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God; is He good or bad?

 

 

This text addresses the essence of God. Does he have good will and is He accepting, or is it the opposite? Or might He be a mixture of both good and bad?

If we ask atheists this question, it is already clear what they’ll answer. They don’t consider God to be good, as they see Him as malevolent and unpredictable. This attitude is constantly present in atheists’ books, and, for example, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and other atheist authors have written about it. They may refer to some problematic Bible verses, all the evilness in the world, or to the wrongdoings that have been committed for centuries in the name of God. I used to use the same arguments to reason my denial of God, when I was an atheist. These arguments aren’t new.

But what is the case here? What can we know about God and what does Christianity teach about Him? We will look into this in the following chapters. We will start off with the existence of God.

 

Why fight against something that isn’t there? If we speculate the essence of God, whether He’s good or bad, we presume He exists.  How could we talk about His essence and nature, if He doesn’t even exist? Nothingness can’t possess any qualities, so in this regard the whole discussion on God’s essence is pointless and a waste of time. We can use our time for something else than discussing God, who never existed. We could go on holiday or do something fun rather than wasting our time on pointless discussions.

Atheists who fight for this are silly in this regard. They use their time and energy to prove something that doesn’t exist in their opinion. They write lengthy books to prove their views and to prove to others that God doesn’t exist. They try to convert other people to adopt their views. Yet, the only thing they’re focused on, is the existence of God. They don’t do the same with the existence of tooth fairy, flying spaghetti monster or the flying pot. They won’t bother to prove their non-existence, instead they focus all their energy on God. Why is this? Maybe atheists themselves don’t know either.

 What if God does really exist and He is a malevolent God, as some atheists claim? In that case, we would be dealing with a very serious matter. Atheists would be fighting against a God that wants nothing good for them. They would be in a tricky situation, as would be the case with the rest of us as well. We would have to deal with and face a God who has bad intentions for us, and that would not look good for any of us. We would be in a bad situation if God only had bad plans and thoughts for us. We wouldn’t stand a change at survival. I’d like to know how atheists plan to get themselves out of this situation.

 

Problematic Bible verses. Atheists are well-known for putting the Bible under fire. They bring up problematic Bible verses, which might also bring concern to people, who sincerely believe the Bible. There is no denying this. However, the following aspects should be noted:

 

The conquest of Canaan is a stumbling block for some. In their mind God was not righteous, when He ordered the Canaanites to be destroyed. You should consider the following aspects, however:

 

• The most substantial factor was the Canaanites’ badness, which had reached such measures that God had to condemn the nation. They even burned their children in fire, which showed their cruelty and hardness:

 

- (Deut 12:31) You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

 

• Secondly, God was long-suffering towards the Canaanites. He gave them centuries to give up their wrongdoings. Abraham was given a prophecy from God that the sin of the Amorites hadn’t yet reached its full measure, but that it would take another 400 years:

 

- (Gen 15:13,16) And he said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their’s, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

16 But in the fourth generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

 

• Thirdly, the conquest of Canaan wasn’t based on the excellence of Israeli people over others. They were specifically disallowed to think like that: (Deut 9:4): Speak not you in your heart, after that the LORD your God has cast them out from before you, saying, For my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD does drive them out from before you.

Furthermore, it is significant that Israeli people received a warning that if they ever find themselves filled with wrongfulness and evilness similar to the Canaanites’, they would have to suffer the consequences (Deut 8:19,20): And it shall be, if you do at all forget the LORD your God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before your face, so shall you perish; because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.  This really happened, when at first ten northern tribes of Israel were captured by the Assyrians, and when Babylon later conquered Judah.

 

• As already stated, destruction of the Canaanites was caused by their own evilness; especially by their violent nature, as they burned their own children in fire. Besides, they had run out of time to redeem themselves.

Violence must have been the major reason why God had condemned the Canaanites. The same had happened with the Flood: "and the earth was filled with violence" (Gen 6:11), and that is why God had run out of patience. Consequently, similar pattern was repeated with Sodom. Many have said that the reason for the destruction of Sodom had been their practicing homosexuality, but that might not have been a major factor. Instead, violence associated with homosexuality might have been the key factor in the demise and condemnation of this city.

