Christ Came to Save Sinners:
From Creation to Christ
Who are sinners? Why did Christ come to save them?
To answer these questions, we must go back to the beginning. At about 4,000 B.C., God created the universe in six twenty-four-hour days (Genesis 1–2; Genesis 2:4–25 mainly gives more details about the sixth day of Creation). In the Ten Commandments, God said, “[‘]For in six days the LORD made [the] heaven[s] and [the] earth, the sea, and all that [is in them], and rested the seventh day[’]” (Exodus 20:11a).
After God created the earth, plants, heavenly objects (the sun, moon and stars) and animals, He created man (humans) on the sixth day of Creation (Genesis 1:26–27). Man was created in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27), which made man unique from animals. Adam, the first man, was created from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and Eve, the first woman, was formed from his side (Genesis 2:22).
God created Adam and Eve to have a right relationship with Him (Genesis 3:8). He told them to have children, fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over all the animals (Genesis 1:28). At the end of the sixth day, God said that His entire creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
What happened to this relationship and all of Creation?
God created Satan as one of the angels (Colossians 1:16). Satan sinned by rebelling against God through pride (1 Timothy 3:6). Further, Satan persuaded one-third of God’s created angels to sin by rebellion too (Revelation 12:4). To sin means to disobey God in thought, word or action.
Appearing as a serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), Satan tempted and deceived Eve into disobeying God’s command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16–17; 3:1–5). So, Eve sinned by eating the tree’s fruit and gave some to Adam who also sinned by eating it (Genesis 3:6). Adam listened to Eve and then sinned (Genesis 3:17), yet he was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14).
Adam and Eve’s disobedience dramatically changed them and their relationship with God (Genesis 3:7–13). As soon as they sinned against God, they died spiritually which caused a broken relationship with God, as shown by their attempt to hide from God (Genesis 3:8). In spite of their sin, God searched for and questioned Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9–13). Their blame-shifting answers to God’s questions revealed that they had also instantly received a tendency to sin (sin nature) when Adam and Eve initially disobeyed (Genesis 3:12–13).
Then, God judged Satan, Eve and Adam (Genesis 3:14–19). God judged Satan by lovingly promising to provide man with the Christ (Messiah) who would defeat Satan (Genesis 3:15). God judged Eve by making childbirth painful and He judged Adam by making his work to produce food difficult (Genesis 3:16–19). God also judged Adam by telling him that he would physically die (Genesis 3:19). Man experiences physical death since man sinned in Adam, who was the representative of man (Romans 5:12–14).
God also cursed the rest of His creation resulting in its futility and slavery to corruption (Romans 8:20–21). The rest of His creation consists of animals and objects without animal life.
Were there later events that also impacted history?
In Noah’s time, man was extremely wicked (Genesis 6:5–6). As a result, God decided to destroy man and land-dwelling animals with a global flood with an exception (Genesis 6–9). Noah found grace (unmerited favor) from God and had a close relationship with Him (Genesis 6:8–9). God told Noah to build a big ark to rescue Noah and his family and God’s chosen number of each land-dwelling animal from the Flood (Genesis 6:13–7:16). Noah’s family consisted of him and his wife and his three sons and their wives (eight people).
The Flood began (Genesis 7:11) 120 years after God’s first declaration of judgment (Genesis 6:3, 7). The Flood covered the entire earth including the mountains at that time (Genesis 7:17–20). Outside of the ark, every person and land-dwelling animal died (Genesis 7:21–23). Noah and those with him lived in the ark for a little more than one year (Genesis 7–8).
After the Flood, God told Noah and his sons to have children and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1). Noah’s three sons had children (Genesis 10). Eventually, man, who shared one common language, migrated to a plain and dwelt there (Genesis 11:1–2). They also decided to build a city and a tower to make a name for themselves and to stay together in one place (Genesis 11:3–4). God’s command to fill the earth was deliberately disobeyed.
In judgment, God confused their one common language, by giving people different languages (Genesis 10:5, 20, 31), to cause misunderstanding between people (Genesis 11:5–7). He also scattered man over the earth (Genesis 11:8). The place became known as Babel (Genesis 11:9). People groups with a new common language formed the initial nations (Genesis 10).
God chose the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to become the nation of Israel (Genesis 11:27–50:26). The Christ (Messiah) would be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 22:18), Judah (49:10), Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) and David (Jeremiah 23:5).
What are some of the characteristics of God?
