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Does God really care?

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What is the Truth?

You know thats a question often asked by many of us at one time, or another, in our lives. We ask ourselves, "why all this hardship", "violence", "dispair in this world"? We often come to the conclusion that God does not care, if He even "exists". Its an easy conclusion to come to. If all you have ever known is pain and sorrow than its easy to either be angry with Him, hate Him, or deny His existence. We are not willing to look at the choices people make as being the problem. Nor are we willing to take responsibility for the choices we make, especially when there are bad results. If God created us and this world is in such a mess than we conclude that it is all His fault. Afteral "if He cared than things would be much better, yes?"
 
 The problem is we need to look outside ourselves and look for the answers. Instead of instantly blaming God we need to try and understand what is really going on around us. The answer is found in God's word.
 
 First we need to go back to the beginning. You see God created man and woman. The first man being Adam. The first woman being Eve. God created them to have fellowship and, a loving relationship with Him. In order for this to be a "real relationship" He gave them a free will. Afterall who would want a relationship in which you control the other persons choices, actions, emotions, etc.? Afterall all you would end up with is a "robot" that is  programed to do your every bidding, etc. That's not a "real realtionship" is it? God wanted a "real relationship" and for this to happen there had to be "free will" (choice, etc.). He wanted a loving relationship with them, but it needed to be by their choice. He gave them (Adam and Eve) the beautiful garden of Eden in which to live in. There they could have fellowship with Him and have everything around them that they needed. Although He gave them free will He did give them commands which would protect them, not harm them. It was up to them to be obedient. Afterall He had given them "free will". They could make their own choices.
 
This is what the Bible says about God placing Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden:
 
"Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." 

                                 (Genesis 2:15-18 NKJV)
 
So God commanded the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he did he would die. God did this to protect the man from death. This is where we have God's warning about what would happen if the man disobeyed Him.
 
After God had commanded Adam He created "Eve" the first woman:
 
"And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

    And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
    And Adam said:

       "This is now bone of my bones
       And flesh of my flesh;
       She shall be called Woman,
       Because she was taken out of Man."
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
    And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."       
                
                                  (Genesis 2:18-25 NKJV)
 
 
So God had created the man and the woman and gave them the garden of Eden in which to live in. The one thing they were commanded to do was to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Unfortunately they did not listen. Instead they were "encticed" by the devil to sin against God.
Now someone may be confused and ask, "well what is sin?" Sin is rebellion against God and His commandments. You see God does not give us commandments to harm, or hurt us. He gives them to us for our own well being. Much like a father keeping the interests of his child at heart. The father may say, "do not walk out in front of cars!" What happens if the child does? The child will be badly hurt, or worse, die! Anytime we disobey God we "sin against Him". Some might say, well what about those who do not follow, or know God? Whether you believe in God, or not, sin is sin. There is something else also that you must consider. Even if we have not known Him there are still the natural things around us that should prompt us to seek Him. Many end up following other things that are not God. Such as worshipping animals, or other things.
 
This is what God's word says about knowing God through His creation:
 
 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
 
    Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
 
    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
 
                                      (Romans 1:18-32 NKJV)
 
 
You see even if we try to deny Him, or have not been raised to know Him there are still His invisible attributes. These attributes would be "creation" itself. An example would be looking at a sunrise, or sunset and asking yourself, "I wonder who created this?" Then you would seek God out. By asking others or asking (praying to) Him yourself. It takes pursuit. You see our ignorance of God does not make Him "non-existent". 
 
 
So here we have Adam and Eve sinning against God by eating the fruit they were commanded not to:
 
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
 
    And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die."'
 
    Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
 
    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings."         
                                             (Genesis 3:1-7 NKJV)
 
 
So here we have Adam and Eve disobeying God. The serpent (Satan) temps Eve with the fruit and she in turn gives it to Adam. What happens next? They receive punishment for their sin. Remember God had told them not to eat of the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" for when they did, it would result in death. God had warned them, they did not listen.
 
After they disobeyed Him they tried to hide themselves:
 
"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
 
    Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"
 
    So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."  
 
