October 28, 2007
The Sin Problem
Introduction: The fact that God is holy and that man is sinful produces a problem for man’s salvation. Just as a leopard can not change his spots neither can a Holy God - nor sinful man - change their natures. So here comes the issue with which we must wrestle today…by what means can they [a holy God and a condemned sinner] come into a right relationship with each other? This was the primary question which pushed Luther in his quest. How does the sinner get right with God? How are God and man to become reconciled?
Two futile attempts to get around this issue remain popular to this day. How does man become reconciled to God? Atheism simply says, you don’t have to worry about getting right with God because He really doesn’t exist. If you take God out of the equation then you don’t have to wrestle with the issue of pleasing Him. Taking God out of the equation can be downright scary for in so doing man moves into the center and becomes a god unto himself with his own agendas, plans and outcomes.
Yet another attempt to avoid this issue of getting right with God is to come to the conclusion that man, is basically good; that there are but a few flaws in man, that as a spiritual person man is just and moral and good. God is not eliminated however He is greatly minimized. And yet - the very conscience of man will not allow him to get around this issue. As we have confessed this morning by nature each of us are sinful and unclean.
We are - by our very nature - poor miserable sinners. So to the issue of this day – How do God and man come together?
I. Man’s “Solution” Is a Religion aimed at Pleasing God:
A. Islam’s 5 Pillars is an excellent example of following certain rules to obtain God’s’ favor. Notice that they are all works related and man centered. You must fast, pray, give alms, make a pilgrimage and give you confession according to a strict code of conduct.
B. Observing Jewish Law is yet another example; Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s book 10 Commandments for everyday living didn’t become a national best seller a few years ago for nothing! People are prone to ask, “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it”. The young man who engaged Jesus and the jailer at Philippi speaking to Paul and Silas ask a similar question, “what must I do to be saved?” – Acts 16:30-31
C. To live simply by “the Golden Rule” is yet another example of folks who want to be spiritual but not necessarily be a part of an “organized” religion. I simply do - unto others - as I see fit.
Transition: Man’s solution to getting right with God is to do as he pleases. Yet what would the Lord’s have to say concerning these things?
II. God’s Word However, Requires a Changed Nature;
A. Man’s works are inadequate. Listen to what Scripture has to say concerning this matter:
1. Romans 3:20 – “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”
2. John 3:5 – “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
3. Ephesians 2:8,9 – “For by grace ye have been saved and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest no man should boast.”
B. Only God Himself is able to create a new nature in man:
1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
2. John 3:6 - That which is born of flesh is flesh that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
3. God cannot lower His standard. He can not adjust midstream. He is bound by His Word. These standards are not subject to the wills of change. God has given us a life-line which is connected to the power of His Word.
Transition: As the Lord has given us His message found in His Word we see a clear image of Jesus Christ God’s own dear Son.
III. God’s Solution Is found only in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
A. Jesus paid all of the debt for man’s sin. God’s Word is so clear on this mater.
1. Romans 3:24 – “…and justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
2. 1 Peter 2:24 – “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”
3. Hebrews 7:25 – “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.”
B. He gives redeemed men His righteousness and peace.
1. 2 Corinthians 5:21- “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2. Romans 10:4 – “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”
Conclusion: Jesus is the only way for God to be both Just in His dealings toward man and the one who justifies of the sinner. Thanks be to God for this free gift of faith.