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"Christ Died for the Ungodly":
From Creation to Christ
Why did Christ have to die and who are the ungodly?
To answer these questions we must go back to the beginning. At about 4,000 B.C., the eternal and holy God created the universe in six twenty-four-hour days (Genesis chapters 1-2; Genesis 2:4-25 gives some details behind Genesis 1:1-2:3). “For in six days the LORD made [the] [heavens] 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, the moon, 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 Himself (Genesis 3:8) and to rule over all the animals and all the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). 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 (Revelation 12:4) to sin by rebellion too. To sin means to disobey God in thought, word or action.
Appearing as a serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 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).
Their disobedience dramatically changed Adam and Eve and their relationship with God (Genesis 3:7-13). As soon as they sinned against God, they died spiritually and their right relationship with God was broken (Genesis 3:8). In spite of their sin, God searched for and questioned Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9-13). Their blame shifting responses to God’s questions revealed that they had also immediately received a sin nature after Adam and Eve’s initial disobedience (Genesis 3:12-13). The sin nature influences man to sin.
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). Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, man would now experience suffering (Genesis 3:16-17; Revelation 21:4). God also told Adam that Adam would die physically (Genesis 3:19) because Adam sinned (Genesis 3:17). Man experiences physical death since all mankind (the human race) sinned in Adam, the representative head of mankind (Romans 5:12-14).
God also cursed the rest of His Creation resulting in its slavery to physical corruption (Romans 8:21). The rest of His Creation consists of animals and objects without animal life (plants, stars …).
Were there later events that also impacted history?
In Noah’s time, man was very wicked. As a result, God decided to destroy all of mankind and all land-dwelling animals with a global Flood (Genesis chapters 6-9). However, Noah found grace (unmerited favor) from God (Genesis 6:8). Noah had a close relationship with God (Genesis 6:9) and God promised to save or deliver Noah and his family (Genesis 6:18).
God told Noah to build a big ark to rescue Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives (eight people total) and to rescue God’s chosen number and type of animals from the global Flood (Genesis 6:14-7:16). The Flood covered the entire earth including the mountains at that time (Genesis 7:17-20). All of mankind and all land-dwelling animals outside the ark died (Genesis 7:21-23). Every person and every animal aboard the ark lived there for a little more than one year.
After the Flood, God commanded Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply by having sons and daughters and to fill the earth (Genesis 9:1). Man disobeyed God again by living together in one place and not filling the earth (Genesis chapters 10-11. They were also building a city and a tower to make a name for themselves in pride (Genesis 11:1-4).
In judgment, God changed their one common language into different languages (Genesis 10:5, 20, 31) that resulted in confusion and scattering of mankind over the earth (Genesis 11:5-9). People groups with a new common language formed the initial nations on the earth (Genesis chapter 10).
God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to become the nation of Israel (Genesis chapters 12-50). God also chose the nation of Israel through which the Christ (Messiah) would be born (Genesis 22:15-18, 49:10a; Isaiah 11:1-2, 10a).
What are some of the characteristics of God?
God is a Trinity (Matthew 28:19); there is one God who exists in three Persons – God the Father, God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. God is eternal (Psalm 90:2); He has no beginning or end. God is all-powerful (Jeremiah 32:17), all-knowing (Psalm 147:5), everywhere present (Jeremiah 23:24) and in complete control (Ephesians 1:11).
God is holy (Isaiah 6:3); He is set apart, pure, perfect and without sin. God is just or righteous (Genesis 18:25); He always does what is right and fair. God hates sin (Proverbs 8:13; Psalm 5:4) because He is holy. God must punish sin (1 Peter 3:18; Matthew 13:40-42; 25:41; Revelation 20:10-15) because He is just. God has other perfect characteristics.
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 God. The consequences of Adam’s sin have affected each of us. In relation to God, we are born spiritually dead, which separates us from a right relationship with Him (Matthew 8:21-22). We are also born with a sin nature that influences us to sin (Psalm 51:5; Genesis 8:21). We have all sinned. “… for there is no man [who does not sin] …” (1 Kings 8:46).
God declares that everyone is an ungodly sinner (Romans chapters 1-3): “… for we have [previously charged] both Jews and [Greeks] [(all people)], that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none [who] [understands], there is none [who] [seeks] after God. They [have] all [turned aside], they [have] together become [useless]; there is none [who] [does] 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. … for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and [fall] short of the glory of God” Romans 3:9-18, 22-23).
Ultimately, all sins are against God (Psalm 51:4). Sin has a penalty (Isaiah 66:24). If you have not been saved from the penalty of sin, then you cannot have a right relationship with God and you are currently an unsaved person.
What is the penalty of sin?
The penalty of sin is eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. At physical death, the spirit is separated from the body (James 2:26). Unsaved people are sent to Hell (Greek: Hades) at physical death. “… the rich man also died, and was buried; And in Hell he [lifted] up his eyes, being in torments …” (Luke 16:22-23).
At various judgments (Ezekiel 20:34-38; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15), God 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). There will be 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 of sin?
No. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His [(God’s)] mercy He saved us …” (Titus 3:5). 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).
Can the Lord Jesus Christ save me from the penalty of sin?
Yes. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior who died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. God has provided a way for you to have a right relationship with Him based on Christ’s death (Romans 5:9-10) and resurrection (Romans 4:25) and based on your response to God’s requirements of you.
Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:11), which means He is Divine Ruler of all (Acts 10:36).
The Lord Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) (John 20:31). The title “Christ” or “Messiah” means “Anointed One” and the Lord Jesus is the “Anointed One” predicted in Old Testament prophecy (Daniel 9:25-26). In His First Coming, the Lord Jesus fulfilled the predictions in Old Testament prophecy as the Christ (Messiah) who is God (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14), a Man (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14), an Israelite (Jewish person)(Genesis 22:15-18, 49:10a; Isaiah 11:1-2, 10a), the Sin-Bearing Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) and more.
Also, Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 20:31). The name “Son of God” refers to Christ’s identity as God (Matthew 22:41-46; John 19:7) since the phrase “son of” in Jewish usage meant to be equal in nature to the person or thing mentioned. The name “Son of God” also refers to the relationship between God the Father and Christ as God the Son (John chapters 5 and 17).
Further, the Lord Jesus Christ is God (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; John 1:1; John 8:24, 58 relate to Exodus 3:1-6, 13-15; John 20:24-29; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; Hebrews 1:8). After seeing the resurrected Christ, Thomas “…said [to] Him, [‘]My Lord and my God[!’]” (John 20:28) and the Lord Jesus accepted Thomas’s saying (John 20:29).
Christ became a man by taking on flesh (2 John 1:7), yet without a sin nature (Luke 1:35), through a supernatural 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), He was born through a virgin birth by Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23-25). The Lord Jesus was born of Jewish descent (Genesis 22:15-18; 49:10a; Isaiah 11:1-2, 10a; Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38).
Since He became a man, Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man in one Person, the God-Man (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5-8). “For in Him [dwells] all the [fullness] of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
God the Father sent Christ, His eternal Son (John 17:5), to be the Savior of the world (John 3:17). Jesus Christ lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the cross (1 Peter 2:24), Christ was our Substitute (Romans 5:6; Mark 10:45) who paid the penalty for our sins through His suffering (1 Peter 3:18) and death (1 Corinthians 15:3) (substitutionary sacrifice; Isaiah 53:4-6).
“Who [Himself] [bore] our sins in His own body on the tree …” (1 Peter 2:24). “… Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). “For Christ also [has] once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but [made alive] by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). “… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3; Scripture fulfilled: Isaiah 53:5-6).
Three days after He was buried, God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead (resurrection; Acts 10:40; Galatians 1:1; Romans 10:9) in the same physical body He died in though now a glorified body (Luke 24:36-43) no longer subject to physical corruption or death. “And that He was buried, and that He [was raised on] the third day according to the Scriptures” (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). “And that He [(Christ)] [appeared to] Cephas [(Peter)], then [to] the twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:5) and He appeared to more than 500 brethren at once, to James, to all the apostles, to Paul (after Christ was taken up to Heaven) (1 Corinthians 15:6-8) and to others.
The Gospel or Good News message consists of the events of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death for our sins, burial, resurrection and post-resurrection appearances as previously stated (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), Christ was taken up to Heaven (Acts 1:9-12; Psalm 68:18a) where He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Ephesians 1:20; Psalm 110:1). The Lord Jesus currently intercedes for believers (Hebrews 7:25) and performs other ministries.
Is there any other way to be saved?
No. “Jesus [said] [to] him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no [one] [comes] [to] the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). “[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; 2 Peter 3:9) and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; 16:31) 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). God commands you to inwardly turn away from your sins (Acts 17:30-31).