 

Entirety. It is typical for atheist books to bring up certain Bible verses, which they use to promote their ideas. This is understandable, as they try to prove Christianity to be invalid. However, anyone who reads more of the Bible, knows and is assured that most of it addresses loving our neighbors and strangers, societal justice, righteousness, and having a healthy mindset. There are thousands of these kinds of verses among the few problematic ones, and that is why we should consider the Bible in its entirety.

What about the essence of God? New atheists don’t seem to be aware that the God from the Bible isn’t just a God of judgment, but also a God of compassion, mercy, justice, holiness, and loving-kindness – a God, who cares for the world He created and the people in it. The following passages, for example, show God’s loving-kindness and mercifulness. They come from the Old Testament:

 

- (Ex 22:26, 27) If you at all take your neighbor’s raiment to pledge, you shall deliver it to him by that the sun goes down:

27 For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he cries to me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

 

- (Ex 34:6) And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

 

- (2 Ch 30:9) For if you turn again to the LORD, your brothers and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.

 

- (Ps 86:15) But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

 

- (Ps 111:4) He has made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

 

- (Ps 145:8) The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

 

- (Jon 4:2) And he prayed to the LORD, and said, I pray you, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before to Tarshish: for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repent you of the evil.

 

The Old Covenant is no longer standing. When atheists attack the Bible, they often scrutinize the Old Testament. They put all their energy into it and criticize the scriptures in it.

It is important to realize, however, that the Old Covenant, which is announced in the Old Testament, is no longer standing. The Mosaic Law, acts associated with it, and the covenant that came to pass through Moses were only temporary and it only concerned the Jews and the society of the time. It is no more. This rudimentary covenant ceased to exist, because Jesus brought a new better covenant, which had been prophesized (Jer 31:31-34) and which was meant for all the nations in the world, as the following passages will show. Thus, atheists are attacking something that no longer exists.

 

- (Hebr 7:22) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

 

- (Hebr 8:6) But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

 

- (Hebr 9:15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

- (Rom 15:12) And again, Esaias said, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

 

Another thing about the New Covenant is that regular people can have a deeper understanding of God than before, because we can be temples of the Holy Spirit. We can also live in the forgiveness of sins, which comes to us through the atonement of Jesus:

 

- (Eze 36:26,27) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.

 

- (Hebr 8:10-13) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13 In that he said, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.

 

Therefore, it is important to understand that Christianity is first and foremost based on Jesus, His authority, and on the New Covenant, which every person can be a part of. He’s teachings work as the basis for Christianity, not so much the scriptures of the Old Testament and the Old Covenant. Jesus is greater than Moses, as is written:

 

- (Hebr 3:1-3) Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house has more honor than the house.

 

The former does not mean, however, that we should overlook and forget the scriptures of the Old Testament. By no means, but the teachings of Jesus and His appointed disciples are the most important to us. Jesus said the following words, which signify the importance of His words:

 

- (Matt 5:21,22,27,28,31,32,34,38-40) You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

22 But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

27 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:

28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

31 It has been said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce:

32 But I say to you, That whoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.

34 But I say to you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

38 You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.

 

- (Matt 7:24-29) Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded on a rock.

26 And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

 

SENSE OF JUSTICE. When atheists attack God and the Bible, there usually is good morality behind it: having a sense of justice. They see God as unfair and unrighteous, which is why they think it is reasonable to deny Him. This, however, does not undo the existence of God, despite the wishes of atheists. He does not comply with the wishes of atheists.

C.S. Lewis also refers to this matter. He used to be an atheist, as well, and used the same argument as atheists today. He thought the world was unjust and used it to reason his denial of God:

 

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? … What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? … Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too — for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist — in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless — I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality — namely my idea of justice — was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. (1)

 

Therefore, there is often good morality behind atheists’ attacks against God and the Bible: sense of justice. They see God as unfair and unrighteous. That is why they think denying Him is reasonable.

