Our failure to obey God--to be holy--places us in danger of eternal
punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey
Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We
are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible
calls our rebellion "sin."
According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: "There is no man
who does not sin" (1 Kings 8:46). "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God" (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition.
Jeremiah 13:23 says, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil." That doesn't mean we're incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we're
utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible
says, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there
is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become
useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one" (Romans 3:10-12). God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: "The soul who sins will die" (Ezekiel 18:4). That's hard for us to
understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale,
assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible
teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil
desires. That's why simply changing our patterns of behavior can't
solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed
inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy
Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from
the power and penalty of sin: "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no
other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be
saved" (Acts 4:12).
Even though God's justice demands death for sin, His love
has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: "Christ ... died for sins once for all, the just for the
unjust, in order that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter
3:18). Christ's death satisfied the demands of God's justice,
thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him
(Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal
life." He alone is "our great God and Savior" (Titus 2:13).