God “… now [commands] all men [everywhere] to repent: Because He [has] [set] a day, [on] which He [is going to] judge the world in righteousness by [the] Man whom He [has] [appointed]; [of which] He [has] given assurance to all men [by raising] Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). The Lord is “… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Further, God does not require you to clean up your life by outwardly turning away from your sins before you can be saved (Titus 3:5). However, the result of repentance is an outward turn away from your sins (Matthew 12:41; Jonah chapter 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 God (John 8:24 relates to Exodus 3:1-6; 13-15), the Christ (Messiah) (John 20:31), the Son of God (John 20:31) and Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and faith in the Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) of His death for our sins, burial, resurrection (God the Father raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10)) and post-resurrection appearances.
Also, faith in Christ provides salvation from the penalty of 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 chapter 6), and everlasting life (John 3:16).
Place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior today!
“… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and [you will] be saved …" (Acts 16:31). “To Him all the prophets [bear] witness, that through His name [whoever] [believes] in Him [will] receive [forgiveness] of sins” (Acts 10:43). "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” (John 3:16).
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 chapters 3-5), 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 (Galatians 3:14; Romans 8:9).
After salvation, you can do many things to grow in and live the Christian life. Our Lord Jesus Christ challenges us to commit our lives to follow Him (Luke 9:23-26; 14:25-35). We should confess Christ before man (Matthew 10:32-33). We should expect the hatred of the world and persecution (John 15:18-21) as we follow Him. Our Lord Jesus promises to always be with us (Matthew 28:20). “Rejoice in the Lord always[; …] again I [will] say, Rejoice[!]” (Philippians 4:4).
We are to love God (2 Timothy 3:4; 1 Corinthians 16:22a) and to trust Him (John 14:1). We love God by obeying His commands (1 John 5:3; John 14:15). We are to obey God’s commands that are given to Church-Age believers in the New Testament of the Bible (1 Corinthians 14:37; Romans 7:4, 6). The first step of obedience for the believer is to be baptized as a testimony of your salvation (Matthew 28:19). God commands us to attend a Bible-Believing Church (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42). We are also to participate in the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His sacrificial death on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). God wants us to be eager to do good works (Titus 2:14) and good works are evidence of genuine faith (James 2:26). God also commands us to witness to the unsaved by preaching repentance (Luke 24:47) and the Gospel (Mark 16:15) so they too can be saved.
Christ commands believers to love our fellow believers as He has loved us (John 13:34-35). We are also to love others as we love ourselves (Romans 13:9; James 2:8).
God commands us to live a holy life (1 Peter 1:15-16), to count ourselves dead to sin, but alive to Him in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:11) and to depart from unrighteousness (2 Timothy 2:19). When we sin, we can confess it to God who will forgive us (1 John 1:9) and restore our fellowship with Him.
We are to practice righteousness (1 John 3:10), show mercy (James 2:13) and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6).
Studying the entire Bible is very important since the Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), our authority for sound beliefs (Matthew 22:23-33; Acts 17:11) and our guide for living (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is without error in all that it records (John 17:17). It consists of 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books (66 total books) that God has preserved for us (Isaiah 40:8).
Prayer is also very important because God commands us to pray to Him often (1 Thessalonians 5:17), our Lord Jesus frequently prayed as our 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 God the Father (Ephesians 3:14), our Heavenly Father, who knows us and our thoughts (Psalm 139).
We can have assurance of our salvation (John 10:27-29).
As a believer in Christ, what will happen to me in the future?
At death, believers in Christ’s spirits go to Heaven to be with our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
When the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) occurs at any moment, physical bodies of dead believers in Christ will be resurrected to be reunited with their spirits that are in Heaven. Then, living believers in Christ will also be caught up to Heaven. In addition, every believer in Christ will instantly receive a physically incorruptible and immortal glorified body (1 Corinthians 15:51-58) like Christ’s glorified body (Philippians 3:20-21). Every believer in Christ will always be with our Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, every believer in Christ will have their works after salvation (Ephesians 2:10) judged and rewarded accordingly (2 Corinthians 5:10).
After the Tribulation Period (Revelation chapters 4-19) and our Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming (Revelation 19:11-21), glorified believers of all eras will reign with Christ in His 1000-Year Kingdom on earth (Revelation 20:4-6).
Finally, we will be with God in the New Heaven and New Earth for eternity to serve Him and fellowship and reign with Him (Revelation chapters 21-22).
“Grace be with all [those who] love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Ephesians 6:24a).
All Scripture is from the King James Version (KJV) with Deity pronouns capitalized, updated wording in brackets [ ] and comments in parentheses and brackets [( )]. Written by Matt Hancock
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