Where did these people acquire their sense of justice, which they use to question God? There are two general views regarding this: it’s either inherited from more primitive animals and originates from the Big Bang, or then it comes from God, who created the first humans. Which of these alternatives is accurate?

We can, of course, speculate this. If our sense of justice comes from more primitive animals and the Big Bang, we can rule out God from the equation. We don’t need to consider Him, as He does not even exist. We can’t blame Him for injustice, because non-existent things don’t possess any qualities.

How about the other alternative that our sense of justice comes from God? This leads us to an interesting conflict. That is, if God placed the sense of justice in us, then atheists blame the God, who gave them their sense of justice. It is rather similar if a child blamed their parents for not having children. The following passages from the Bible correspond well to this issue:

 

 

- (Isa 45:9,10) Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What make you? or your work, He has no hands?

10 Woe to him that said to his father, What beget you? or to the woman, What have you brought forth?

 

- (Isa 29:15,16) Woe to them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? and who knows us?

16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

 

If we hold on to the Bible teaching, it is of course clear that people have received their special features from God through creation. When God created the first humans, He made them in His own image, although in the Fall this image became distorted. He gave people qualities that would separate us from the rest of His creations. Our specialties include, for example, language, great intelligence, religion (only people pray), and the topic of this text, ergo sense of right and wrong. Humans were created in the image of God and that explains all these special qualities:

 

- (Gen 1:26,27) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

 

- (Ec 3:11) He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.

 

Atheists accept murder. When atheists attack against the Bible, usually there is an arrogant attitude behind it, which exudes cultural and chronological pretentiousness. This attitude makes people these days consider themselves wiser and morally better than people of the past. Therefore, current atheists are certain that they are both intellectually and morally ahead of the people, who wrote the Old Testament. They think they are wiser and that they are better advocates for human rights than, e.g., Moses.

However, there is one thing that takes away from their credibility: it’s the acceptance of murder. By that I mean killing children through abortion, which atheists practically unanimously support. There are few and far between atheists who don’t support it.

Why do atheists accept killing children? They might claim that a child in the womb is not equal to human, but how could they argue for this? At least it has no scientific basis, because the fetus is not only a part of the mother’s body, but a human individual growing inside the mother. That is:

 

“Abortion is not only about the body of the mother, but also about another body; a child’s body and soul. A fetus is a new individual from the moment he or she begins to exist, and he or she has received their genetic elements from their father and mother. The fetus is not a part of the mother’s body at any moment in time. He or she has their own system; their own closed blood circulation; their own heartbeat; their own blood type, which could cause immune reactions in the mother; and their own brainwaves.” (2)

 

Furthermore, we know that the unborn child very much looks like the child that the family sees for the first time. Only the size is smaller, but an aborted fetus possesses all the same body parts as newborn baby: hands, feet, mouth, nose, eyes (See You Tube video: Äänetön huuto). According to all this, the fetus is a child like any other. A gynecologist, who knows what takes place in abortion, tells:

 

One cannot perform abortion eyes closed. One must be sure that everything has come out of the womb and one must count that there are enough of legs and arms, rib cage and brain that is coming out. Then when the patient is waking up from their narcosis, and asks, whether it would have been a girl or a boy, my resilience has reached its limits and that is when I usually walk away. – If I perform a surgery, where I clearly kill a living being, I think it is folly to talk about destroying nascent life. It is killing, and I see it as killing.” (3)

 

Although atheists might pose as progressive, calm, and accepting individuals, they act completely the opposite in terms of abortion. They accept the killing of innocent. Their actions are quite similar to the Canaanites committing child murder. They burned their children in fire, and that is what raised God’s wrath towards this nation:

 

- (Deut 12:31) You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

 

THE GOODNESS OF GOD. Earlier we mentioned, how the Christian perception of God is often the target for atheists’ attacks. They don’t see God as good or righteous, and that is why they reject Him.