                                       (Genesis 3:8-10 NKJV)
 
 
Here we have Adam and Eve hiding from God, knowing they were wrong. Much like us? We run as far away from God as possible, but yet we expect Him to "give in" to our demands. We want everything "our way", without considering what God thinks. There is something we have to understand about God. He is a righteous God and as a righteous God He cannot tolerate sin. It is against His nature. He loves us like a father, but as any father will punish so will He. The difference is, God is a "consistent" Father, He is unwavering. We as humans tend to "waver" and change our minds, and we tend to do it often, but God being righteous, will not change His righteousness.
 
So God judges Adam and Eve for the sin that has now been commited. He gave them "free will" and now they would have to "own" their sin:
 
"And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"
 
    Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
 
    And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
 
    The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
 
    So the LORD God said to the serpent:
     "Because you have done this,
       You are cursed more than all cattle,
       And more than every beast of the field;
       On your belly you shall go,
       And you shall eat dust
       All the days of your life.
       And I will put enmity
       Between you and the woman,
       And between your seed and her Seed;
       He shall bruise your head,
       And you shall bruise His heel."
 
      To the woman He said:
 
    "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
       In pain you shall bring forth children;
       Your desire shall be for your husband,
       And he shall rule over you."
 
    Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, "You shall not eat of it':
   
       "Cursed is the ground for your sake;
       In toil you shall eat of it
       All the days of your life.
       Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
       And you shall eat the herb of the field.
       In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
       Till you return to the ground,
       For out of it you were taken;
       For dust you are,
       And to dust you shall return."
 
    And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
 
    Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
 
    Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"-- therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life."
 
                                     (Genesis 3:11-24 NKJV)
 
 
Here we see Satan is judged for his part and so are Adam and Eve. She is now to bear children in pain and Adam is made to "till" (farm) the ground from which he came. They are cast out of the garden and they will eventually physically die for their disobedience.
 
Many will say that this was harsh, but you have to understand that if God is a righteous God, He cannot let sin go unpunished. To do so would make Him "wavering". They were given a "free will" and as such they would have to "own" the results of the choice they made.
 
Now because of Adam and Eves' actions sin comes into the world. With it comes strife, murder, sickness, death, etc. etc.etc.
 
Now there are many who say that God is a "wrathful" God and that He is unloving. Not true though. In order to better understand Him we must look at His word (the Bible) and understand some key things.
 
First, God in the Old testament is not the "wrathful" God many see Him as. He is merciful and loving, but He is still a righteous God. He cannot go against His own nature.
 
You see God chose the Israelites to be His own nation. A nation that would follow Him. He first chose Abram (later God changed His name to "abraham") and told him to leave his native country and follow Him:
 
"Now the LORD had said to Abram:

       "Get out of your country,
       From your family
       And from your father's house,
       To a land that I will show you.
       I will make you a great nation;
       I will bless you
       And make your name great;
       And you shall be a blessing.
       I will bless those who bless you,
       And I will curse him who curses you;
       And in you all the families of the earth shall be 
       blessed."                                         
                                 (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV)
 
So God chooses Abraham to make him a "great nation". So here we have Abraham who eventually becomes the nation of Israel. Now being that God is righteous and that He "stays righteous" God gives the nation of Israel the Law and the commandments. Here are the ten commandments:
 
  "And God spoke all these words, saying:

       "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out   of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 
       "You shall have no other gods before Me.
       "You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
       "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
       "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
       "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
       "You shall not murder.
       "You shall not commit adultery.
       "You shall not steal.
       "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
       "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's"
 
                                (Exodus 20:1-17 NKJV)
 
 
So here we have the ten commandments. God also gave them laws that they were to follow, but we will not cover these here.
Since God has given them the commandments and they at times disobeyed them God had to punish the sin. And as times went on people kept sinning and God in His mercy gave them a way out. The priests could atone (make sacrifices) for their sins, but they kept turning their backs on Him. They kept sinning. Not much different than it is now? We as the human race have always been stubborn, disobedient, we like to do "our own thing". Now since He is righteous and will not go against His own nature He gives them a way out that will not go back on His word. Knowing that they would never get it right He gave them a way in which their sins could be "once and for all" forgiven, by one sacrifice (that would be Jesus).
 
