Summary: Can we come to a right relationship with God any other way than through trusting in Jesus as the Son of God?
If you’re shocked by the title for this morning’s message, you need to know it’s not a mistake. But if you have to leave before I finish this morning’s message, I ask that you do not apply the title to yourself until you hear the entire message on tape or read it on the church website.
We continue this morning with 1 John 5:6-13.
Just before preparing this message, I caught the news of the day, the sentencing of Andrea Yates to life imprisonment for the drowning of her five children. Susan and I talked about how this gives her a better chance at recovery than simply trying to rehabilitate her through counseling.
Consider if she were only required to get counseling, but not sentenced to imprisonment.
I suspect the counseling may help her deal with her prior psychological disorder and even help her to realize what she had done was wrong. But counseling will not remove the guilt for the five lives she snuffed out, whether intentionally or unintentionally. When a person does something wrong of this magnitude, whether intentionally or unintentionally, she will always be burdened by guilt, until she takes the opportunity to pay for the wrong somehow.
Sometime ago, a lady told me she believed that all have wronged God, but she could not accept that we could be forgiven, guilt-free, simply by allowing Jesus Christ to die on the cross to pay for our wrongs against God. She wanted to pay somehow for the wrongs she committed against God.
But what if your sins cost more than you are able to pay? What if someone else was willing to pay and could pay for you? Would you let him? Wouldn’t that be great news?
Hebrews 9:27-28 remind us, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
This morning, John continues with the purpose of his letter, stated in chapter 1, verse 4, "to make our joy complete." You see, 1 John 5:6-13 tell us that we can have eternal life, instead of a life sentence, when we stand before God at judgment. And the way this would happen is if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins by His death on the cross.
This is not a man-made solution. The man-made religions of the world make mankind pay for our own wrongs through good works or religious rituals. God’s solution is to pay for mankind, because mankind doesn’t have enough to pay. Not only does God provide the solution, but He also testifies to this solution with legal evidence, and He gives certainty to those who trust in His solution.
Let’s look first at the legal evidence from God and then close with the certainty of His solution.
First, God gives us the legal evidence that Jesus is God’s solution for the sins of the world. We see this in verses 6-10.
John wrote to counter the lies that crept into the church during his lifetime, One of these lies involved the teaching that Jesus was a human being until his water baptism, when God’s Spirit descended on him, enabling him to do miracles and teach with great wisdom. Not only that, this lie taught that God’s spirit left Jesus before he was crucified on the cross.
To counter this lie, John wrote, "This is the one [Jesus] who came by water (that is baptism) and blood (that is death on the cross). He did not come by water (that is baptism) only, but by water (baptism) and blood (that is crucifixion)."
People who believe that God came in Jesus only at baptism and left before His crucifixion believe that God came to model the perfect life but not to pay for our sins by His death. Such people have too high a view of mankind and too low a view of sin.
The Bible says in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death...." And Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "In fact, [God’s] law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."
Because you and I have the wage of death for our sins against God, we cannot pay for ourselves and live, not to mention pay for another. Only one who has no sin, and therefore is not already sentenced to die, can pay for another’s sins. More than that, only one who is of far greater worth than mankind can pay for all of mankind.
If Jesus were born human, he would be born with a sinful nature like you and me. If Jesus died as a human, even a sinless human, his death would only be sufficient to pay for the sins of only one human being - one for one. Only the Son of God, without sin and with infinite worth, could pay for the sins of the world.