, would he? He would be a bad judge! A good judge must punish people who are guilty -- he cannot just forget or ignore their crimes. In the same way, a holy God must judge all sin. When God punishes people for their sins, He is only giving them what they deserve.
The Bible says "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) You will stand before God one day. You have broken God's laws many times. You deserve God's punishment. The Bible uses the word "wrath" (which means "anger") to describe God's punishment. "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." (Romans 1:18) "The day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the sinners out of it." (Isaiah 13:9) When you disobey God and reject His laws, the Bible says you "treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." (Romans 2:5)
If God judged you for your sins, what would you deserve?
Here Are Some Common Mistakes That
People Make About Heaven
Some think, "Yes, I have sinned, but I've done many good things in my life. My good deeds will make up for my bad deeds. I'm good enough to get into Heaven." This kind of thinking is wrong. The Bible never says that good deeds can pay for sins. Only the shedding of blood takes away sins. (Hebrews 9:22) The Bible says "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6) This means that our good deeds are not very good when we compare them to God's holiness. Our good deeds still come out of a sinful heart that refuses to let God be our Boss. That is why they are not better than "filthy rags." When the Bible says "a man is not justified by the works of the law," (Galatians 2:16) it means that our good deeds or good works can never take away our sins and get us into Heaven.
Some think, "I'm not really bad. I'm not as bad as some people. So God won't judge me too hard. I'm good enough to get into Heaven." But God does not judge based on how we compare to other people. He judges by how we compare to His perfect standards of holiness. Maybe you are more kind or more honest or more religious than most people, but that does not matter. God will punish all sin. You need to ask yourself: Have I broken God's laws? Have I refused to let God be the Boss of my life? What do my sins and disobedience deserve?
Some think, "I'm doing the best I can. God will let me into Heaven because I'm doing my very best. And I'm going to try harder." The Bible never says that God will let you into Heaven if you do the best you can or if you try harder. Doing your best and trying harder can never take away sins. But have you really done the best you can? Do you always love God with all your heart? Do you serve God as much as you should? Do you do all the good things that you know you should do? None of us have done our very best!
Many think they are saved because they belong to a certain church, because they were baptized, because they attend church regularly, because they pray, or because they have had religious feelings. The Bible does not teach this. Things that we do, like joining a church or getting baptized can never take away our sins. Only God can take away sins!
You understand sin and God's holiness correctly when you realize that you can never be good enough to deserve to get into Heaven.
King David was a man in the Bible that God was pleased with. David knew that he was a sinful man. (See Psalm 51) David also knew that God is a holy Judge who hates sin. David prayed, "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified." (Psalm 143:2) David knew that he would be in big trouble if God judged him for his sins and gave him what he deserved. "If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Psalm 130:3)
Your sins are so many, and God is so holy, that you could never be good enough to get into Heaven. You can never earn or deserve God's forgiveness. There is nothing you can do to get into Heaven because you cannot erase or get rid of your sins. You have broken God's laws many times. You have refused to let God be the Boss of your life. Because of your sins, God's wrath is upon you. You are in big trouble! If you ever stand before God and He judges you for your sins, you will get what you deserve: everlasting punishment in Hell.
Has the fact that you have disobeyed God many times ever really bothered you?
These are important questions because you can only come to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness if you know that you are a guilty sinner. Jesus said, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Luke 5:31-32; see also Luke 18:9-14) Jesus is saying that you must realize how serious your sin problem is before you can be forgiven. If you are not convinced that you are a guilty, lost sinner, then Jesus will not forgive you.
God Himself Made a Way
For Our Sins to be Forgiven
God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to earth 2,000 years ago. Jesus was both God and man at the same time. Jesus did many miracles while on earth. He taught us how God expects us to live. Jesus never sinned and always obeyed all God's laws perfectly. Most importantly, Jesus came to earth to die for our sins.
Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross and crucified. As the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, the sins of all God's people were put on Him. Jesus Christ bore or carried our sins in His body. The Bible says that "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities ... and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:5-6; "iniquity" means "sin") The Lord Jesus "His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree." (1 Peter 2:24, Galatians 1:3-4)
As Jesus hung on that cross, God poured out His holy punishment for sin on Him. Jesus did not deserve that punishment because He never broke God's laws. But He was carrying our sins, and God gave Jesus Christ the punishment that we deserved. He became our Substitute who died in our place. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all the sins ever committed by God's people. "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." (1 Peter 3:18)
This proves how much God loves us. The Bible says, "God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8; "commendeth" means "demonstrates" or "proves")
Jesus's death was a sacrifice for our sins. Because Jesus is God, His sacrifice was big enough to fully pay for all those sins. Jesus did not just pay for some sins -- He paid for all the sins of God's people. Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of God's holiness and justice. That is why the Bible says that Jesus "taketh away the sin of the world," that Jesus "shall save His people from their sins," and that Jesus is "able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him." (John 1:29, Matthew 1:21, Hebrews 7:25)
Jesus did not stay dead. God raised Him back to life, proving that Jesus fully paid for all the sins of God's pelple. He then returned to Heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ will come back to earth some day to judge the world. Though we cannot see Him, Jesus Christ is alive today. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:16) The Lord Jesus Christ today has all power in Heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18) The Bible says that "Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." (Romans 14:9) Lord means Master, Boss, or Owner. Jesus Christ is our Savior, but He is also our Lord. "God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11) People today who disobey, ignore, or reject Jesus Christ are rebelling against the Lord and Ruler of the Universe! You must bow before Jesus and give Him your whole life!