But what is the case? Is He good, and what is He like? When discussing this matter, the following fundamental matters should be considered. They indicate that God truly is a good God:

 

God created everything to be good. The first clue to God’s goodness, is that He created the world to be good. Everything was initially good and perfect in a way that the initial state of the world is often called paradise. The world was surrounded with peace and there was a peaceful unison between the animals, between a human and animals and between a human and God. Human was not subjected to death either. God made everything to be good and that evidences His good nature. This was the beginning we had:

 

- (Gen 1:31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…

 

Many might ask, where have all the problems in our world come from if God initially created everything to be good. There is a simple answer, however: there was a rebellion, and that is the cause of all evil and suffering. because of the Fall, bad things entered the world. The perfect initial state became imperfect. This is the teaching of the Book of Genesis and the same tale has been passed on in some nations’ folklore. Those too have described a paradisiac beginning and the Fall that followed. We now live in a world that isn’t the same as how it was initially created to be.

 

The goodness, perfection and holiness of God. Other sources that can be used to understand God’s essence are the verses that discuss His goodness, perfection and holiness. What both the Old and the New Testament teach is that God is good. Evil is not a part of Him, as He is only good and never bad:

Many might ask, where have all the problems in our world come from if God initially created everything to be good. There is a simple answer, however: there was a rebellion, and that is the cause of all evil and suffering. because of the Fall, bad things entered the world. The perfect initial state became imperfect. This is the teaching of the Book of Genesis and the same tale has been passed on in some nations’ folklore. Those too have described a paradisiac beginning and the Fall that followed. We now live in a world that isn’t the same as how it was initially created to be.

 

The goodness, perfection and holiness of God. Other sources that can be used to understand God’s essence are the verses that discuss His goodness, perfection and holiness. What both the Old and the New Testament teach is that God is good. Evil is not a part of Him, as He is only good and never bad:

 

- (Matt 5:48) Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

- (1 John 1:5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 

- (James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.

 

- (Matt 7:11) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

 

- (Ps 118:1) O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endures for ever.

 

- (1 Peter 1:15,16) But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.

 

- (Isa 45:21) Tell you, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? who has told it from that time?  have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.

 

The goodness of God also comes apparent through His inviting people to salvation. People more often than not choose wrong and sin, but God encourages us to change our mind. This is a general teaching across the Bible, and we can see it in thousands of verses. If God wasn’t good and holy, he probably wouldn’t act this way. In fact, only the kind of God, who doesn’t accept evil and is against it, can be good:

 

- (Rom 2:4) Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

 

- (Isa 61:8) For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

 

- (Acts 17:30) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:

 

- (Eze 18:23,32) Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? said the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, said the Lord GOD: why turn yourselves, and live you.

 

- (Rev 2:15,16, 3:3) So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

16 Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you.

 

- (Luke 15:7-10) I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.

 

Jesus, the image of God. As already noted, atheists fight against God. They don’t believe that He exists or then they’ll claim that He cannot be good. This kind of claim is often present in the works of atheist authors.

It is important to realize, however, that Jesus is the perfect image of God. Father was in Him and He was in the Father. What Jesus was like, is also what our heavenly God is like, as the following passages will show us. These two things cannot be separated.

 

- (John 14:5-11) Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

7 If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from now on you know him, and have seen him.

8 Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us.

9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?

10 Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?  the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

 

- (2 Cor 5:19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

 

- (Hebr 1:1-3) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

 

If Jesus was the perfect image of God, then was He good? Was He sinless and accepting? Indeed, this is what the New Testament teaches us. The disciples considered themselves imperfect and faulty (Rom 7:18-24 etc.), but they regarded Jesus as sinless and pure. The enemies of the disciples usually agreed, which also points towards the good nature of Jesus. Thus, if Jesus, the perfect image of God, was good, then God must be good too. These two things go hand in hand. First, the words of Jesus about Himself, then the comments of the disciples and others about Him:

 

- (John 8:28-30) Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.

29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

30 As he spoke these words, many believed on him.

 

- (John 8:45-47) And because I tell you the truth, you believe me not.

