Our Fundamental Problem
November 1, 2009 - The Bible has a lot to say about sin.
by Franklin Graham
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans that “all have sinned and fallen short of God” (Romans 3:23) and that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The angel announced to Joseph that the Child in Mary’s womb should be called “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to be baptized he exclaimed, “Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
The Bible mentions sin so frequently for a very good reason—it is sin, our sin, that separates us from God and, if not dealt with through faith and repentance, it brings eternal death. Facing the truth about our sin and its deadly consequences is a biblical prerequisite to receiving Jesus as Savior.
That’s why I was shocked when I attended a recent Christian conference and one of the speakers said that we should not mention sin in our preaching because it is offensive. Sin certainly is offensive, but the Person who is affronted is Holy God. God hates sin. He is eternally, fiercely opposed to it and cannot tolerate it in His presence.
That’s why the Scripture spends so much time speaking about sin. It is our fundamental problem and, if ignored, it leaves us to rely on our own futile resources for a solution.
However, as much emphasis as the Bible places on the reality and peril of sin, it puts an even greater weight on the cure for sin—salvation through personal faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Sin has been dealt with. There is deliverance because we have a Deliverer. There is salvation because we have a Savior. There is redemption because we have a Redeemer.
The Good News is that God forgives sin. He poured out His divine wrath against it by punishing His own Son on the cross. “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5, NASB). Sin’s penalty—eternal death—was paid in full when Jesus died as our substitute at Calvary.
When we turn from our sin—acknowledge our rebellion against God and utter inability to save ourselves—and turn to God in faith, we receive the free gift of salvation. We did nothing to earn it, because we can’t.
Amazingly, God not only took away our sins, He also credited His righteousness to us. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB). Martin Luther called this the “great exchange” —our sin for His righteousness.
Sin is indeed bad news. We are lost, hopeless, and without God. However, as we put aside our pride, and admit our sin, we are ready to receive the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ.