I’ll bet there are folks out there who see this graphic (helpfully supplied by an Internet atheist community) and think “ya, why not just our forgive sins?” Maybe you’re one of those people.
First of all, I can confidently write that God is NOT trying to impress anyone. When you’re the creator of time, space and the universe, trying to impress anyone (even Himself) is just silly.
Second, this quote (by one of the world’s best-known atheists) displays a blatant ignorance — or outright rejection — of who God is.
Is God merciful? Yes. Does God want to forgive us for all the wrong things we’ve done and right things we’ve failed to do? Absolutely.
But God is also something else: perfect. And that’s His baseline standard for everything, whether we like it or not.
So why doesn’t He just forgive us? Well, why do we have courts? Why can’t we just ignore the dude who killed that guy in a bar fight? Why don’t we just overlook how she faked having cancer in order to bilk people out of thousands of dollars?
If these examples offend your sense of justice, then imagine how our creator feels about our greed, our self-centredness, our violence, our willful ignorance and our cultural belief that we “deserve” the good life.
Is God judge and jury? You bet He is. Execution victim? Yes, that too.
If that last point seems strange, then understand that this is how it goes with Christianity: Knowing that we could never do enough or be enough to earn our way into Heaven, God paved the way for us. That way is through believing in and following Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son (and also God in the flesh, but that’s a blog for another day).
A section of the Bible, called ‘1 Peter’, describes Jesus this way: “He never sinned, and he never told a lie”. This is important and you’ll soon read why.
Jesus spent three years traveling around the Middle East with a band of followers, telling people the Kingdom of God (represented by Him) was near. He proved it by healing diseases, raising people from the dead and preaching revolutionary ideas like loving your enemies, refusing to retaliate when a wrong has been done to you and praying for those who hate you.
Then Jesus allowed conniving religious authorities to arrest him on trumped-up charges and convince political leaders to hand Him the ultimate punishment: death on a cross.
What they didn’t realize is that this death would pave the way to Heaven for anyone who believes in and follows Jesus. He paid the price that we should be paying.
Now, when God sees any Jesus follower, He doesn’t see the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do. He only sees perfection. It’s like Jesus transferred His perfection onto anyone who believes in Him and follows Him.
There. I’ve done my best to explain why God doesn’t just forgive our sins. As you can see, He goes even further than that — sacrificing His son for everyone who believes in Jesus.
Does this make sense? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.