You will learn following topics in this lesson:
– The Existence of God
– The Love of God
– The Holiness of God
These and many other topics of similar nature will be dealt with in this lesson.
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The Existence of God
God exists. His existence can be known on the basis of creation, conscience and God’s Word, the Bible. He is the Creator of all creation and life forms. That is why see amazing intelligence behind the laws of nature. We know that water always flows toward the ocean, and evaporated water from the ocean rises toward the hills and mountains. Then this water comes down as rainfall. Eventually, via small streams and great rivers, the water returns to the same ocean. This is an amazing cycle. Let us consider our vast universe. The moon revolves around the earth in a uniform manner. The earth, along with the moon, revolves around the sun. The sun and the planets, along with their moons, are revolving around the center point of our galaxy. Such galaxies exist in countless numbers in the vast universe. Measureless wisdom and power undergird the heavens. By whose wisdom and power?
God’s. God Himself created all these and by Him do they all consist. As it is written, ”For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions: all things were created by him, and from him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).
Therefore, the existence of God is evident in creation. As it is written, ”For the invisible things of him form the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse ” (Romans 1:20).
Even man’s conscience tells him that there is a God. All over the world, people realize that disobedience to parents, murder, adultery, lying, stealing, covetousness are wrong. Regardless of language, race, culture or country, every person’s conscience tells him there are moral rights and wrongs.
This remarkable fact shows that every human being is created with a conscience, i.e. a God-given spiritual faculty that enables man to differentiate between what is inherently right and wrong. The Bible teaches that people who may have never heard of God’s moral laws from the Bible, nevertheless, have those laws written in their hearts, that is their conscience. ” For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2: 14-15). Man’s conscience, thus, acknowledges that there is a Law-Giver, the one true God.
Therefore, in every society, there are many people who are seeking God. Man’s own conscience has accepted the existence of God. Even in Atheistic societies there are people searching for God. The desire that man has to find God is a natural desire. Atheism, however, is against human nature and thus unnatural. In Atheism man is forced to believe against the feelings of his own conscience.
The third important evidence for the existence of God is the Bible itself which clearly states that God exists. The Bible is an amazing and unique book. God Himself is its Author. The very first words of the Bible are ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
The Love of God
God is love. 1 John 4:8 states, ”He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God’s love is different from human love. Man makes promises, but his promises fail. His thoughts, his sayings change. Human love lacks perfection and fullness. Often, there is selfishness hidden behind human love. Humanity arounds with examples of those deceived by the pretence of love. Human love has many faults. But the love of God is perfect. His love is faultless. Those who abide in His love are blessed and happy. In His love is life. Fullness of joy, victory and complete satisfaction are found in His love. God loves you. God wants to give you eternal blessing and joy. God wants to live with Him forever. How great is the love of God.
The Holiness of God
God is holy. Holy means ”separate, set apart”. He is ”separate” in two ways. Firstly, God the creator is separate from all that is created. His existence is independent from His creation. He existed before all things. He never changes. He is greater and higher than everything He has made. The Bible says, ”For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place” (Isaiah 57:15a). Secondly, He is separate from all that is sinful. He can never sin. He can never lie. He is holy, as the Bible says, ”Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). Not only is God sinless, but He also hates sin. God judges sin. Sinners cannot go to Him nor dwell in His presence. Therefore, you, too, in your present condition, cannot fellowship with God. You cannot enter God’s kingdom. But instead, you will have to endure a terrible punishment from God. In the Bible it says, ”The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). ”For the wrath (strong anger) of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (Romans1:18). Why is this so?
Man is by nature born separate from God, and the result is death. The reason for this is the first man’s fall. All men are sinners. As it is written, ”There is none righteous, no, not one: There are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10-12,23). Therefore, all men are naturally under the condemnation of God. Is there then a way of escape?
The coming of Jesus Christ was in accordance to God’s plan. He came to save man by giving his Life. As it is written, ”God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind according to what was previously written in the holy scriptures, the Bible, and He was buried and He became alive again on the third day. As it is written, ”Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Christ died for you. Your sins can be forgiven in Him. So what do you need to do be saved?
”God so loved the world, that he gave only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life ” (John 3:16). According to this verse, in order for you to be saved what you need to do is to believe on the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Whoever believes shall not perish. This means they will not go to hell after they die. Romans 10:9 states, ”If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
In order for you to be saved, you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. What do you have to believe? You must believe that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus took place in order to save you from sin. Because of this you must acknowledge that He is your Lord. By this faith and acceptance you can receive the forgiveness of sins. As it is written, ”For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Jesus’ Teaching Regarding Faith
Jesus presented a fact to explain what faith is, ”And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-16). In order to understand what is meant by Moses lifting up the serpent, let us quote the related passage from the Bible:
”And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.”
”And the LORD sent fiery serpent among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. and the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 21:4-9).