46 Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?

47 He that is of God hears God's words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God.

                 

Another testimony of Jesus’ sinless nature comes from the comments of His disciples and enemies. In the texts of the disciples Jesus’ sinless nature is considered self-evident, but those, who didn’t support Him, also gave a similar testimony. We will look at some relevant passages:

 

The disciples

 

- (Hebr 4:15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

 

- (Hebr 7:26) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

 

- (1 Peter 2:21,22) For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

 

- (1 John 3:5) And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

 

- (2 Cor 5:21) For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

Others

 

- (Matt 22:16-18) And they sent out to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God in truth, neither care you for any man: for you regard not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What think you? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt you me, you hypocrites?

 

- (Matt 27:3-5) Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see you to that.

5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

 

- (Matt 27:17-19) Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, Whom will you that I release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, Have you nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

 

- (Luke 23:39-41) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If you be Christ, save yourself and us.

40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do not you fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss.

 

- (Luke 23:46,47) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

 

- (John 18:37,38) Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.

38 Pilate said to him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, I find in him no fault at all.

 

The greatest commandment gives us a clue, what is most important to God. He wants two things: that we would have a loving and close relationship with Him, and that we would have an accepting attitude towards our neighbors. The double commandment of love brings out our shortcomings the clearest. We are far from perfection. However, the commandment in part points towards the goodness of God. For Him love, that is not only shown in words but in actions, is important. If He was a malevolent God, as the atheists claim Him to be, then why are we urged to love our neighbor and God:

 

- (Matt 22:35-40) Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

Urging people to do good. We can also see the goodness of God in that He changes people. Terrorists, criminals, and other wrongdoers can put an end to their wrongful acts towards others, when they listen to God. The change that Paul went through serves as another great example of this. He used to be hostile and cruel, but he changed after he began following God and Jesus Christ. For example, the following passages describe his inner thoughts and his love for other people. It is true that such drastic changes are rare, but they are possible:

 

- (2 Cor 12:14,15) Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your’s but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

 

- (2 Cor 2:3,4) And I wrote this same to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.

4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have more abundantly to you.

 

- (Rom 9:1-3) I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

 

- (2 Tim 3:10,11) But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience,

11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

 

- (Phil 3:17) Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample.

 

Another case in point evidencing for the good nature of God is that after the disciples met God and Jesus, they began to heavily emphasize the significance of good acts. If God and Jesus were malevolent, as claimed by atheists, then why did the disciples urge people to do good, after having spent time with Jesus? There is an imminent conflict, or perhaps atheists have been mistaken. Urging people to do good and to be good comes through many verses:

 

- (Rom 12:9,17,21) Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold to that which is good.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

- (Rom 16:19) For your obedience is come abroad to all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise to that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

 

- (2 Cor 8:21) Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

 

- (2 Cor 13:7) Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.

 

- (Gal 6:9,10) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.

 

- (Phil 4:8) Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

- (1 Thess 5:15) See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

 

- (Tit 3:8) This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

 

- (Tit 3:14) And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

 

- (3 John 1:11) Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God.

 

God’s good will towards people. The goodness of God can also be seen through his good will and love for people. He came down to earth in Jesus Christ and atoned our sins, so that anyone can be forgiven. In other words, God Himself came here, suffered people’s objection, humiliation and finally died on the cross, in order to give us a change to join His kingdom. He wasn’t a cold God, but a God, who cared and will care for us, as can be seen from the following passages:

 

- (Luke 2:13,14) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

- (John 3:16) 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.

 

- (1 John 4:9,10) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

- (Tit 3:4,5) But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

 

- (2 Cor 5:19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.

 

What is the reason, why God did what He did for us? It’s a simple reason: Love is a part of His essence, and that is why He couldn’t have done anything differently. John and Paul wrote the following:

 

- (1 John 4:8,16) He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. 

