There is one God who exists eternally in three separate persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 3:17; 17:5). God is a personal being who created everything for His own pleasure and glory. The galaxy, which includes the earth and everything in it, is a testimony of His creative genius (Ps 19:1-3).The chief of all of God’s creation is mankind -who are made in God's image.
We are created for one purpose - to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7). We do so by loving Him, serving Him, praising Him, worshiping Him, and obeying Him. If there is a God, then He is the creator of all things. And if God created all things, then it makes sense that we owe the Creator our lives and allegiance.
Living a worshipful life implies relating perfectly to God. We are called to be holy, just as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). God’s standard of holiness is not some arbitrary ways that He sets for humans in order to make their lives difficult, or something that He cannot attain to Himself. This perfect standard is a reflection of His very nature, because God is entirely righteous, good, and pure.
This poses a frightening situation. When we look around, we see that nobody is holy. Everyone who has ever lived has failed to meet the standard. Everyone has strayed away not just once, but countless times. When we break God’s Law, we sin against God.
What does sin look like in action? The Bible describes sins as evil deeds that we have done in thought, word, and deed, which even encompasses things that we support or encourage (ex. abortion, euthanasia, orgies, gay marriage, false religions). There are also sins of omissions, which are things that we fail to do, such as ignoring the plight of the poor or speaking up on behalf of the innocent.
God’s Law aims to do one thing: expose the moral bankruptcy of mankind. The Bible makes the case for universal human depravity when it says that all are enslaved to sin (Jn 3:19; 8:34). They do not understand the commands of God (1 Cor 2:14) and suppress the truth about God in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18), choosing instead to remain in the filth of their iniquity and the lusts of the world (1 Jn 2:16).
When a person breaks God’s Law, there are eternal consequences. The Bible states that the guilty will ultimately pay for their sins by answering to God Himself on a Day of Judgment.
Revelation 20:11-15 describes the Day of Judgment as the Great White Throne Judgment. Here, all unbelievers who have ever lived will stand before God to be tried for their sins (Acts 17:31). His angel will open books that will contain every sin committed by the guilty (Rev 20:12). The book is their criminal record to prove their guilt, and so they are without excuse on that day. Those who die in their sins will spend eternity in the lake of fire. Hell is a place described as outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 25:41). There the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched (Mk 9:48).
The ultimate demonstration of God's love is His plan to redeem undeserving sinners from judgment and restore them back to Him. Some 2,000 years ago, God the Son came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He was the long prophesied Messiah spoken of by the many Jewish prophets in the Old Testament. He was in the womb of a woman named Mary and was virgin birthed. He did not have a human father, but was conceived by God the Spirit, which means Jesus possessed both a fully human and a fully divine nature.
Jesus lived a sinless life (Matt 3:12; Lk 4:18-19). This means that Jesus kept the Law perfectly. He fulfilled God’s standard and was entirely pleasing to the Father. He was the only man to have ever fulfilled God’s command in Matthew 5:48, “you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Law of God (often called His active obedience) qualified Him to be our substitute. Jesus was a blameless, innocent man who didn’t need to die for anyone’s sins. But He willingly chose to die for the transgressions of those who would believe (John 10:18). This is what made Jesus’ vicarious work, and God’s punishment of Him, to be a just act.
Christ gave up His life out of love for sinners (Lk 22:42; Jn 6:38; 15:13). When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He took our guilt, punishment, and death sentence upon Himself, thereby bearing the full wrath of God for our sins and satisfying the just demands of the law (called His passive obedience). God turned His eternal wrath away from believers and thereby freed them from His final judgment. In other words, Jesus paid our fine for all the times we have broken His Law so that no eternal debt would be left on our record. This is the essence of Christ's atonement, most specifically called penal substitution.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is a life-changing event that has major implications for the human race. The atoning work is no good if Jesus had not resurrected from the dead. Three days later Christ conquered the grave and resurrected from the dead, appearing to His eleven disciples and over 500 eyewitnesses (Matt 28; Mark 16; Jn 20).
There are two reasons which Jesus' resurrection is important:
After giving His disciples the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matt 29:18-20), Jesus ascended back to the Father in heaven, where He is to this day (Acts 1:9). As eternally God and Man, Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, interceding on our behalf as our great High-Priest (Heb 2:9; 4:14). This means that believers can approach God with confidence and find grace and mercy in times of struggle, weakness, and temptation.
The Bible says we must repent (Lk 3:8; Acts 20:21; 2 Cor 7:10-11) and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to be saved (Jn 3:16; Rom 10:9). Repentance means change of mind and purpose. It is not just an intellectual acknowledgment of sin or even a feeling of guilt over it, but a change of direction, which is why John the Baptist expected true repentance to result in a different lifestyle (Matt 3:8). The sinner repents (turns away) from his sins and turns to Jesus, trusting in Him as Lord and Savior.
To trust in Jesus as Savior means that you believe His substitutionary atonement on the cross was good enough to save you from your sins and that your good works or moral status do not add or take away from His achievements on Calvary. Jesus paid it all on the cross so that by simply trusting in Him, like you would trust in an armor to protect you in battle, you are rescued (Rom 10:9; 1 Jn 4:14).
When a sinner believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he is justified before the Lord. Justification by faith is the simple truth that a man is declared righteous via his trust in Christ. The sinner is saved by faith and not by works. Works, whether it is moral or religious in nature, happens as a result of the Christian’s conversion, but is not the means by which he is justified. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
When we believe in the gospel, God takes our sins and places them into Christ’s account. In turn, God takes the perfect life of Jesus and credits it to our account. This is what is called imputed righteousness. As God imputed our sins onto Christ on Calvary, so God reckons all the life accomplishments of Jesus to us as if we had done it, so that our account is perfect before God. Because of Christ’s righteousness given to us, God declares us just.
Once this Great Exchange occurs, we are saved. God gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit, who indwells us permanently, to not only guarantee our eternal salvation (Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22), but to also empower us for a holy and righteous life while on this earth. He gives us new desires to want to love and please God, which is uncharacteristic of an unbeliever (2 Cor 5:17). This supernatural transformation of character is the proof of our salvation in Christ. It is also proof that we will receive our perfect bodies someday and be with Him when Jesus returns in the last day to rule on earth (1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-58).