“To every preacher of righteousness as well as to Noah, wisdom gives the command, ‘A window shalt thou make in the ark.’”
by Jeff Musgrave
This article originally appeared in FrontLine Jul/Aug 2007.
This is part 1, part 2 is here.
This edition of Windows features illustrations to make soulwinning clear and compelling. Close relationships are made by taking time to get to know each other. Here are four simple characteristics about God that will allow you to meet Him for yourself.
God Is Holy and Cannot Tolerate Our Sin
The word “holy” means “separate” or “unique.” One implication of God’s holy nature is that He is totally set apart from sin. He is perfect!
God’s Intolerance—Habakkuk 1:13a teaches that God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” and cannot even “look on iniquity [sin].” It’s not that God doesn’t like sin. He cannot tolerate sin, because He is holy.
God’s Reflection—The Ten Commandments are not arbitrary rules set by God. They are a reflection of His nature. Imagine parents with a child who is allergic to peanuts. If she is exposed to peanuts she might die. Obviously, those parents would have strict rules about peanuts. To have a relationship with them, you would have to abide by those rules. They are a reflection of their needs based on their characteristics. To have a relationship with God, you have to deal with your inability to keep His laws because they are a reflection of His character.
Man’s Dilemma—This leaves man with a dilemma. Romans 3:23 teaches that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” An analogy that illustrates this might be as simple as imagining a contest between two people attempting to touch the top of a thirty-foot flagpole. One might be able to jump higher than the other, but neither could reach the top. They would both “come short.” The glory of God is His holy standard of perfection. Some might be better than others, but no one is perfect, and everyone falls short.
If this were all one knew about Him, who could have a relationship with God? Nobody!
God Is Just and Cannot Overlook Our Sin
God’s Standard—God judges every man by the same standard. Romans 6:23b states, “the wages of sin [what we “earn” by sinning] is death.” What does this mean to us individually?
God’s Judgment—In Matthew 25:41 Jesus is shown judging the nations. “Then shall he [Jesus] say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” God never intended for people to go to Hell. He prepared this eternal place of judgment for the Devil and his angels. But here people are being cast into Hell! Who are these people “on the left hand?”
Man’s Dilemma—Revelation 21:8 sheds light on the subject. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” When a man sins, he alienates himself from God’s holy nature. This verse shows that God’s just nature demands His judgment against each of man’s sins, and that every liar is going to be condemned to Hell!
Someone might say, “I thought God was a loving God.” Imagine a judge presiding over a murder trial, and a mountain of evidence proves that the defendant is guilty. If the judge chose to overlook the obvious guilt and acquit the murderer, would that be just? No! Suppose the guilty man was the judge’s brother, who loved him more than any man. If the judge overlooked his guilt and acquitted his brother, would that be justice? No! His love for the guilty would not change the demand for justice. God’s love for you doesn’t change the demand of His holy/just nature to judge you!
God Is Loving and Has Reached Out to Us
God has provided a way for us to be close to Him that satisfies His holy/just nature.
God’s Son—Jesus is God come to earth in the flesh. “The Word [Jesus] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
God’s Exchange—Though He is God in every sense, He humbled Himself and became a man so that He could give His life in exchange for the lives of sinners.
Our Substitute—“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18) As the just and holy God who came as a human, Christ is the only One qualified to die in our place. He took your sins on Himself.
Our Righteousness—He dealt with your sinful record thoroughly, but He also offers His own record to you as a perfect completion to the exchange. “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we take His exchange, we take His righteous record and meet His holy standard. Now God can give us a home with Him in Heaven forever and still be just.
Our Full Payment—One of the last things Jesus said before He died was, “It is finished.” The word in the original language was sometimes used to mean “paid in full”! He paid the entire price. There is nothing left for you to pay!
Jesus proved that He could conquer sin and its penalty— death and Hell. He rose from the grave. His resurrection proved that God was satisfied with His payment for our sins. He loves far more than most people suspect, and His love is powerful enough to reach sinners!
The conclusion of this article appears here.
Jeff Musgrave formerly pastored Highlands Baptist Church in Centennial, Colorado and now directs The Exchange evangelism ministry.