Do you remember the two parts to our sin problem? First, we have done many sinful things. Second, we have a sinful heart or nature that causes us to keep on sinning. The Lord Jesus Christ takes care of both parts of our sin problem. This is what the Bible means by "being saved" or "salvation." It is true that God saves people from Hell, but being saved also means being freed or rescued from living a life of sin.
First, all your sins can be forgiven. Because God fully punished sin when He poured out His punishment on Jesus Christ, there is no need to punish sin again. That is a debt or a bill that is already paid. "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) Second, the Lord Jesus can change your sinful heart. This change makes you want to live a holy life -- you do not want to sin and you want to please God in everything you do. Jesus can make you into a new person! This is why the Bible says the "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Coming to Jesus Christ to be rescued from your sins produces big changes. All your sins are forgiven. You receive a new heart. God accepts you as a child in his family and becomes a Father to you. You are justified, or declared righteous, in God's sight. It is like starting your life all over again -- or, as the Bible says, being born again. Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)
Has your sin problem been taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you know that you are totally forgiven of all your sins?
There is nothing that you can do to have your sins forgiven and to receive a new heart. You do not earn God's forgiveness by being good. The Bible teaches that God gives this as a gift to guilty, undeserving sinners like you and me. Being saved or rescued from your sins requires God's grace. Grace means "blessing or gifts that someone does not deserve." The Bible says, "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." (Ephesians 2:8-9) It also says that through Jesus Christ "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Ephesians 1:7) The Bible also says that we are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24; "justified" means "declared right with God") How does someone become a Christian? Only through God's grace.
The Bible says there are two conditions we must meet to receive this grace.
We Must REPENT of Our Sins
God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30) The Lord Jesus Christ said, "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3,5) "Repent" means to be so sorry for your sins that you stop doing them. When you repent, you realize that your sins are evil and you feel bad about them. (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) Someone who repents hates their sins; they do not keep on doing them! When you repent, you must make two turns: you must turn away from your sins and you must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ to obey Him. Our biggest sin is that we do not want God to be the Boss of our life. To repent means to turn around and go the opposite way: we now make the Lord Jesus the Boss of our life and we live the way He wants us to.
Is there some sin in your life that you will not give up? Repenting is a matter of ALL or NOTHING. If you will not stop doing your sins, then you cannot be forgiven. God only saves people who really repent.
Jesus said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24) This is what repentance is: we say "no" to our old way of living and our sins, and we follow Jesus Christ. Our old life of disobeying God is over.
Do you feel so sorry for your sins that you will stop doing them?
We Must Have FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ
"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) You must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to rescue people from their sins, and that His death on the cross completely pays for sin. You must believe that Jesus Christ has the power to save you from your sins. You must trust the Lord Jesus Christ to take away your sins and change your heart.
When you sit in a chair, you trust that chair to hold you up. You prove you have that trust when you put your full weight on the chair. If you sit on the chair but hold on to something else, then you prove that you do not really trust the chair. In the same way, you must trust or put your full weight on the Lord Jesus Christ. You must rely on Him and Him alone for the forgiveness of your sins. If you think that God will let you into Heaven because you were baptized, or because you belong to a certain church, or because you are living a good life, then you are not really trusting Jesus Christ. All your hope must be in Him. You cannot hold on to anything else.
It is not enough to believe the facts about Jesus Christ. The devil believes all the facts about Jesus Christ, but he is not forgiven. (James 2:19) What is the difference between the Devil's faith and the faith that results in salvation? Real faith is always mixed with repentance Real faith means you surrender to Jesus Christ. If you have real faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will love Him, you will obey Him, and you will live the way He wants you to live.
Some years ago, a preacher talked with a young girl about giving her life to the Lord Jesus Christ. The girl admitted that she was not a Christian but said that she wanted to become one. The man asked her, "Why do you want to be saved?" The girl answered, "Please, sir, I don't want to live a life of sin." That girl had the attitude of a person who is ready to be saved: they do not want to disobey God any longer.
If you have ever had a checking account, you know what a "blank check" is. Signing a "blank check" is dangerous, isn't it? If you sign a check but do not fill in the amount, someone else can fill in any amount they want to (and it might be all the money you have!) Repenting of your sins and having faith in Jesus Christ is like giving God a "blank check" with your life. You say, "God, You take my whole life. I will do whatever You want me to do. You are my Boss from now on." That is what real faith is!
