A Written Presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

by Dale Partridge

I once heard a man say, “All humans know they have something to be forgiven for, but not all humans know who they must be forgiven by.”

I believe this is true. In fact, the Bible tells us it’s true (Rom. 2:15). As the world falls more deeply into immorality, we have a magnitude of shame and guilt rising up among this generation. If you’re not aware, however, our culture is becoming increasingly saturated with self-help tools and books and seminars on how to remove this shame and guilt. We are surrounded by “experts” who promise the path to the removal of shame upon your conscience and the guilt of your actions if you simply follow their guidance. 

But what is shame? In short, it’s simply the emotional and relational consequences of your sin. It’s your conscience’s reaction to the moral trespasses you’ve committed. And even though we live in a society and era that encourages people to be shameless, hardening our conscience against these very real effects of sin is dangerous to your soul. 

Guilt, on the other hand, focuses more on the judicial result of your sin. That is, in the name of justice, you have a responsibility to pay the penalty for the transgressions you’ve committed. Therefore, guilt is about restitution. We all have trespassed against God, one another, and even creation. We have each been hurtful, thought evil, expressed hatred, stolen, and cheated. And we each have been caught, been found guilty, and must pay the consequences required to restore the debt caused by our actions. 

Who Have You Sinned Against?

Now, when it comes to your sin, who are you really sinning against? When you look upon a person with lust or lie to your neighbor or scream at your daughter, who are you sinning against? When you take something that’s not yours, deceive people in conversation, or break a commitment to your family, who are you sinning against? Well, surely, in one sense, you’re sinning against the person or people you’ve afflicted, but who is it that declares lusting and lying and screaming and stealing is even sinful? Who is the Creator of these moral boundaries? Who has the power to declare it’s not right for you to murder or sleep with another man’s wife or to rob a bank or lie to your neighbor? Who is the ultimate Governor of what is right or wrong? Ultimately, who gets to tell you that you’ve sinned against their moral law and must pay the consequences? 

In other words, if you agree there is evil in the world (e.g. rape, murder, deception, kidnapping, human trafficking, etc.) then you must assume there’s also good in the world (e.g. love, joy, peace, patience, gratitude, self-control, etc.). However, when you assume there is objective good and evil, you assume there’s such a thing as an objective moral law by which we can rightly differentiate what is good and what is evil. But if you assume there is an objective moral law, you must also assume an objective Moral Law Giver. In other words, morality is not subjective. That is, we do not each make up our own truth. If this was the case, we must agree there’s no objective Moral Law Giver, which means there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil and, as a result, we end up in a world by which one person can hurt another according to their truth and nobody has any valid grounds to define it as evil. This is an illogical and self-defeating way to view morality. So I ask the question again, who gets to tell you that you’ve sinned against their Moral Law and must pay the consequences? 

I will answer that question with a statement of truth: You are a creature. You are not self-made. You did not decide to be born into this world. Additionally, you are eternal. You have a mortal body but an eternal soul (Matt. 10:28; Mark 12:30). Therefore, the One who has made you—God—has a claim upon you (His creation) and a right to declare how you ought to live. In other words, the Maker of the heavens and the earth is also the Maker of you. However, by His grace and mercy, He has not left you in the dark regarding His moral expectations for your life (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:7; Eccles. 12:1). In the Bible, God reveals Himself to humanity and delivers His Moral Law (The Ten Commandments). Furthermore, He declares those who do not keep His Law perfectly will rightly experience shame and guilt and will suffer eternal consequences for their sins against an eternal God (Exodus 20:2-17; James 2:10). The Bible also teaches that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s Law and, immediately after their death, will face judgment for their sins before their Maker (Rom. 3:23-27; Heb. 9:27).  

The Cost for Your Sin

These consequences are twofold. First, the Bible declares in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Namely, those who commit sins will physically die. It is this reason why all humanity has died since the creation of our first ancestors, Adam and Eve (Gen. 2-3). In other words, all have died because all have sinned both in Adam’s original sin and our own (Rom. 5:12-21).

But God, who is infinitely holy and morally pure, has declared physical death alone is not a sufficient consequence for our transgressions against His Law. Because our sins are against an eternal God, the Bible says those who sin against Him will suffer eternal punishment (2 Thess. 1:9). In fact, in the Bible, Jesus explains this place of justice vividly. He calls it “a place of torment” (Luke 16:23) where there is “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43) and where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt.13:42). 

Friend, you are a sinner, and you stand condemned before your Maker. You, at this moment, are an enemy of God, a child of wrath, and you’re heading toward the eternal consequences you deserve for your rebellion against Him (Rom. 2:2-3, 5; Eph. 2:3; Ecc. 12:14). This should cause you immense fear and trembling. This is the bad news. 

The Light in the Dark

But friend, there is hope. For God, in His incomprehensible love, has made a way for you to be reconciled to Him. Two thousand years ago, He sent His only begotten Son—Jesus—to earth through the womb of a virgin and born of the Spirit of God. In fact, this Jesus was God in the flesh—the very image of the invisible God (John 1:14, 10:30; Col. 2:9, 1:15). This God-man lived a sinless and perfect life (1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 4:15). He came not to be served as King and Creator but to serve the lost and to give His life as a ransom for all of God’s chosen children (Matt. 20:28). This is important and let me explain why. 

