actually, you are a bad person ...
... that is, of course, depending on how you define
"bad." There's your normal, everyday definition, but we also need to know God's
definition, according to the Bible.
First, lets look at the normal, everyday, definitions of
"bad" and "good":
Mean, cruel, hateful, sadistic, deceitful, etc.
Nice, compassionate, loving, caring, honest, etc.
Most people would probably see themselves as having some
good and some bad within their personalities. Maybe more good than bad, maybe more bad
than good. It might be said that even the worst people have some good qualities,
and even the best people have some bad qualities.
I guess I can go along with that, to a point; however,
God's definitions of "good" and "bad" are quite different:
"Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just
one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (James 2:10) "All have turned away,
they have together become worthless ... All have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God." (Romans 3:12, 23)
"No one is good--except God alone." (Mark 10:18)
That last statement was made by Jesus himself. When His
disciples heard Him say that, they asked, "Who then can be saved?"
(Mark 10:26) You might wonder the same thing.
Jesus answered this question by saying, "With man
this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (v. 27)
In other words, no one is "good enough"
to pass God's moral standards, and no one can "save" themselves; only
God Himself can save a person!
Of course this leads to the next question...
What does "saved" mean, anyway??
Many religions and philosophies teach about the ultimate
level of existence, the perfect condition of spiritual peace, nirvana, self-actualization,
In biblical Christianity, salvation is a huge concept
with many facets, including the following (these are the actual theological terms of
Romans 8:29-30, followed by a more "non-theologian"-friendly definition):
- Foreknowledge -- God intimately knows and
loves you before you're even born.
- Predestination -- God gives you an
eternal destiny before you're born.
- Calling -- God lets you hear about Jesus,
and leads you to put your trust and faith in Him.
- Justification -- As soon as you put your
full trust and faith in Jesus Christ as the One who took your punishment (that is, that He
is your "Savior"), and the One who is your absolute authority in life (that is,
that He is your "Lord"), God gives you Jesus' perfect moral record, and eternally
declares you "not guilty."
- Glorification -- At a certain time in the
future, God gives you a new, perfected body that will never get sick or die. This is
an absolute guarantee.
Pretty amazing "benefits package," if you ask
me. Now you might wonder...
How can I possibly get all that?
Every religious and philosophical system has its own path
to "ultimate fulfillment." In order to reach a "higher level," one
must discipline their thoughts and actions in such a way as to reach this goal, or
- Buddhists strive for their goal through chanting
- Muslims strive for their goal by submitting to
the will of Allah.
- Anarchists strive for their goal by rebelling
- Hedonists strive for their goal by seeking
- Catholics strive for their goal by keeping the
- Many others who consider themselves
"Christian" strive for their goal through regular church attendance, and
doing good things.
- Mystics and occultists strive for their by
seeking supernatural experiences.
- Atheists strive for their goal by disproving the
existence of God.
I could go on, but you probably get the idea by now.
In the face of all these human religions and
philosophies, biblical Christianity teaches something completely opposite:
"It is by grace you have been saved, through
faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no
one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
No matter how hard you try, you can't save yourself.
Still, to receive the gift, there is something you need to do, right here, right now:
- Repent -- This means to "change your
mind" about how you live your life. Stop living for yourself and begin living for the
God of the Bible.
- Put your full trust and faith in Jesus Christ
-- Not only that He exists, that He is the Son of God, that He died, was buried, and
brought back to life, but also that He is your only hope for salvation, and that He is
your highest authority.
That's all you can do; God will do the rest, just watch!
One more quote, from Jesus:
"All [of the people] that the Father gives me will
come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." (John
6:37, emphasis mine)
If you want, here's a good
link for more information about salvation.
Let me know
if you put your trust in Jesus today!