Through the prohets of Israel God spoke many things to His people. He rebuked them for their sin, He encouraged them and He spoke to them of salvation. Isaiah the prophet led (inspired) by the Lord spoke of salvation to the people.
 
This salvation would come through Jesus, the very one, and only Son of God:
 
 "Who has believed our report? 
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, 
And as a root out of dry ground. 
He has no form or comeliness; 
And when we see Him, 
There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 
He is despised and rejected by men, 
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; 
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
    
Surely He has borne our griefs 
And carried our sorrows; 
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, 
Smitten by God, and afflicted. 
But He was wounded for our transgressions, 
He was bruised for our iniquities; 
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, 
And by His stripes we are healed. 
All we like sheep have gone astray; 
We have turned, every one, to his own way; 
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
     
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, 
Yet He opened not His mouth; 
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, 
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, 
So He opened not His mouth. 
He was taken from prison and from judgment, 
And who will declare His generation? 
For He was cut off from the land of the living; 
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 
And they made His grave with the wicked-- 
But with the rich at His death, 
Because He had done no violence, 
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; 
He has put Him to grief. 
When You make His soul an offering for sin, 
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, 
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. 
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, 
For He shall bear their iniquities. 
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, 
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, 
Because He poured out His soul unto death, 
And He was numbered with the transgressors, 
And He bore the sin of many, 
And made intercession for the transgressors."
 
                                             (Isaiah 53:1-12 NKJV)
 
 
So here we have Isaiah the prophet speaking of Jesus. That Jesus would die for our sins and would be an offereing for our sin. You see many see God as being "heartless" and cruel, but who do you know would offer their own child as an offering for sin? It seems strange to us as people that God would do this for us, but He does. Remember He is a righteous God and He loves us, but there has to be a payment for sin. He cannot go against His own righteous nature.
 
This is what John the apostle said of God's "way out" for us (Jesus):
 
 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
 
    "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
 
                                          (John 3:16-21 NKJKV)
 
 
Here we have the way out for us! His name is Jesus, the Son of God!! John the apostle in this says that "he who does not believed is already condemned". Why? Because he does not believe in Jesus. You see Jesus is the only "way out" for our sin. Many have, and will continue to say, "but what about the other religions?" Well God made it clear in His commandments that we are not to have other gods besides Him. God gave us Jesus as a way out, there is no other. Others may say, "what if your a good person?" That does not work either. People have tried that for years!
 
The prophet Isaiah spoke of our "works" as human beings: 
 
"But we are all like an unclean thing, 
 And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; 
 We all fade as a leaf, 
 And our iniquities, like the wind, 
 Have taken us away. 
 And there is no one who calls on Your name, 
 Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; 
 For You have hidden Your face from us, 
 And have consumed us because of our iniquities*" 
 
*iniquity is sin                   
 
                                     (Isiaiah 64:6-7 NKJV)
 
 
Works will not bring us forgiveness. Other religions will not bring us forgiveness. Only through Jesus can we be forgiven.
 
Jesus Himself said that He is the only way to the Father (God):
 
 "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me"
 
                                          (John 14:6 NKJV)
 
 
You see there are no other , "paths", "ways" to God. There is only one. The way of Jesus Christ. What about all those other religions? Well do you remember we first talked about God's hidden attributes being "clearly seen" in creation:
 
 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things."
 
                                    (Romans 1:18-23 NKJV)
 
 
We can see from this that people began to worship "man made images" whether it is an idol in the image of a "man", or "animal" or anything. God wants to have a "pure" relationship with us, but He is a righteous God. He will accept no less than commitment to Him and no other gods, idols, ect. The only way for this to happen is for us to accept what Jesus did for us on the cross. He is the "only" payment for sin. God offers it to all, no one is "excluded' from this offer. The choice is up to us. We all have "free will" and as such we all have to "own" our own choices.
 