God has many perfect characteristics. God is triune (Matthew 28:19); one God exists in three Persons – Father, Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. God is holy (Isaiah 6:3); He is set apart from every created thing and absolutely separate from sin. God is eternal (Psalm 90:2); He has no beginning or end. God is just or righteous (Psalm 11:7); He always does what is right and fair. God is sovereign (Daniel 4:34–35, 37); He has supreme authority over all things. God is all-powerful (Jeremiah 32:17), all-knowing (Psalm 147:5) and everywhere present (Jeremiah 23:24). God has other perfect traits.
How can I have a right relationship with God?
Before you can have a right relationship with God, you must understand your current standing with Him.
As a result of Adam’s sin, man is born spiritually dead and with a sin nature. Spiritual death separates man from a right relationship with God (Matthew 8:21–22; John 3:1–8). The sin nature influences man to sin (Psalm 51:5; Galatians 5:19–21a).
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, declares that everyone is a sinner in God’s sight (Romans 1:18–3:20): “[F]or we have [previously charged] both Jews and Greeks [(mankind: humans)], that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none [who] understand[s], there is none [who] seek[s] after God. They [have] all [turned aside], they [have] together become [useless]; there is none [who] doe[s] good, no, not one. Their throat is an open [grave]; with their tongues they have [practiced] deceit; the poison of asps [(venomous snakes)] 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. … [F]or there is no difference: For all have sinned, and [fall] short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:9–18, 22b–23).
Ultimately, all sins are against God (Psalm 51:4), and He hates sin (Psalm 5:4; Proverbs 6:16–19).
Sin has a penalty (Isaiah 66:24). If you have not been saved from the penalty for sin, then you cannot have a right relationship with God and you are currently an unsaved person (unbeliever).
What is the penalty for sin?
The penalty for sin is eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. At physical death, the spirit is separated from the body (James 2:26). Unsaved people’s spirits are sent to Hades at physical death to suffer torment (Luke 16:19–31) and await the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11–15).
God the Father has given all judgment to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:22). At various judgments (Ezekiel 20:33–38; Matthew 25:31–46; Revelation 20:11–15), He will judge unsaved people (spirit and body) according to their works (Romans 2:6; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 20:12–13). After these various judgments, all unsaved people will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 13:40–42; 25:41; Revelation 20:15) where they will be tormented forever (Mark 9:43–48). Unsaved people will suffer different degrees of punishment in the Lake of Fire (Luke 12:47–48; 20:45–47). Eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire is known as the second death (Revelation 21:8).
Satan and evil angels will also be cast into the Lake of Fire, which was prepared for them (Matthew 25:41), to be tormented forever (Revelation 20:10; Matthew 8:28–29).
Can my good works save me from the penalty for sin?
No. Paul said to believers at Ephesus that salvation is the gift of God: “For by grace [you (plural) have been] saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, [that no one] should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). He told Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His [(God’s)] mercy He saved us ...” (Titus 3:5).
Can Christ save me from the penalty for sin?
Yes. The Lord Jesus Christ can save you from the penalty for your sins. God has provided a way for you to have a right relationship with Him based on Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death (1 Timothy 2:5–6; 1 John 2:2) and based on God’s requirements of you.
Knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Person and the content of the Gospel (Good News) are essential for understanding how you can be saved.
Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) (John 20:31). The title “Christ” or “Messiah” means “Anointed One” and Jesus is the “Anointed One” predicted in Old Testament prophecy (Daniel 9:25–26). In His First Coming, Jesus fulfilled the predictions in Old Testament prophecy such as the Christ (Messiah) who is a man (Isaiah 7:14; 53:3), an Israelite (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5), the Sin-Bearing Servant (Isaiah 52:13–53:12) and God (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2). In the New Testament, Jesus is known as “Christ.”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 20:31). The title “Son of God” refers to Christ’s identity as God (Matthew 22:41–46; John 19:7) since the phrase “son of” in the Bible can mean to be of the same nature as the subject. “Son of God” also refers to the relationship between God the Father and Christ as the Son (John 5; 17).
Also, Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:11). In the New Testament, the Greek word kyrios can have various meanings for titles, based on a passage’s context, such as sir, master and Lord. As applied to Jesus Christ after His resurrection, the title “Lord” usually expresses His deity, with an emphasis on His supreme authority over all things. Christ is often called “the Lord” after His resurrection, but God the Father is given the title too. In the future, on bended knee in submission to Jesus’ name, man and angels will “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).
