What Do I Believe As A Christian?

Terrible news followed by the best news there ever was

Sin exists

"Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge."
--Psalm 51:4

  • Sin is any action, thought, or word contrary to God's will.

  • We are often aware of sin because of our innate (but imperfect) sense of morality.

Everybody has sinned

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
--1 John 1:8

  • Even you. Even me. Even Gandhi. At least once. Probably tens of thousands of times.

There is a perfectly just God who punishes every sin

"The Son of Man [Jesus] will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
--Matthew 13:41

  • In order for there to be justice, all wrongdoing must be punished.

  • The punishment for any sin is eternal separation from God -- that is, hell.

  • We have all sinned, so all of us deserve to go to hell.

  • Why is the consequence of even a single sin eternal separation from God? An illustrative analogy:
    • Pasta is good
    • Roaches are bad
    • If you add even a small roach to a big plate of pasta, the pasta becomes inedible
    • Adding more good pasta to the roach-tainted pasta doesn't make it any better
    • The roach-tainted pasta must be thrown away

  • Similarly, if we sin, we are tainted like the pasta with a roach in it.

  • Doing more good deeds doesn't compensate for already-committed sin, just like adding clean pasta to the roach-tainted pasta doesn't make it more appetizing

God loves us and is merciful

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities."
--Psalm 103:10

  • God does not want us to go to hell.

  • But if wrongdoing is not fully punished as it deserves, then how can God be perfectly just?

The only way God could be both merciful and perfectly just was to bear the penalty for our sins Himself

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
--Romans 5:8

  • God sent His only Son, Jesus, to this world to become a Jewish man living 2,000 years ago.

  • Jesus lived the sinless life that we should be living.

  • Although He was innocent, Jesus was put to death by crucifixion.

  • God's penalty for our sin was poured out upon Jesus, who was sent to Hell.

  • Jesus was resurrected three days after dying. After appearing to many of his followers, he ascended into heaven.

Forgiveness is freely available to anybody who submits to Jesus as God and asks to be forgiven

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
--John 3:16

  • Because Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins, God can forgive us. Our slate is wiped clean.

  • After we are forgiven, God looks at us and sees Jesus's life of perfect righteousness, not our own miserable record of sin.

This earthly life is just the beginning.

"Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."
--Daniel 12:2

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."
--1 Corinthians 2:9

  • There is life after death.
  • Heaven and hell are real places.
  • Every human being is headed to one or the other.

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