The universe and life were designed and created and are continually upheld by an
awesomely beautiful mind and overwhelming power we call God.
He has spoken and acted for millennia of human history, as recorded in the Bible.
He is pure and good and loving and is worthy of all worship
and rightly deserves our total devotion and perfect willing obedience.
But I am--at the root--a rebel against his authority over my life.
Unfortunately this is also true of all people.
One consequence of our rebellion against God is that we have lost perspective.
We cannot see him, and some begin to suppose he does not even exist.
Some hope they are only disobeying rules made up by other men.
Many are content to ignore him and most are indifferent to his prerogatives.
But we cannot so easily escape our obligation to our creator and owner.
God will call to account ALL rebels, from the least to the most heinous,
and give them the just punishment for their disobedience,
which from God's unique perspective is essentially arrogant insolence.
He will do this regardless of whether we feel he is justified in doing so.
We cannot reliably assess the severity of our offenses against him,
or even fairly judge what our `just punishment' should truly be.
Physical death is a sentence God has already imposed on all people;
yet God has threatened something seven times worse than that, and its horror
cannot be adequately imagined until it will be too late to avoid that fate.
The days in which we are now living will in retrospect seem to have been
but a brief interlude before this terrible judgment confronted us.
God sent his Son Jesus Christ to warn us, and to provide a way out for us.
God is determined to uphold his perfect justice and yet he loves all people,
so he abandoned his only Son to evil torturers to do their worst.
Jesus was obedient to the horrifying bitter end--death and burial--
(so great was his zeal and devotion to his Father's will and his love for us),
and so God raised him from the dead after only three days in the grave,
and afterwards many reliable witnesses together saw him alive, and touched him.
God has now exalted Jesus forever as supreme ruler and judge over everything,
but at present he is hidden from us and will remain so
until the time of his physical return to earth to judge and to rule.
This supreme ruler now makes an offer of amnesty to everyone who will listen,
and here are his terms. His coming waits to give you a chance to respond to them.
If you will admit to *1
and turn away from *2
your rebellion towards God
and submit unconditionally *3
to Jesus, (pray, for God knows your every thought!)
and put all your hope in him alone, in what he did, his death and resurrection
(not trusting at all in your own 'good' deeds as if they were
helping to make you satisfactory and acceptable to God),
then Jesus---the judge---will accept his own suffering and death in your stead
as sufficient punishment to uphold his own perfect sense of justice in your case
and will forgive all your rebellions, past, present, and even future.
God will enable you to gradually become obedient in practice
even as he considers you now and forever as perfectly acceptable as Jesus is.
He will eventually give you objective and unbreakable purity and innocence,
the perfect virginity you thought was hopelessly lost (or unattainable),
a childlike sense of wonder and joy, and a heart of love and goodness like his.
He will give you eternal life together with Jesus and a cosmic destiny in
the worship and service of (and loving intimacy with) the eternal God.
But if any human being does not personally accept these terms as stated above
and become reconciled to God through Jesus Christ before he or she dies,
or before Jesus returns (he warned this would happen unexpectedly),
then at the time of judgment Jesus---the judge---will hand that person
irrevocably over to his Father's wrath. The Father will pour out on that rebel
a measure of the eternal suffering in his own heart which came when
(because of love) he abandoned Jesus, his only innocent Son, to a tortured death.
It is only rational to fear to treat God's sacrifice of his own Son as worthless.
Personally, I am happy to accept God's terms, and know him to be the source
of the water of life, for which I am thirsty; I have found him to be trustworthy.
"Whoever is thirsty, let him come;
and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."