In the passage that we read from Isaiah it says that Jesus was "led as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53). This is confusing for most people to understand, but in the Old Testament when God gave the Israelites the laws there were provisions. The slaughter of animals for sacrificial purposes was to "atone" for the sins of the people. This was done on a continuos basis. However when Jesus was sacrificed on the cross it was for one time, and one time only. He being the "perfect" sacrifice, the Son of God, had only to be sacrificed once. As it it says in the book of Hebrews:
 
 "not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
 
                                    (Hebrews 9:25-28 NKJV)
 
 
Its hard in our human nature to grasp such a thing. God sending His Son to die for us? He does though. We as a society, and as a world are so use to "earning" everything that we have that the very thought of God "giving" us forgiveness is unbelievable for us. He does though. The question is do we accept His free gift? Or do we dismiss it as nonsense, or foolishness?
 
The apostle Paul in the Bible says this:
 
  "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
                                  
                              (1 Corinthians 1:20-25 NKJV)
 
 
God gives us a gift that we cannot earn. Many of us see this as being impossible, or absurd. See God knows that we cannot earn forgiveness on our own. Many have tried, but have failed. We have a hard time with "accepting" anything free from anyone, don't we? If someone were to come up to you and hand you a large sum of money would you accept it as a gift with having no alterior motives? If we were all honest we would all probably say, "whats the catch?" See though, thats what God does, He gives us a free gift and all that He asks is that we really, sincerely want it!
 
When we went over John 3:16 it said; "he who believes in me shall not perish, but have everlasting life". There is something we need to understand with this. The word "believe" in the greek Bible is "episteuo", which means to "commit to trust", "put in trust with". In other words to truly believe in Jesus means to "commit your trust to Him". Its not simply enough to say "I believe". Anyone can offer "lip service", but what God is looking for is a; "I believe and Im commiting my trust to you" (putting my trust in you, etc.). In other words you are believing in His Son for your salvation and well being.
 
 
We may think that God is distant, far removed from us, but nothing could be more untrue than this way of thinking. When we see the things going on around us its easy to blame Him, but if we have an understanding "why things are the way they are", the picture comes more into "focus". Many will say, "just give it a chance , you have nothing to loose, but everything to gain". This is true, but it cannot be "half-hearted". You see God wants "all of our heart", not just part of it, but every part! We tend to be so stubborn though we believe that if we give our lives to Him than we will "never have fun again", Will have to "follow rules", etc. etc. etc. Some may say, "I dont want to be a slave", but did you know that we are all already slaves? of either our own sin, or God's slave? This is what Paul in the book of Romans in the Bible says about "slavery":
 
  "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?"
 
                                           (Romans 6:16 NKJV)
 
 
See we all area allready slaves, whether it be the Lord's, or own sin! We are either slave to sin, leading to death (separation from God in hell), or slave to righteousness (God's slave), leading to eternal life.
What many do not understand though is that when we give our lives to God He really sets us free! Free to live as He meant for us, our "good" and not our "demise".
 
As people wee are selfish and if left to our own devices we would destroy ourselves. Look at nuclear energy for one. It can be used for some good purposes. However it also has a very dangerouse side to it also. It has the potential of mass destruction. Think of it. In society we have murder, rape, alcoholism, sexual diseases, abuses (whether it be physical, verbal, molestation), etc. etc. etc. We are our own worse enemies. With this I also want to "make clear" though, that salvation is offered to E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Regardless of what you may have done.
 
 
Does God care about us? Absolutely! Despite our sinful nature, our selfishness, our "pridefulness" He still chooses to be a part of our lives. We have a free will though and as such we make our own choices. We "reap" the results of the choices we make. There are also the "results" of the choices made by others, those we know, those who came before us and as such we live in what becomes of these (results of, etc.). Gods knows us, He knows our hearts. He knows if we are truly His, or not. We can lie to ourselves about our own actions, and the state of our own "hearts", but God knows. He knows us better than we know our own selves. For instance when you do something wrong do you have an "inner-conviction"? Do you know what your doing is wrong? More than likely your heart has been convicted at one time, or another and God has spoken to you. It might be a "feeling", a still "small voice", but in whatever way, you have felt it. Many of us will "set it aside", call it something else, or ignore it, but it is always there.
 