 

- (2 Cor 13:11) Finally, brothers, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

 

EVIL AND SUFFERING IN THE WORLD. When I was an atheist, one of the most important reasons for my atheistic worldview was all the evil and suffering in the world. My opinion back then was that there cannot be a God, when the world is filled with such bad things. I thought that this kind of thinking was well within reason to support my unbelief towards God.

Atheists today still use these same arguments. They claim that there cannot be a God, or at least He cannot be good, because there’s so much evil and suffering in the world. Additionally, they might claim that if God is loving, He cannot condemn anyone to hell. We will briefly look into these topics.

 

Does the existence of evil in the world prove that God isn’t good? As stated, atheists use evil as proof for God’s non-existence or that He can’t be good. I used to use the same argument myself.

However, it is important to realize that evil does not come from God, but that it began in a rebellion against God. First, it happened in the angel world and then on earth through the Fall of Man. Paul referred to the latter in the Epistle to the Romans, e.g.:

 

- (Rom 5:12) Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned:

 

Evil does not come from God; it was his created creatures that were guilty of evil. God knowingly created beings that were able to make independent choices and affect their future. His creations weren’t robots that would only do what they were meant to do; they were independent beings. If God had created us differently, we wouldn’t be humans anymore. We would be robot-like machines.

We could always ask, why didn’t God take away all the sin from the world. Why did He leave the world as it is today?

However, if God removed all sin, in doing so He would also remove us, because sin lives inside of us. There would be no humans left on the planet, leaving the world empty. It would not only be the end of wars, and horrendous acts, but also an end to our selfish thoughts, hate, pride, and other negative qualities that we bear. If God were to abolish all evil this instant completely, there would be nothing left of us.

However, there is a solution to sin: we must confess our sins and change our ways by quit doing sinful acts. We will never be completely rid of sin in this lifetime, but if we repent, we can make an end to horrendous and evil acts towards others. It is the model God gave us to live by today. Everyone can decide for themselves, whether they want to live by this principal or not:

 

- (Matt 3:1,2) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

2 And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

- (Matt 4:17) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

- (Luke 15:7) I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

 

- (Acts 17:30) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:

 

- (Acts 26:19,20) Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:

20 But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

 

Does the existence of suffering in the world prove that God is not good? Suffering is not always inflicted by bad people. Suffering can also be caused by accidents, hunger, diseases and natural catastrophes. They can bring pain to many. However, it is possible that people can affect the occurrence of these things as well, as illustrated by the following examples:

 

• Traffic accidents are cause by people. People were the ones who built cars, trains and planes that can be subjected to accidents, not God. There is often disinterest to others’ safety and neglect behind traffic accidents.

 

• Hunger is a similar phenomenon. We could erase it from the world if we had the will power to do it. There is plenty of food for everyone in the world, but our selfishness prevents us from doing the right thing.

 

• Natural catastrophes can also be linked to the acts of people. For example, climate change is believed to be affected by fossil fuels used by people.

What about earthquakes? We might not be able to prevent them, but there are ways to minimize destruction. If we avoid building on earthquake zones or build houses that are more resilient against earthquakes, there would be less damage.

 

What kind of a solution can we find from the Bible for all the suffering? Suffering and death are consequences of the Fall, but they are only in this temporary state. God, who truly is a good God, will at some point completely erase the consequences of the Fall, so that there will be no more diseases, death, suffering, or anything imperfect. So far this has not taken place, but it has been promised to prevail. We are going to look at some passages relating to the matter:

 

- (Rom 8:20-23) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.

23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

 

- (1 Cor 15:26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

 

- (2 Peter 3:13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

 

- (Rev 21:1-6) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.

 

- (Rev 22:1-5) And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

 

GOD DOESN’T THINK LIGHTLY OF SIN. When people pose arguments against God belief, they often question two things: judgment after this life and eternal hell. People refuse to believe that God would condemn anyone for their actions. Neither do they want to believe that a loving good God could sent anyone to damnation. These fundamentals of Christianity have, especially, been scrutinized in Western society.

