Once, God and the first two people he created walked together in close friendship, in a lush garden. But a serpent deceived the man and the woman, and they took fruit from the one tree God had forbidden them to touch. This disobedience shattered their relationship with God.
…and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. – Genesis 3:8
So God looked for them.
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9
When he found them, they talked about what had happened. Fearing that Adam and Eve would next eat from the tree of life and live forever in their corrupted state, God banished them from the garden. But first, he covered their shame and warned the serpent that someday a descendant of Eve would overcome him, redeeming mankind.
“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15
Adam and Eve’s sin nature was transmitted to every person who has ever lived. No one is exempt.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
God hates sin. It degrades and harms the people He loves. Adam and Eve’s fall presented a very serious problem. As in any criminal legal case, justice had to be served: Adam, Eve, and all their descendants were doomed to die, and to eternal separation from God.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. – James 1:15
The wages of sin is death. – Romans 6:23a
What conflicting feelings burned in the pure heart of God! His horror over sin compelled him to righteous judgment, while his infinite love for his creation pleaded mercy. A holy God cannot simply pretend everything is fine. Wounds that are poorly dressed never heal. They fester, and eventually kill. The sin wound needed drastic treatment. Someone, somehow, would have to pay the full penalty of sin. But no one was perfect enough.
So God did it.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:16-17
This Son was Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah who lived 2000 years ago. He was the Christmas baby, born miraculously to a virgin. And he is God incarnate.
Because he was God, Jesus lived a sinless life. Like an innocent lamb, he gave himself up as the acceptable sacrifice for sin.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
His death on a cruel Roman cross fulfilled many ancient prophecies, written hundreds of years before crucifixion had been invented.
A company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet. – Psalm 22:16
Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities…. With his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:4-5
God punished Jesus for the sin of the world, relieving us of sin’s terrible consequences. This was the fulfillment of God’s warning to the serpent. A descendant of Eve – the Son of God and also the Son of Man – had defeated the deceiver.
God demonstrates His own love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
Those who had known and loved Jesus were filled with fear and sorrow. Their dreams were shattered. They had expected the Messiah to deliver them from cruel Roman oppression. Now, he lay dead in a borrowed tomb. They did not see that God was up to something far, far greater.
Three days after Jesus’ death on a Roman cross, God validated Jesus’ teachings, life, and sacrifice, by raising Him from death. This is no fairy tale.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty. – 2 Peter 1:16
You can explore the reasons for faith in Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell. McDowell examined the resurrection story in its historical context. He concluded that all the evidence pointed to Christ’s actual, historical resurrection. Many others have concluded the same.
And that’s better news than any of us could have imagined. It means our sins are paid for, and salvation is ours for the taking.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23b
Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved – Romans 10:13
No longer need we fear eternal separation from the God who loves us. He invites us into relationship with him. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God imputes Christ’s righteousness to our account. Instead of being eternally separated from God, we can live forever with Him in Heaven.
Dear God, I’m a sinner and I could never pay for that. I believe that Jesus paid for my sin and that you raised Him from death. I accept your offer of forgiveness, and I’d like to begin a relationship with you. I give you my life and ask you to save me and be my Lord. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Christ’s name, amen.
If you want to know more about the Bible’s authenticity, please see the Apologetics section of the bookstore. I’ve listed some in-depth explorations of why Christians believe what they do.