Falling Short of God’s Glory
While I do not remember much from elementary school, there is one conversation I will never forget. In fourth grade, I took the opportunity to witness to one of my friends. I remember asking her, “If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure you would go to heaven?” She immediately responded “yes.” This lack of hesitation brought great excitement until she answered the next question. I asked, “How do you know?” She responded, “Because I have never sinned.”
At the time, I knew that her statement was erroneous, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I understood the full extent of her words. Because she believed she was sinless, she had no recognition of her disobedience and separation from God, and no realization of her need for reconciliation to God. With no sin involved, she had no need for a mediator, no need for the cross, and no need for an atonement. Those five words proclaimed that Christ’s death was meaningless and unnecessary.
As humans, we are born sinners and natural enemies of God (Rom. 3:23), but we tend to take the seriousness of sin all too lightly. We think nothing of telling a few lies, disobeying our parents, or placing other interests before God. Society has lent a hand in making us believe that these sins aren’t a big deal and that God understands. In some cases, these beliefs can even morph our perception of ourselves and God until, like my friend, we believe that we aren’t even sinners anymore.
So what’s the big deal? Our sin makes us unjust and ungodly people. Romans 1:18a states, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Not only does sin grant us God’s wrath, but it also earns us death (Rom. 6:23) and eternal separation from God. If left to ourselves, we are nothing but hopeless.
Yet Christ died on the cross bearing God’s immense wrath for our sin and rose again. Why would God do such a thing? First John 4:10 explains, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The cross demonstrated the greatest degree of God’s love and wrath. Romans 3:24 states, “[We] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Because of the atonement and His redeeming work, we can stand justified before God with hope and assurance of salvation.