 

Fairness of judgment. We have to remember that judgment after this life follows the same principles as secular courts. That is, it is common for all societies to have a judicial system, which is there to sentence murderers, criminals, and other wrongdoers accordingly to their actions. Physical and sexual violence, theft, fraud, and embezzlement are some of the most common criminal charges that people go to prison for. This has been a common practice in all societies throughout centuries. If the judicial system is fair – it hasn’t always been – it will stick to these principles.

On one hand, if there is a secular judicial system, which is meant to hold murderers, criminals, and other wrongdoers accountable for their action, why is it so difficult to believe that there would be judgment after this life as well? Judgment after death shouldn’t be any more peculiar than secular judicial system sentencing people for their wrongdoings. Both follow the same principles, which is good enough of a reason to take judgment after death seriously. God will hold everyone accountable for their actions, similarly to our secular judicial system. Everyone will be responsible for their choices and treatment of others. You reap what you sow.

 

- (Rom 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

 

- (Hebr 9:27) And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

 

- (Gal 6:7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

 

God can only be good if he is against evil. Richard Dawkins wrote in his book The God Delusion (p. 285) that “Christianity is only focused on sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin. How is it that this little measly concern can take over the mind and take a hold of one’s life.”

Dawkins has got it all wrong, however. Isn’t it precisely sin that is the pressing issue in the world? It has caused tyranny, genocide, murder, theft and crime, wars, sexual abuse, domestic violence, families breaking up, tax evasion, and all sorts of wrongdoings in the world. If we belittle sin, we will be badly misguided.

God doesn’t take sin lightly, however. He is a good God, who hates all sin and evil. If He weren’t so hateful towards these bad things and didn’t oppose them, we couldn’t consider Him good anymore. An unconcerned God who accepts evil cannot be good. God’s wrath towards injustice becomes apparent from the following passages:

 

- (Jer 21:12, 22:3-5) O house of David, thus said the LORD; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

3 Thus said the LORD; Execute you judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

4 For if you do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.

5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, said the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.

 

- (Rom 1:18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

 

- (Rom 2:4-8) Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

5 But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up to yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:

8 But to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

 

- (Rom 3:5,6) But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? I speak as a man

6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

 

- (Ef 5:6) Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God on the children of disobedience.

 

- (Col 3:5,6) Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience:

 

This is a good spot to make our transition into the idea of judgment. When some people claim that God is not fair if He judges all of us after this life, they actually paint a picture of a bad God for themselves. That is, if God said: “It doesn’t matter what you do”, He would give his blessing to all wrongdoings committed by dictators and other wrongdoers. He would be like a judge, who isn’t concerned with watching over the law and accepts all evil: murder, crime, wrongdoings, lying, cheating, etc. Aril Edvardsen explains this in a conversation he had with someone;

 

I let him speak and I didn’t say a word back. “Well, maybe I believe that there is a Creator”, he continued. “But I cannot believe in a loving and righteous God, when the Bible says that there is hell and judgement day.”

Do you think so? I said. ”I think the complete opposite. I could not believe in a loving and righteous God if that, what you call hell, wouldn’t exist – a final settlement day for people, when everyone must account for what they have done in this life, the good and the bad.

He looked at me in confusion and said: “You cannot be serious!”

“Yes I am!” I replied. ”I mean exactly what I said. If tyrants, dictators, terrorists and bad people, who have tortured and destroyed others in this life, wouldn’t have to pay and settle for their actions sooner or later, then I couldn’t believe that a righteous God exists.” The doctor looked at me in astonishment and I continued: “Think about Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann, who tortured and killed millions of people in concentration camps – all the while living a luxurious life style during the Second World War. Would they get away with it just like that – getting shot in the head and getting hanged? The whole thing would be over in a matter of seconds and then nothing, while many ordinary people in this town die with much worse suffering than those two – like cancer and other diseases.

Would Hitler and Eichmann get off more easily from the world than others – and after death there wouldn’t be anything? Not any kind of reckoning? …No, then I couldn’t believe in a loving and righteous God.”

“Please continue”, he said and I did:

“The Bible says that God is both loving and righteous, and that is why judgement day will come to us all, and then all of us must account for ourselves. Then wrongful people get their doom and those, who unjustly suffered, get their amends.