The Lord Jesus Christ is God (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; John 1:1; John 8:24, 58 relate to Exodus 3:1–6, 13–15; John 20:24–29; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1). After seeing the resurrected Jesus Christ, Thomas, a disciple, said to Him, “[‘]My Lord and my God[!’]” (John 20:28) and the Lord Jesus accepted Thomas’ saying (John 20:29).
The eternal Son of God became a man (human) (John 1:1, 14; 17:1, 5; Philippians 2:5–8), yet without a sin nature (Luke 1:35), through a miraculous virgin conception (human beginning) by the Holy Spirit in Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18–23). In the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1–6), Jesus Christ was born through a virgin birth by Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23–25). He was an Israelite by birth (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Matthew 1:1–17; Luke 3:23–38).
Christ is both fully God and fully man in one Person: “For in Him dwell[s] all the ful[l]ness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
God the Father sent His Son on a mission (John 3:17): “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus Christ lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the cross (1 Peter 2:24), the Lord Jesus Christ was man’s sinless Substitute who paid the penalty for man’s sins through His sacrificial death (Substitutionary Atonement; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Isaiah 53:5–6).
In a letter, Paul made known to believers at Corinth of the Gospel (Good News) which he had preached to them and by which they were saved (1 Corinthians 15:1–2). Paul begins by stating “that Christ died for our sins according to the [S]criptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3; Scriptures fulfilled: Isaiah 53:5–6).
Three days after He was buried, God the Father raised Christ from the dead (the Resurrection; Acts 10:40; Galatians 1:1; Romans 10:9). The Lord Jesus was raised in the same physical body in which He died, yet it had changed into a glorified body (Luke 24:36–43; Philippians 3:20–21). Christ is no longer subject to death since His resurrection (Romans 6:9). Paul continues by declaring that Christ “was buried” and “that He [was raised on] the third day according to the [S]criptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4; Scriptures fulfilled: Psalm 16:10).
After His resurrection, Christ appeared to “witnesses chosen before by God” the Father (Acts 10:40–41). Paul tells of several post-resurrection appearances by stating that Christ appeared to Peter, “the twelve,” more than 500 brothers at one time, James, all the apostles and Paul (after Christ was taken up to Heaven) (1 Corinthians 15:5–8).
The Gospel (Good News) consists of the events of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death for man’s sins, burial, resurrection and post-resurrection appearances (1 Corinthians 15:1–8).
Forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), Christ was taken up to Heaven (Psalm 68:18a; Acts 1:9–12) where He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20). The Lord Jesus currently intercedes for believers (Hebrews 7:25) and performs other ministries.
Is there any other way to be saved?
No. The Lord Jesus said, “[‘]I am the way, the truth, and the life: no [one] come[s] [to] the Father, but by Me[’]” (John 14:6). Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, informed his audience, “[‘And there is no] salvation in any other: for there is [no] other name under heaven given among men, [by which] we must be saved[’]” (Acts 4:12).
What must I do to be saved?
God requires repentance (Luke 13:1–5; Acts 17:30–31; 2 Peter 3:9) and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; 16:31–34) to be saved.
In the New Testament, repentance generally means an inward turn away from sin. The result of repentance is an outward turn away from sin (Luke 3:8–14).
Paul announced to a crowd at Athens, “[‘]God … now command[s] all men [everywhere] to repent [(inwardly turn away from your sins)]: Because He ha[s] [set] a day, [on] which He [is going to] judge the world [(mankind)] in righteousness by [the] Man whom He ha[s] [appointed]; [of which] He ha[s] given assurance to all men [by raising] Him from the dead[’]” (Acts 17:30–31). Peter said that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
After you are saved, the result of repentance is an outward turn away from your sins (Matthew 12:41; Jonah 3; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
Faith means belief, trust, reliance or confidence. The object of faith is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ includes faith in His Person as the Christ (Messiah) (John 20:31), the Son of God (John 20:31), Lord (Romans 10:9–10), and God (John 8:24 relates to Exodus 3:1–6; 13–15) and faith in the Gospel of His death for man’s sins, burial, resurrection and post-resurrection appearances (1 Corinthians 15:1–8).
Also, faith in Christ provides salvation from the penalty for sin, which is eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 13:40–42; 25:41; Revelation 20:15), salvation from enslavement to sin (Romans 6), and everlasting life (John 3:16).
Place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior today!