In the Old Testament, God declares that our sin deserves death (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:20). But instead of forcing us to an immediate death, He permitted a person’s sins to be covered (or atoned for) by substituting an animal to die in their place (Lev. 17:11). This is why the book of Hebrews says, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” (Heb. 9:22). But this mode of sacrifice was not effective in removing all sins for all time, and therefore, these sacrifices had to be repeated regularly to no end. That is, the blood of animals was incapable of yielding lasting forgiveness and, therefore, it was impossible to fully reconcile mankind to God through this system (Heb. 9-10). This is the great purpose of Christ. Jesus was given to the world by God as a worthy and perfect sacrifice for all time (Heb. 10:14). In fact, this is why He came to earth—to give His life as a sacrifice. This is also why God permitted Him to be persecuted and rejected and crucified on a cross (1 Pet. 2:24; Heb. 12:2). It was by His sacrificial death that God secured the redemption of all who would place their faith and trust in His Son Jesus (Acts 2:23; John 3:16). It is Jesus who, like the animal sacrifices of the past, acted as your substitute, where He died in your place, where he suffered the wrath of God you deserved, and where He paid with His blood the consequences your sins required (Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18; Romans 5:9; 1 John 2:2, 4:10; 1 Thess. 5:9). 

But because the wages of sin is death and Christ had no sin, Christ could not remain dead. After three days in the tomb, God validated the perfection of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrected Him from the grave. In this resurrection, Jesus conquered the curse of death caused by sin and proclaimed that all who trust in Him alone will do the same (Rom. 6:5-14). This is why Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25). That is, those who trust in Jesus Christ will die physically, but in the same way Jesus (who died for our sins) was resurrected, so will we be resurrected when Christ returns to judge humanity and restore the world (1 Cor. 15:35-58).

Repent and Believe

Now friend, God’s desire is not for you to perish in your sins, but to turn from your rebellious, self-serving, self-directing, and sinful life to a Christ-serving, faithful life in Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Regardless of the heinousness of the sins you’ve committed or the degree of shame and guilt you carry, all of it can be forgiven and erased for all time for anyone who would turn away from their sins through genuine repentance and place all their faith and hope in the righteousness of Jesus and Him alone (1 John 1:9; Rom. 8:1). 

The Bible says that when you place your faith in Jesus Christ—that is, you stop trusting that your good works will merit you forgiveness and Heaven, and recognize that only the perfect work of Christ can secure your salvation, then, and only then, will you be saved. The Scriptures teach that when we put our faith in Christ and recognize His Lordship over your life, God imputes (or attributes) the perfect, sinless life of Jesus to you. Romans 4:5 says, “And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” In other words, when we believe in Jesus, the debt of our past sin, current sin, and future sin is forgiven, we are viewed by God not as ourselves alone, but as one with Christ in us, and, as a result, we are no longer under God’s wrath but under His mercy, grace, and love forever and ever (Heb. 10:10, 14).

The Bible sums up this good news in John 3:16, which states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” 

New Life in Christ

Friend, if you come to repentance and faith in Christ, the Bible says you have been born again (1 John 5:1, 2:29, 4:7; John 6:44). That is, God has granted you the ability to see the Kingdom of God, has given you the grace of faith, and has provided His Holy Spirit to come and dwell within you (John 3:3, 5, 7, 8; 1 Pet. 1:3). These gifts have been secured by Christ’s blood and sealed by God’s Spirit (Eph. 1:13). His Spirit will also teach you God’s Word (1 Cor. 2:10 John 16:13), convict you of ongoing sin in your life (John 16:8), sustain your faith until death (John 10:28; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:5), discipline you in His love (Heb. 12:6-11), and support you in prayer (Rom. 8:26-27).

Therefore, if you come to Christ, you will live a life of sanctification where God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will make you more like His Son Jesus and produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life (John 15:1-17). You will be marked by joy, peace, hope, and love (Gal. 5:22-23) and, at your physical death, your soul will immediately go to be with Christ in Heaven (2 Cor. 5:8-10; Phil. 1:23-24). But this is not the end, friend. In the future, Jesus has promised to return to earth and rescue His people, to bring judgment to sinners, and to conquer Satan and evil for good. It is at this time that your body will be resurrected from its grave, never to die again, and will be united to your soul for eternity (1 Thess. 4:16-17). 

But God saves the best for last. Jesus also promises that He will restore the earth, and there will be no more pain or sorrow or death. There will be no more tears or depression or shame. There will be no more fear or wounds or worry. And most notably, there will be no more sin! And all those who were born of God and trusted in Christ will be there, with Jesus, on earth, and will enjoy His Kingdom and glorify God forever and ever amen (Rev. 21:1-27). 

So friend, please come to Christ. Repent of your sins and believe in Him alone!  

Dale Partridge is the Founder and President of Relearn.org. Dale finished his graduate studies at Western Theological Seminary and is now an M.Div candidate at The Master's Seminary in Los Angeles, California. He is also the author of several Christians books, the host of the Real Christianity podcast, and an elder and teaching pastor at the local house church in which he serves. He and his wife have three children.

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