God's forgiveness is a free gift. If you repent and have faith in Christ, however, you will have to change many things. The first thing the Apostle Paul said after God saved him was "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6) If God saves you, that will be your attitude. You will have to give up things you have done all your life and begin doing things that you have never done. You must live your life the way God wants you to, which means you must live according to His rules. (Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 1:15-16) You must find a church where the Bible is taught and be a faithful part of that church. (Hebrews 10:25, 1 John 3:14) Friends and family members may laugh at you. Being a real Christian is not easy. Jesus Christ said that coming to Him will cost a great deal. He said, "Whosoever he is of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be My disciple." Before you come to Christ, you must "count the cost" -- be sure you are willing to stick it out! (Luke 14:25-33) This is what true faith includes. But it is worth it because the Lord Jesus Christ is worth it. Jesus is worthy of all you could ever give Him. Jesus Christ deserves your whole life.
Will you repent of your sins?
Will you have faith in Jesus Christ?
Will you give God a "blank check" with your life?
Being saved from your sin is something between you and the Lord Jesus Christ. No church or preacher can save you. You will have to talk to Jesus Christ yourself. There are no "magic words" or special prayers that you should pray. You must seriously, honestly cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot see Him, but he is alive today and hears you. Jesus Christ has all power in Heaven and earth; He (and He alone) has the power to save you from your sins!
If you are serious, you can be sure that the Lord Jesus Christ will hear you. The Bible says "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) The Lord Jesus Christ said, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37; "in no wise" means "by no means" or "never")
If You Reject Jesus as Your Lord and Savior
Then You Will One Day Face Him as your Judge
We will all die one day and stand before God. The Bible says that God's wrath or anger is upon those people who refuse to obey the Lord Jesus Christ and refuse to trust Him for the forgiveness of sins. (John 3:36) Those people will face an everlasting punishment in Hell. (Revelation 20:11-15, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) God's people -- those who repent of their sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ -- will live forever with God in His holy Heaven. (Revelation 21:1-22) But everyone will live forever in either Heaven or Hell.
What would happen if you died tonight and stood before God for Judgment?
If God judged you for your sins, where would you spend eternity?
Nearly 3,000 years ago, God said, "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13) That is a great promise! If we really search for the Lord with all our heart -- if we are really serious -- then we will find Him. But if we do not search for Him with all our heart -- if we are not serious -- then we will not find Him.
Isn't it time you really got serious about God?
If you believe that God is real, then shouldn't He be the most important thing in your life?
Few things in this world are really a matter of life and death. Your relationship with God is that serious. Today is the day that you need to repent of your sins and trust Christ to save you. You may not have tomorrow.
How Can I Know if I am a Christian Already?
Religious feelings and miraculous experiences are not enough. Walking the aisle and shaking the pastor's hand does not make someone a Christian. Many people who have been baptized are not real Christians. Membership in the best church in the world does not make someone a Christian. "Praying through" on a mourner's bench does not necessarily mean that you are saved. You can know many things about the Bible and not be a Christian.
The Bible tells us how we can know whether or not we are really saved. The book of 1 John contains several "tests" that show whether God has truly saved someone or not.
Here are a few of the Bible's tests:
- "By this we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, "I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:3-4)
Real Christians keep the Lord's commandments. Of course, Christians do sin. But real Christians are determined to obey God in all areas of their life. People who are not Christians frequently disobey God. They often do not care about God's commandments.
- "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." (1 John 5:3; "grievous" means "burdensome" or "difficult")
Real Christians want to obey God. They enjoy obeying God. People who are not saved find it very difficult to obey the Lord's commands.
- "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)
Real Christians live for the future world, not this one. They reject many things that this world does. People who are not Christians find it very hard to give up the joys and pleasures of this world. When given a choice, non-Christians choose the world instead of the things that God approves of.
- "He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2:17)
Real Christians do or obey God's will, which means that God is the Boss of their life. People who are not Christians are their own bosses and they run their own lives. People who are lost often disobey God's will or simply do not care about God's will.
- "He that doeth righteousness is righteous .... He that committeth sin is of the devil ... whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin .. whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God." (1 John 3:7-10)
Real Christians do righteous things over and over again. The pattern of his life is one of holiness. Someone who is not a Christian does wrong things over and over again. The pattern of his life is one of disobedience to God's laws.
- "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." (1 John 3:14)
Real Christians love other Christians. That is why real Christians are always faithful members of their local church. Christians enjoy being with other Christians, so they see going to church as a privilege and not a duty. Non-Christians either do not attend church or go to church only once in a while.
- "By this we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit whom He hath given us." (1 John 3:24)
Real Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them. This is why they find spiritual things interesting and they enjoy studying the Bible. People who are not saved do not have the Holy Spirit. The Bible is often boring to them and hard to understand.
- "Whatever is born of God overcommeth the World." (1 John 5:4)
Real Christians have victory over sin. They can break bad habits and see real change in their life as they pursue holiness. People who are not Christians often cannot break bad habits.
Do You Pass These Tests?
Be honest. If you do not pass these Bible tests, then you probably are not a Christian and have never been saved. Jesus said there will be many on the Day of Judgment who think they are Christians but are not. He said, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father, Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23) What is the mark of someone who is really saved? Jesus said that he "doeth the will of My Father , who is in Heaven." In other words, he obeys God and lives a life that is pleasing to God.
Make sure that you really are a Christian!