We become so angry with God. We do not want to "acknowledge" our own sin, neither do we want to "release" Him from what we think He is responsible for, this worlds problems, etc. We may think that well, "if God loves this world than things would be better". We become so angry and dismayed with all the suffering in this world. Ours and the rest of the world's. "If things could just be different" all would be well, we think. Could He intervene? Well He could, and sometimes He does, but He gave us a free will. If He were to intervene everytime then where would our "free will" be? If we made choices only to have them "counter-acted" than "free will" would no longer be "free will". Think about it! God does care though, He cares very much. We think that the worse things that can happen to us are on this earth, but there is much, much worse. God knows though, what would be much worse for us. The disease in this world, murder, immorality, abuse is absolutley heart breaking, but God knows what could be much, much worse. For us what we see in this world is as bad as it gets. We do not see beyond this, but He does. You see God knows that the worse thing that could happen to us is not a disase, or abuse, but it is eternal separation from Him in Hell. The sufferening here as much as it hurts is temporal (temporary), hell is eternal. We have to take this seriously:
 
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
 
                            (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV)
 
 
This is the truth. No matter what we may want to believe this is reality. However, God wants to "bring us back to Him", "reconcile us" to Him, but in order for this to happen there has to be a change of heart. We have to realize that we are "sinners" and as such we will be punished for our sin and justly so. This Is what the apostle Paul said of all of us:
 
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
 
                                         (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
 
None of us are inoccent. We have all sinned! Anything that we do, or have done, that disobeys God is rebellion. Rebellion against God is sin. We are all guilty of rebelling agaisnt God:
 
  "As it is written: 

       "There is none righteous, no, not one; 
       There is none who understands;
       There is none who seeks after God. 
       They have all turned aside;
       They have together become unprofitable;
       There is none who does good, no, not one." 
       "Their throat is an open tomb;
       With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; 
       "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 
       "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 
       "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 
       Destruction and misery are in their ways; 
       And the way of peace they have not known." 
       "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
 
                                     (Romans 3:10-18 NKJV)
 
 
We are all guilty of sin. We can makes excuses, but excuses will not bring us forgiveness. God is righteous, He will punish sin. He cannot change His nature. As Paul said in the book of Romans:
 
""For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 
                                     (Romans 6:23 NKJV)
 
 
Only coming before God, humbly, can we hope to receive mercy and forgiveness. That forgiveness comes only through Jesus, His one and only Son. Some have a mistaken idea that we have to be perfect to come to God. That is a misconception.
 
We need to realize that we do not have to be "perfect" to be able to accept God's free gift:
 
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
 
                                          (Romans 5:6-8 NKJV)
 
 
God knows we cannot get it right! So what does He do? He offers His own Son to "atone" (pay for) our own sin!! Now thats love!!!
 
As we spoke about before In the gospel of John:
 
 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
 
                                          (John 3:16 NKJV)
 
 
So God loves us enough that He will give us forgiveness if we "believe" (trust) in His Son.
 
Some may say though that they are not "good enough", but did you know that, that has NO bearing on whether He will accept you if you turn to Him:
 
"And it shall come to pass
       That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
       Shall be saved.'     
 
                                     (Acts 2:21 NKJV)
 
 
 
God will accept A-N-Y-O-N-E that comes to Him! In fact Paul the apostle who wrote most of the New Testament said this about himself:
 
  "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life."
 
                                  (1 Timothy 1:15-16 NJKV)
 
 
Paul (once known as Saul) himself said he was the "chief of all sinners" because he had once been a "persecutor" of the church. In fact he had "hunted down" believers and brought them to stand trial (for their faith in Christ). In fact many believers were scared of him because of the persecution that he was a part of. Paul was very "zealous" in his efforts to try and bring believers to trial. He thought that what he was doing was right. He thought he was serving God. In fact He even held the coats of those who "stoned" the first christian martyr Stephen:
 
  "Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
 
                                              (Acts 7:57-60 NKJV)
 
 
Paul, when he became a believer ended up writing most of the New Testament! God can save anyone, He can turn anyone's life around, if they only sincerely ask!!