The whole human life, death and eternity would be completely without a purpose if people wouldn’t believe in judgement day, the day of justice.”

The district doctor sat silent and listened. All of a sudden he looked at me as if he had come up with something entirely new.

“You are absolutely right!” He exclaimed. “I haven’t thought of this before. That is logical. You are totally right, sure enough. Life here on Earth is often tough and unfair for many. People’s lives will get destroyed and the cruelty of other people causes harm as much in marriages, families, work places, refugee camps as in battle fields.

If you wouldn’t have to pay for what you’ve done in this life – for all that humans have done, good and bad – then there really couldn’t be a loving and righteous God. I must think about this!” he mumbled. (4)

 

CONNECTING WITH GOD

 

- (Acts 17:22-31) Then Paul stood in the middle of Mars’ hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious.

23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I to you.

24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands;

25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things;

26 And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

29 For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man’s device.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:

31 Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.

 

We discussed two false perceptions of God above:

 

1) He isn’t the malevolent God that atheists claim Him to be

2) Nor is He an imaginary god, who doesn’t condemn evil and judge us for our wrongdoings. Instead, He is good, and He hates injustice and won’t let it win.

 

How can we connect with God? We have selfish thoughts and desires, and everyday we are reminded of our imperfect nature. Is there any hope for us?

God’s love is here to help us. God doesn’t want us to be separated from Him or that we go to hell. He loves people and wants us to join His kingdom. That is why the Son of God, Jesus Christ, came to earth. He came and took all our sins and wrongdoings to the cross, so that they would no longer prevent us from receiving a place in heaven. He came, so that we could be forgiven for our sins. According to the Bible, God was in Jesus Christ and He atoned the world through Himself:

 

- (2 Cor 5:19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.

 

The fundamental baseline of the former passages is that God Himself has prepared everything for us through Jesus Christ. He made it possible that everyone can be forgiven for their sins and receive an eternal life. We don’t need our own merits and efforts anymore, because anyone can receive an eternal life through grace. It is God’s gift for us. Don’t throw it away!

 

- (Eph 2:8-9) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

 

- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.

 

- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

Our part. If you want to receive salvation, what must you do? There are two things to consider:

 

Repentance. As we already discussed that God does not accept sin, it should be clear that unrepentant people do not inherit the kingdom of God, but only those who repent their sins will. That is, if God accepted unrepentant people, how could He be good? Therefore, repentance, which allows people to turn to God and confess their sins, is linked to forming a connection with God. We should do the same as the prodigal son in the emblem told by Jesus. He turned to his father and was forgiven for everything:

 

- (Luke 15:17-20) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you,

19 And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

 

- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

 - (Prov 28:13) He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.

 

Only through His gift.

 

- (Rom 3:9) What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

 

- (Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

 

- (Gal 3:22) But the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

 

When it is said that eternal life can be received as a gift through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, it truly is so. Only the act of God can last eternally, when He atoned our sins on the cross. We humans – no matter how good you might be – are so flawed in the eyes of God that we couldn’t possibly live up to His expectations. That is why we must rely on Jesus Christ, because through Him our sins have already been atoned. Jesus Himself said the following:

 

- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

- (John 5:39,40) Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

40 And you will not come to me, that you might have life.

 

Thus, if you wish to inherit the kingdom of God, you must turn to Jesus Christ in prayer, because He is the only way to God. You must confess your sins to Him and tell Him that you want to give your life to Him and God. You can pray like this, for example:

 

The prayer of salvation: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.

 

                                                             

 

References:

 

1. C.S. Lewis: Tätä on kristinusko (Mere Christianity), p. 44,45

2. Michael Harry, Ulla Järvilehto, Markus J. Viljanen: Anna lapsen elää, p. 23

3. Suomen kuvalehti, n:o 15, 10.4.1970

4. Aril Edvardsen: Rakkauden terapia (Kjaerlighetens Terapi), p. 68-70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!