Paul and Silas, Paul’s traveling companion, told the Philippian jailor, “[‘]Believe [in] the Lord Jesus Christ, and [you will] be saved …[’]” (Acts 16:31–34). Peter said to Cornelius and his family and friends, “[‘]To Him all the prophets [bear] witness, that through His name [whoever] believe[s] in Him [will] receive [forgiveness] of sins[’]” (Acts 10:43). John 3:16 is a key salvation verse: “For God so loved the world [(mankind)], that He gave His only begotten Son, that [whoever] believe[s] in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
What happened at my salvation and what should I do now?
At salvation, you, as a believer, received God’s gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23), you were justified (legally declared righteous by God) by faith (Romans 3:21–5:21), your sins were forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), you died to sin (positional truth) (Romans 6:2), you became a child of God (John 1:12) and the Holy Spirit now dwells within you (1 Corinthians 6:19).
After salvation, you can do many things to grow in and live the Christian life. Love and trust God the Father (2 Timothy 3:4) and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 16:22) (John 14:1). The Lord Jesus commands believers to love fellow believers as He has loved you (John 13:34–35). Love others as you love yourself (Romans 13:9; James 2:8).
You are urged, based on God’s mercies, to “present your [body] [as] a … sacrifice,” which means to completely dedicate yourself to God, as one who is living, holy (set apart from sin to God) and well-pleasing to God, “which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Do not be “conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). In this verse, the world is the present evil age of unsaved man whose way of life excludes or opposes God. Instead, be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) so as to continue to change your thinking to a biblical Christian way of thinking. Then, you may discern God’s will (Romans 12:2). Expect to be persecuted as you “live godly [(devoutly toward God)] in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12).
You love God by obeying His commands (1 John 5:3) that are given to believers in Christ in the New Testament of the Bible (Romans 7:4, 6). You should be baptized as an expression of your faith in Christ (Acts 16:31–34; 18:8). Attend a Bible-Believing Church (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42). Participate in the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His sacrificial death on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:23–26). You were saved to perform good works (Ephesians 2:10), and good works are evidence of genuine faith (James 2:26). The Lord tells you to witness to unsaved people by preaching repentance (Luke 24:47) and the Gospel (Mark 16:15) so they too can be saved.
You are to practice righteousness (1 John 3:10), show mercy (James 2:13) and humble yourself in God’s sight (James 4:10).
Consider yourself “to be dead ... [to] sin, but alive [to] God [in] [Christ Jesus] our Lord” (Romans 6:11). If you commit sins, you can confess your sins, and God will forgive your sins (1 John 1:9). Forgiveness of your sins is needed to maintain fellowship with God (1 John 1:5–10).
Studying the entire Bible is important. The Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), provides the only source for sound doctrine (correct teaching) (Matthew 22:23–33; Acts 17:1–4, 10–12) and gives instructions for Christian living (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; 1 John 2:15–17). The Bible is without error in all that it records (Psalm 119:160).
Prayer is also important. God commands you to pray to Him often (1 Thessalonians 5:17), the Lord Jesus frequently prayed as your example (Luke 5:16; 6:12, 9:18) and God answers prayer (James 5:16b–18; 1 John 5:14–15). You can vocally or silently pray by making requests, with thanksgiving, (Philippians 4:6) to your Heavenly Father (Ephesians 3:14), who knows you and your thoughts (Psalm 139:1–6).
You can have assurance of our salvation (John 10:27–29).
As a believer in Christ, what will happen in my future?
At death, spirits of believers in Christ go to be with our Lord in Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 3:20).
When the Rapture of the Church occurs, dead believers in Christ will be resurrected. Next, living believers in Christ will be “caught up together with them … to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17a). At the Rapture, believers’ dead or living earthly bodies will be instantly changed into eternal glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51–54; Philippians 3:20–21). Then, believers in Christ will always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17b).
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, believers in Christ will have every work after salvation (Ephesians 2:10) judged and rewarded accordingly (2 Corinthians 5:10).
After the Tribulation Period (Revelation 4–19) and our Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming (Revelation 19:11–21), glorified believers of all eras, including believers in Christ, will reign with Christ in His Millennial (1000-Year) Kingdom on earth (Revelation 20:4–6).
Finally, all believers will be with God in the New Heaven and New Earth for eternity to fellowship, serve and reign with Him (Revelation 21–22).
All quoted Scripture is from the King James Version (KJV) with deity pronouns capitalized. Updated wording, capitalization and punctuation are in brackets [ ], and comments are in parentheses and brackets [( )]. Good News booklet written by Matt Hancock.
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