April 1, 2003

Does God Love You?

QUESTION: I sometimes wonder if God loves me. If He is a loving God, why is there so much suffering and sorrow in the world?
ANSWER: In His book called the Bible, God explains that our sins are the cause for all the suffering and sorrow. It is true that God reveals His love to the whole world, as we read in one of the most quoted verses in the Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

However, God has more to say:

The LORD detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
Proverbs 15:9

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:6

QUESTION: But I am not wicked. I am a decent, moral person. Surely the good I have done in my life far outweighs whatever bad I have done. How can these verses apply to me?
ANSWER: By God's standard of righteousness even the most moral person is looked upon by God as a desperate sinner on his way to Hell. The Bible teaches that no one is good enough in himself to go to Heaven. On the contrary, we are all sinners, and we are all guilty before God.

As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
Romans 3:10-11

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

QUESTION: If I am such a wicked person in God's sight, what will God do to me?
ANSWER: The Bible teaches that at the end of the world all the wicked will come under eternal punishment in a place called Hell.

For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap calamities upon them and spend my arrows against them. I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
Deuteronomy 32:22-24

QUESTION: Oh, come on now! Hell is not real, is it? Surely things are not that bad!
ANSWER: Indeed, Hell is very real, and things are that bad for the individual who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The Bible makes many references to Hell, indicating it is both eternal and consists of perpetual suffering.

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:49-50

…and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
II Thessalonians 1:7-9

QUESTION: That is terrible! Why would God create Hell?
ANSWER: Hell is terrible, and it exists because God created man to be accountable to God for his actions. God's perfect justice demands payment for sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
II Corinthians 5:10

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
Matthew 12:36

QUESTION: Does that mean that at the end of the world everyone will be brought to life again to be judged and sent to Hell?
ANSWER: Indeed it does; that is, unless there exists someone who could be our substitute in bearing the punishment of eternal damnation for our sins. That someone is God Himself, who came to earth as Jesus Christ to bear the wrath of God for all who believe in Him.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:6

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
I Corinthians 15:3-4

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
II Corinthians 5:21

QUESTION: Are you saying that if I trust in Christ as my substitute, as the One punished for my sins, then I will not have to worry about Hell anymore?
ANSWER: Yes, this is so! If I have believed in Christ as my Savior, then it is as if I have already stood before the Judgment Throne of God. Christ as my substitute has paid for my sins.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.
John 3:36

QUESTION: But what does it mean to believe on Him? If I agree with all that the Bible says about Christ as Savior, then am I saved from going to Hell?
ANSWER: Believing on Christ means a whole lot more than agreeing in my mind with the truths of the Bible. It means that I have come to trust the whole Bible, God's law book to me. It also means that I have an on-going earnest desire to be obedient to the commands of the Bible. Thus I find I am truly happy when I am living like God instructs me in the Bible.

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
I John 2:3

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Matthew 6:24

QUESTION: Are you saying that there is no way to escape Hell except through Jesus? What about other religions, including many that profess faith in Christ? Will their followers also go to Hell?
ANSWER: Yes, indeed. They cannot escape the fact that God holds us accountable for our sins. God demands that we pay for our sins. Other religions cannot provide a substitute to bear the sins of their followers. Christ is the only one who is able to bear our guilt and save us. Therefore one must leave his religion and come to trust only the Bible.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

QUESTION: Now I am desperate. I do not want to go to Hell. What can I do to become saved?
ANSWER: There is nothing you can do to get yourself saved. The Bible tells us that only God can save you. God performs the mighty miracle of salvation by applying the Word of God (the Bible) to the hearts and lives of those He plans to save. The effect of this miracle of salvation on the saved person’s life is that now he has a love for God and the Bible. He now is happiest when he is obeying God's Law book, the Bible. Thus if a person truly desires to become saved he should spend much time carefully reading or listening to the Bible.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
Ephesians 2:8

One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
Acts 16:14

QUESTION: You keep referring to the Bible. How important is the Bible?
ANSWER: The Bible is the most important book in the world because it is God's Law book to the human race. By reading or listening to the Bible a person is in a place where God can save him if that is God's will for that person. Additionally he will also learn many wonderful and awesome truths about God and His salvation plan. Effectively he is hearing the voice of God because God is the author of the Bible and therefore is speaking to him by His Words (The Bible).

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
Psalm 19:7

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Psalm 119:1

QUESTION: Can I pray that God might be merciful and save me?
ANSWER: Absolutely YES! God is very merciful. Therefore, the Bible tells us that we can and should pray to Him, begging and pleading for mercy, for salvation, admitting that we are sinners who deserve the wrath of God. This will not get us saved, but we will have the assurance that God knows of our intense desire to become saved.

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
Luke 18:13

QUESTION: Please tell me more how God saves people.
ANSWER: The Bible in John 11 gives an outstanding example showing that God alone does all the work of saving us. Christ brought to life a man named Lazarus who had been dead for four days. Jesus stood outside of the tomb of Lazarus and commanded "Lazarus come forth". Obviously, the stinking corpse within the tomb could not hear Him or obey Him. The Bible tells us that before we are saved we are spiritually dead. Yet God commands us to seek God, to believe, to repent. However, just as it was impossible for the dead Lazarus to obey Jesus' command to come out of the tomb, it is impossible for a spiritually dead person to obey God's command to believe on Jesus for salvation.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:44

Yet Lazarus did hear Jesus' command and did come out of the tomb, a live person.

QUESTION: How did that happen?
ANSWER: It meant that when Jesus commanded the dead Lazarus to come forth Jesus in His Spirit had to enter that tomb and gave that stinking corpse physical life, ears to hear, and a will and strength to obey the command of Christ. Likewise for those whom God plans to save as He commands us to believe, to repent, to become saved, He is speaking to spiritual corpses who of themselves could never become saved. Yet there are those who begin to believe on Jesus as Savior, who find that they are happiest when they do God's will. The evidence is in their life that somehow they had become saved. This can only happen because as God commanded them to believe, God also entered into their life and saved them. Because He saved them they found they had come to believe on Jesus. They found that sin had become very unpleasant to them. It was evident God had chosen them to become saved and as they heard the Gospel God did apply the Word of God to their lives and they did become saved.
If you are not saved, listen diligently to the Bible. Carefully and prayerfully read and read the Bible. It may be that you, too, will receive salvation as God through His Law book, the Bible, calls you.

Remember, however, that God does everything in His time. Therefore, you should patiently wait upon the Lord while you continue to learn from the Bible.

I is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:26

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:7-8


Posted by Ted at April 1, 2003 8:56 PM