This is the third post in the series of posts about the gospel. The first post talked about the motivation for sharing the gospel, and the second post talked about God as one of the main points in the gospel. Today, I’ll be talking about another main point: Man.
Today is March 27, 2020. As of today, more of man’s tendencies have been revealed because of COVID-19. It has been about two weeks since California has issued a statewide quarantine other than “essential” companies. During this time, there have been a lot of good things happening around the state and the country, but there have also been a lot of bad things happening too. In the news today, there are both stories of people showing genuine care for other people who are in need and stories of people whose selfishness is very apparent. Basically these events have shown how good man can be and also how bad man can be. Just keep these two things in mind, because the two main points of man are “Man is created in God’s image” and “Man is marred by sin.”
Man is created in God’s image. Genesis accounts God’s creation of man. Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'” When God created man, He made us in His own image. This means that God put great worth into man from the very beginning, because He made man like Himself. This worth is made clear by the consequences that God mandated for a man taking another man’s life because of this reason. Genesis 9:6 says “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” This is the reason why people value their own lives and the lives of others. God has made us special, because He has made us like Him. This is one of the main reasons why humans treat other humans with dignity and worth, but man has a huge problem.
Man is marred by sin (if you remember from the God post). We’re evil. We willfully and blatantly disobey God. God has set rules for man from the very beginning, but we have broken them. We fail to meet God’s standards. There are a lot of verses on our sinfulness. Here are some:
- “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
- “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6
- “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:6
The Bible is clear that we are very wicked, and that everything that we do is affected by sin. The good things that we do are also marred by sin. There is no one who does good, not even one. We can never meet the standards of God, and we have greatly offended Him.
There are two main consequences of our sin: a judicial penalty and a relational penalty. Because of our sin, we rightly deserve punishment. The Bible says that this punishment is death. As human beings, we know that we will die one day. That is the first time we would die. The Bible says that judgment comes after that, and if we are found in sin, we will receive eternal punishment. This is the final punishment ordered by God for our sin. This is the judicial penalty.
There is also a relational penalty against God. Because of our sin, there is a separation between us and God. Have you ever wondered why there is so much evil in the world? Why does everyone hurt each other and follow their own desires? Why does there never seem to be any true rest or peace in this world? The reason for this is our separation from God. We are not right with God and are in constant opposition to God. Proverbs 13:15 says “Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the treacherous is hard.” From the beginning of the Bible, there were grave consequences for our sin. Genesis 3:8-19 gives account of man’s curse after they sinned. Pain and suffering came as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, and this same consequence extends to mankind. Since we have offended God, we do not partake in the blessings that come with being near to God but instead are separated from Him. This is the relational penalty.
To cover all my bases, you may be thinking, “I’m not a sinner” or “I’m not that bad”. “Those things won’t happen to me.” Well, there are a ton of verses that talk about God’s law. To name some of the common ones, if you have ever lied, stolen, disobeyed your parents, or coveted against something. Then, you sinned. No? Okay. If you ever felt hatred toward somebody or looked at another person lustfully, that is the equivalent to murder and adultery respectively according to Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7. No? Not even that? Okay. Then if you have not loved God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and loved your neighbor as yourself, then that covers all of God’s law and His commandments.If I can’t convince you there, then maybe think harder. There was a man in the Bible who thought he did all the right things, but he could not follow Christ (Luke 18:18-23). Everyone has sinned whether they think they did or not. There is nothing that we can do to save us from the penalties of sin.
It feels weird to end on this note, because it’s such a downer. Basically, I just told you the reason why we have value and dignity, but then we were marred by sin and suffer as a result. It gets better though. The gospel isn’t good news until you understand the bad news first, so until next time!
Okay that’s not it. I basically concluded, but there’s another point that my pastor made clear when giving this lesson on man. When we as Christians explain what guilt and shame are to a non-believer, we must be clear that the gospel is not to save them from their own personal sense of guilt and shame. It is easy for someone to feel guilty and ashamed for not being able to accomplish their own personal goals like getting a certain career, being in a relationship, or any similar endeavor. There is a danger in presenting the gospel as something that will solve their feelings of inadequacy and shame. However, that is not the case. The sinner must realize they have failed to meet God’s standards and must repent of their disobedience before God. The gospel addresses the inherent problem of man’s sin and restores their relationship with God.