The meaning of faith can be understood from Jesus’s teaching based on the event mentioned above. The people bitten by snakes were being judged by God because of their sins. The only way to be saved from the judgement was to obey God’s instructions. God demands that man be first convicted of his sin. This means man has to realize he is a sinner and he must be sorry for doing sins. After that God desires that man accept God’s way of salvation. Men were to look at the brazen serpent hung by Moses according to God’s provision. As soon as they looked, they were healed and saved. This involved a simple act of heart-faith rather than work. There was nothing man could do by any work, but by grace through faith. They received the grace of God by the simple act of lifting up their heads and looking in the right direction. Thus faith means putting the heart’s trust upon the grace of God. They could not be saved at all without this trust.
Just as the people in the wilderness journey looked upon the brazen serpent to be saved from the bite of the poisonous serpents, today people must believe on the Saviour provided by God in order to be saved from death that results from sin. ”God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ is the Saviour sent from God. He was lifted up on the cross for the whole world in accordance to God’s plan. Now all those who look to Him shall be saved from God’s judgement, which is eternal death. Man must simply look to His sacrifice on the cross. You can receive forgiveness of your sins by this very way. Receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour and you shall receive God’s immeasurable grace.
Saviour faith is accompanied by repentance. When you receive Jesus as Lord, you are also turning from your sinful ways, acknowledging that you are wrong and He is right. Thus you turn away from your sinful ways and turn toward God. This is repentance. Repentance means a change of mind. The Bible says, ”Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus’ Teaching Regarding Repentance
Let us study a parable Jesus used in order that the meaning of repentance might be understood.
The Prodigal Son
”And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine (pigs). And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bering forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet” (Like 15:11-23).
Then the father commanded his servants to prepare a great feast to celebrate the return of his son. There was great joy in the house. The father announced, ”This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24).
What did Jesus teach regarding repentance? Of the two sons, the younger grew up to become very rebellious. He rejected his father’s instructions and discipline. He became vain and proud in his thinking.
Eventually, his life became full of trouble. Only after the troubles had come upon him, did the son acknowledge that his father’s instruction and discipline were right. Only in his troubles did he realize that his activities against God and his father were wrong, and he became very sorrowful in his heart because of all he had done. A change took place in his mind. He now decided to return again to his father’s house and submit to his father’s instructions and discipline. This change of mind in him brought unprecedented change in his life. Immediately, he arose from the condition and place he was in and headed toward his father’s house. He repented from his terrible life of disobedience, intemperance, greed, adultery, lies, etc. After a long journey he arrived at his father’s house. There, as soon as he met his father, he said, ”Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” This action and statement by the prodigal son clearly shows that a genuine change had taken place in him. It is noted in the parable that this repentance brought great satisfaction and joy to the father.
Only true repentance makes man acceptable before God. All people must turn to God sorrowing for the sins they have committed against God. This parable clearly shows how God views and receives the sinner who thus turns to God. Therefore, in order for you to receive forgiveness of your sins this kind of genuine repentance is necessary. This is not only an outward change or a change of religion, but a change of life.
The father said, ”It was meet (right) that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:23).
Thus it is made clear how happy God is when a man truly repents. Man is naturally dead in sin. None of his works are acceptable in the eyes of God. Only repentance toward God can make man acceptable before God. By this, not only is man acceptable, but it also brings great joy to God. This shows how greatly God desires for a man to repent. How great is His love for man. God loves you very much and He greatly longs to save you.
In order to explain this joy, Jesus taught another parable:
The lost Sheep
”What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for4 I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repentance, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:4-7).
A shepherd loves his sheep very much. For years and years the shepherd has lived with his sheep. The sheep are born and they grow up in his presence. The shepherd knows each sheep’s nature and habits. The shepherd greatly loves his sheep. He gives his life for each of his sheep. He does this regardless of wind or storm, whether it is cold or hot, easy or hard. The shepherd may even battle with the tiger or the bear, risking his very life. If necessary, he even dies for the sheep. True shepherds are like this. When one of his sheep is lost, the good shepherd has no peace. He will desire to find the sheep no matter what trouble must be faced. At such times, he cares more for the one lost sheep than for the ninety-nine that are with him and for that one sheep he searches through all pastures, wood, bushes, cliffs, caves, up and down, everywhere. He seeks and seeks until he find the lost sheep. Weeping and crying he seeks his beloved sheep. When he finally sees his sheep, even if it is stuck in some dangerous place, he goes to get it, even if he has to risk his own life. He is filled with happiness the moment he succeeds in rescuing the sheep. He returns home with great joy and he invites his friends to join in his great joy and there is much rejoicing.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd of mankind. He has given His life for all men. He died on the cross 2000 years ago in order to save mankind. He rose again from the dead on the third day. The purpose of His sacrifice was to save man from eternal destruction in hell. Now whosoever understands His great love and receives Him as his personal Lord and Saviour is received (found) by Him and there is great rejoicing in Heaven over him. When a person repents of his sins and completely believes in Jesus he is saved. He doesn’t have to die and go to hell and suffer for his sins. When his body dies, his soul will go forever to dwell in the kingdom of Heaven. What a great gift God wants to give mankind!
In our next lesson, we will learn yet more important truths.