Not only must we realize we are sinners and in need of forgiveness, we must "repent". Which means we have to come to the conclusion that our sin is wrong and must have, not only remorse for it, but want to follow God's ways. God will accept anyone who comes to Him. Anyone who "truly" and sincerely wants forgiveness for their sin. Anyone who truly wants to follow Him.
 
As Peter said in the book of Acts in the Bible:
 
 "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
                                                  
                                                    (Acts 2:38-39 NKJV)
 
 
You have to repent. Forgiveness does not come without repentence. In other words realize that you have sin in your life, that it is wrong, realize that your just reward for your sin is judgement by God, truly want to turn away from it, that is reject the sin in your life, ask the Lord for forgiveness and ask for Jesus Christ to come into your life and become "Lord of you life".
 
It wil not always be easy, you will still make mistakes (sin) sometimes and He will be there to forgive you when you ask in sincerity. You have The Lord to walk with you everyday of your life, you will N-E-V-E-R be alone again (He will always be with you), He will help you live your life the way He would have you, what's best for you and His purpose in your life. Most of all you will be with Him for eternity if you keep following Him!!! Now Im not saying "perfectly" (completely without sin) following Him, but being faithful. We all make mistakes. When you sin, ask for forgiveness, get up and keep on going!!! Often times people will make it complicated by trying to convince others that they must "earn" salvation. Nothing however could be further away from the truth. When you accept Jesus as Lord its done! This is what the book of Ephesians in the Bible says about salvation:
 
  "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
 
                                       (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)
 
 
 
You will still make mistakes, that's reality!. That's why Jesus died for us!! because we cannot get it right oursleves, that's why He did it for us!! Its by putting our faith (trust) in Him that we are forgiven, not by anything that we do, works, etc.
 
 
So this is what we must realize and believe to receive forgiveness:
 
That we are sinners:
 
  "As it is written:  "There is none righteous, no, not one;....." 
 
                                        (Romans 3:10 NKJV)
 
  "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,..."
 
                                        (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
 
That sin will bring judgement:
 
  "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 
                                          (Romans 6:23 NKJV)
 
That we must repent:
 
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,"
 
                                                                (Acts 3:19 NKJV)
 
That Jesus died for our sin:
 
 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
 
                                          (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
 
That we must believe (trust) in Jesus to receive (forgiveness and) salvation:
 
  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
 
                                              (John 3:16 NKJV)
 
  "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
 
                                     (Romans 10:9-10 NKJV)
 
 
 
Do you want to be forgiven? Have a life change? Do you want to have a relationship with our awesome Creator and Savior, the author of life and of all things?
 
This is a prayer that you can pray to accept Jesus as "Lord and Savior" and make you a "son", or "daughter" of the Father:
 
 
Dear Lord,
                  I humbly come to you, knowing that I am a sinner and in need of your grace and forgiveness. I confess to you that Im am sinful and my just punishement is your judgment of my sin. I believe that your Son Jesus died on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world. I repent (turn) from my sin and ask that you forgive me and I receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior for now and forevermore, In Jesus' precious name, Amen.
 
 
Now its important that you find a church body in which to fellowship. Its also important that you are baptized as soon as you get the chance. The baptism is an "outward" profession of your fatih in Christ. The water will not save you, your faith in Jesus does, however it was a commandment of Jesus to be baptized as a public profession and as such should be obeyed. Baptism is symbolic of "death and rebirth". It is a public profession of your belief (trust) in Jesus.
 
 
Its all by faith!!! All you have to do is.... put your trust in Him!!
 
 
 
If I can be of any further assistance, or you have any questions please contact me.

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
POHOM
 
Any questions, comments, prayer requests?
 

POHOM Columbus, Ohio
 
 
 
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