Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Question From an Atheist

“If Jesus is God and God is omniscient, what sense does it make for Him to have Himself killed? I mean, if He wanted to forgive us why not just forgive us? Why all the blood? Also, if Jesus was without sin, how is it moral for an innocent to receive punishment for another's crimes, in this case the ‘sins’ of humanity?”

Without an understanding of God’s Law, we can never understand the justice of God. It is when we realize that God’s standard of goodness is absolute moral perfection (holiness), that we can understand the meaning of what the Bible calls “atonement.” Think of a man who commits a terrible crime and runs from the law. He is no longer a just “man.” He is a fugitive of justice. He is “in debt” to the law he has violated. Civil law will track him like a hungry hound dog to the ends of the earth.

Think of it, with all our faults and failures, we will spend millions of dollars to bring even one serious criminal to justice. That’s because we are moral beings. So if we, with all our sins, care about justice, how much more will a perfect and holy God? His holiness will make sure that every murderer, rapist, thief, and liar will come to justice. But because He is omniscient and therefore sees even the thought-life, He will also punish lust (which He considers adultery of the heart), and hatred (what he considers to be murder). Every transgression of His Law must receive absolute justice, and who of us is without sin? Who of us hasn’t lied, stolen or looked with lust? That means we are in big trouble with God. His wrath “abides” on us. We have a big problem. The Bible warns that if God was give justice to every fugitive, we would all justly end up in a place called Hell. Each of us has broken His Law, and we are "in dept" to Eternal Justice.

So, what can we offer God in payment for our sins? What will make things right? How can we make atonement? Should we try to live good lives? We can’t. It's too late. We are already guilty criminals. Reformation of our lives can't make atonement for our sins. We would merely be reformed criminals. What then will appease God? Can we offer Him all the gold of the earth to pay our fine? No. He already owns all the gold. We don’t have anything of value to pay the fine and make atonement for our sins, let alone the sins of the world. Not even our blood could make atonement for our sins. We are in a hopeless position, waiting for death to arrest us, and cast us into an eternal prison called “Hell.”

Here now comes the answer to the question, "Why all the blood?" The Bible says that this holy God is rich in mercy, and because of His great love, He provided atonement Himself. He became a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Almighty God created a human body and filled that body as a hand fills a glove. Jesus Christ was called "the express image of the invisible God." And He did this amazing thing for the express purpose of paying for the sins of the world. The most precious possession on the face of this earth isn’t gold, silver, oil, or diamonds. It is the precious blood of the Savior, and He gave His life's blood to pay the price. That’s why He cried “It is finished!” as he breathed His last on the cross. In other words, the debt had been paid. His precious blood made atonement. It satisfied eternal justice. Then God raised Him from the dead, and now death has no legal dominion over those who repent and trust in Him. Their case is dismissed. They are proclaimed "Not guilty." God commutes their death sentence because another paid their fine. But more than that. God "imputes" righteousness to us. In other words, we are not just forgiven criminals, because through the Gospel He makes us perfectly right with Himself. We can now live. So, if you are not right with God, put aside the issues that bother you for a moment--evolution, hypocrisy, "mistakes" in the Bible, and ask yourself this most sobering of questions--"What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Today, if you hear His voice, don't harden your heart.