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.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Question From an Atheist...

"His consequent rising from the dead means that God can now legally commute our death sentence." That suggests that God is under some law. Whose law? If God is Jesus and Jesus is God, why did Jesus have to have himself killed to forgive us, that is, why does our 'debt have to be paid'?

God is more than “under some law.” He cannot be separated from the moral Law. The Bible says that God is “perfect, holy, just and good.” It also says that His Law is “perfect, holy, just, and good.” In other words the moral Law (the Ten Commandments) issue from the very character and nature of God. There wasn’t a time in eternity when He asked, “What is right and what is wrong?” The moral Law is eternal. That’s why Jesus said that Heaven and earth would pass away before one “jot” or “tittle” of the Law would fail. It is written in stone. It’s not going away and it’s not going to change. It is immutable, and it calls for the blood of every guilty criminal.

Think of it like this. A man has viciously raped and murdered six young girls. There is no question of his guilt. He is not insane. He said he enjoyed what he did, and if he had opportunity, he would do it again. As the good judge looks at the evidence of his knife, the man’s fingerprints all over it, his DNA, his letter of confession, and the photos of the young mutilated girls with their throat’s cut, how he is going to feel? Is he going to be passive? Of course not. As he looks at the smiling criminal, the judge’s wrath will be in direct proportion to his goodness. If he is a good judge, he will be unspeakably furious at that wicked man. He will throw the book at him and sentence him to the maximum punishment under the law.

God’s wrath is in direct proportion to His perfect goodness. There is no question of our guilt. All of us have violated His Law. We are filled with lust, greed, selfishness, ingratitude, lies, hate, envy, jealousy, conceit, etc., and His just wrath therefore abides on us (see John 3:36). If we are found in our sins on Judgment Day, He will throw the Book at us, and Hell will be exactly what we deserve.

But the Bible says that this holy God is rich in mercy, and He provided a way for us to escape the wrath of His Law. You asked, “If God is Jesus and Jesus is God, why did Jesus have to have himself killed to forgive us, that is, why does our 'debt have to be paid'?” Actually, contrary to popular thought, Jesus didn’t have to “die” for our sins. Obviously, He did die, but the Bible says that He had to “suffer” for our sins (see Luke 24:26, 1 Peter 3:18). This is made clear in the fact that the debt was paid before he died--He cried, “It is finished,” then He died.

The Judge Himself came down to the courtroom, and paid the fine in His life’s blood. That demonstrates both the justice of a holy God, and the love of a merciful God. Those two attributes of the Divine nature are revealed in the cross, and you will never understand that until you humble your heart.