Tag Archives: Christianity

Only God Can Remove Your Sin

I’m going to take a break from reviewing Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos to give you what I believe is a real-world application of apologetics – a real-world situation that has hit a little close to home with more than one person near and dear to me.

Up until the end of the 1930’s, alcoholism was considered to be a hopeless condition. The medical community realized that once the evils of alcohol had gripped a person to the point of compulsion, there was no hope. Such a person was doomed to be destroyed by alcohol with no chance of being healed. In 1939 a group calling itself Alcoholics Anonymous came out with a plan by which alcoholism could be removed from a person – a 12 step program for alcoholics to process and find their victory over this evil spirit of alcoholism. Allow me to group and abbreviate the 12 steps for the purposes of this posting.  

Step 1 is to come to the realization that you are powerless over alcohol, if left to your own resources.
Step 2 is to realize that turning to God, as you understand him, is the ONLY hope of healing from this disease.
Step 3, then, is to make the conscious decision to turn your life over to God and ask Him to take control of your will and your lives.
Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 are to take moral inventory, admitting and turning over your wrongs to God and ask that these wrongs be removed from you.
Steps 8-12 are to ask God to help you make amends for harms done, and to continue this process on a daily basis.

That sounds a lot like the problem we all have with sin in our lives. We were all born with a sin nature that separates us from God, and no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, we cannot cross the chasm between us and God of our own resources. Our condition is hopeless without turning to God, the only One who can remove our sin nature. The steps to this victory over death are the same basic steps as those of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program.

Steps to Peace with God

  1. To realize that the chasm between us and God cannot be bridged of our own power.  
    • Romans 3:23 – ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
    • Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
  2. To come to the realization that the only way out of death, our wages of sin, is to turn to Jesus Christ, who has paid the price of death for us.
    • 1 Timothy 2:5 – “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”
    • 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
  3. To make a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to turn our lives over to Him in order to cross the chasm between us and God.
    • John 1:12 – “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
    • Romans 10:9 – “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  4. To pray the Sinner’s Prayer through which we recognize our own sinful nature, repent of that sinful nature, and then to ask God to forgive us of our sins, come into our hearts and take control of our lives.
  5. From that point on, we are admonished to allow the Holy Spirit to continue bringing our sins to our conscious minds, that we can repent of them, seek forgiveness, and ask God to help us make restitution for them. And we are further admonished to pick up our cross daily.

In the very real-world situation of alcoholism, we can see that this process works to give people victory over something that left them hopeless without turning to God. In just as real a situation, and far more consequential on an eternal scale, God has given us that same opportunity for victory over our sins, and eternal life over death.

Did Jesus Raise from the Dead and How Could a Good God Send Nice People to Hell?

These two questions are difficult to answer for different reasons. The first is impossible from a natural perspective, and the second seems to contradict God’s character. If you look at the two questions together, it begs yet another question: how could God bring His own Son back from death, but not the rest of us? I’ll return to this third question after our review of Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos examining the first two.

To discuss the question of whether Jesus really raised from the dead, Bobby turns to Dr. Gary Habermas, whose life ministry has revolved around research into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, stemming from his own doubts as a young man. He revolves his defense by taking on the hallucination theory, which simply states that those who claim to have seen Jesus alive after His death were simply hallucinating. He makes the point that there is no historical evidence of any hallucination among any of the the people to whom Jesus appeared. He further makes the point that hallucination is a personal event. The theory of hallucinations breaks down when you consider the numbers of people that Jesus appeared to in different settings and different groupings. In all of these encounters, everyone that met Him were convinced that He was real and that He was who He said He was, and the theory of hallucinations breaks down. On top of all of that, it is historically documented that the tomb was, in fact, empty. A Roman guard was established at the tomb to assure that no one could steal His body, to make a false resurrection claim. Jesus was dead; the Roman government and the Jewish hierarchy wanted to make sure that His message died with Him. And, yet, His tomb was empty. That fact throws the hallucination theory out the window. The death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most provably documented events in all of world history.

So, if God could bring His own Son back from death, how could He send nice people to hell? To discuss this question, Bobby turns back to Frank Turek. Frank begins by breaking down the question, stating that God does not send anyone to hell. But, He is too loving to take people’s free will away and make them accept His gift for eternal life in heaven. He makes the point that not everyone wants to spend eternity in heaven. Now, they may not fully understand the alternative of hell, but the idea of spending eternity with Jesus in heaven doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, especially those who have spent their entire lives running from Him.

What hell represents is that man is free and God is love. God will not make us love Him because that would violate everything that He is and everything that love is. But, we have to ask ourselves: why did God put His own Son through what He did? Why were the last instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples (present and future) before He ascended back into heaven that we should take His message to all the world (Matthew 28:18-20)? Why does God’s Word tell us that His will is that none should perish, but all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)? To wrap it up, God gave man the right to free will, which Adam and Eve spoiled by their own desires in the Garden of Eden, condemning us all to to a sinful, rebellious nature, for which God sentenced us to death. Then God put that sentence on Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, and has given us every opportunity to accept it so that we won’t go to hell of our own free will. And He did it all out of love.

Let’s go back to the third question that I postulated in the first paragraph: If God could resurrect His own Son from death, why not the rest of us? The simple answer is that God has given all of us the opportunity for resurrection – not immediate and bodily, as with the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ after His death. But, everything about His whole life, death and resurrection was exactly that: to give everyone an opportunity to be saved to eternal life. All you have to do is recognize your need for salvation, turn to God, and accept the death of Jesus Christ as the payment for your sins and His resurrection as your assurance of being raised to eternal life. It’ all right there for you to accept. Go to Steps to Peace with God for more information.