#5 of 7 Biblical Worldview Absolutes
Man is Powerless to Save Himself
“The wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23
College students gathering in a university student center were discussing various philosophies and religions of the world. After one student shared the claims of Christianity and the Gospel, a student responded, “The Christian Gospel is too simplistic for me and most intellectual thinkers. I want to be able to figure things out for myself. In the long run that’s more satisfying.”
That conversation took place while I was in college many years ago. I often wonder if that individual’s “intellectual” pursuits ever led her to the realization that shopping at the Do-It-Yourself store never works. No human effort in philosophy, science, politics, philanthropy, psychology or any other human endeavor has ever, or ever will, address the lost condition of the human heart. No matter what good things we accomplish as human beings, we are ultimately powerless to address the dilemma of our own emptiness, finiteness, and bent towards evil. History continually unveils our true condition validating Jesus’ words that “no one is good, except God alone.”
We Can’t Pay the Debt
The Apostle Paul makes clear that we are “dead” in our trespasses and sins. It is evident in how we live to gratify “the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Being “dead”, as Paul uses the term, means we are unable to do anything about our sinful condition. We have no ability to pay the debt. We are utterly dependent upon something outside ourselves to do that.
Unfortunately, the true nature of man’s sinfulness has always been apparent, and that is certainly true today. God says that the wages of sin is death – not just physical death, but an eternal “death” in a real place call Hell. I know… this is a hard topic that we don’t want to talk about much. In fact, many try to deny or play down its existence. We just don’t want to believe a loving God would send people to Hell. But it’s the truth and we need to talk about it.
God, who is holy, does not dwell with sinners. Hell is real—a place no one would want if they really knew what it was like. The Bible speaks frankly about the horrors of Hell so that there can be no misunderstanding. Jesus said it would be a place of “darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Some try to deceive us into thinking that if Hell exists, it’s no big deal. The story of the rich man and Lazarus paints a very different picture of the torment of Hell and the rich man’s plea to warn others. Let’s not be deceived – if anyone could stand at the threshold of Hell and see it for even a brief moment, the horror of it would be undeniable.
The reality of Hell is why the message of the cross is “Good News”. We need only acceptance of God’s love and grace through the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who did not come to start a religion, but to save us from the deserved consequences of sin and for a life lived as the fragrance of Christ to the glory of God. That’s the Gospel. Those who reject the Gospel in favor of the DIY path are ignorant of both our powerlessness to save ourselves and the horrible consequences of that rejection. (We’ll talk about the Gospel in our next Absolute section.)
Three Action Steps
Grandparents, you ought to understand more than anyone through all you’ve seen in life the futility of human effort to satisfy the deepest longings and need of the human heart. Do your grandchildren know that good works are important but will not earn credits with God for their salvation because of their sin nature? Don’t shy away from talking about this important truth. It is a critical truth behind our need for salvation. Here are a few action steps you can take to talk about our need for a savior:
- Read the Bible together. Read Romans 3:23 and 6:23 and ask what they think it means that ALL have sinned. What does “wages of sin” mean? Read Matthew 22:1-14 and talk openly about what Jesus was saying in this parable.
- Ask age appropriate challenging questions: I.e.:Why do you think bad things happen in our world? What makes Christianity different from other ‘religions’? Why do we need a savior? What difference does the Gospel make in your life?
- Consider giving a Christmas/graduation gift for a teen grandchild to Summit Ministries (link). This is a great way to expose them to some serious thinking and examination of why we believe what the Bible says.
GRANDPAUSE: “He that is made in the image of God must know Him or be desolate.” –George MacDonald