Be sure to visit these pages:
A Message to Designers and Dean’s Garage Readers
Don’t quit reading halfway—this probably ends differently than you expect.
Do you think there is life after death? Let’s say you do. Do you think that everything came from nothing? Or do you think that there was deliberate, intelligent design that accounts for creation? Let’s say that you entertain the idea of a Creator.
A Case for a Creator
You’re a talented creator. You create car designs and artwork. Cars certainty don’t design themselves. As the creator, you have a purpose for what you create, and you have control over what you have created. If you aren’t satisfied with how a design is going, you re-design it, start over, or throw it away. It’s your creation—you can do what you want with it.
Car designs aren’t alive—they don’t have a will of their own. What if they did? Imagine if one of your creations decided it didn’t like your original and re-designed itself, imitating a style of another designer whose designs you intently dislike. Adding insult to injury, it justifies its actions by imagining that you, the original creator, won’t mind, but will accept it anyway.
Our Creator gave us a free will. Like the car that has re-designed itself, we all have decided we don’t want to be accountable to a Creator (Romans 3:23). We think that the Creator will not mind if we decide not to abide by his design, but have determined that we can decide what is best for ourselves.
In your career you’ve accumulated a lot of proposals, and I imagine that you go through them occasionally. Let’s say that you look for a particular design in your files that you really like, but upon discovery and to your dismay, it has re-designed itself. It decided it didn’t like your original creation.
From the design’s point of view, it thinks it’s just fine. All it knows is that one day it became aware of itself and doesn’t believe that there is a designer. Or if it considers that there might have been a designer, it concludes that this designer is okay with the re-design. The design is either ignorant of the designer’s intent, has invented a concept of a designer that doesn’t exist, or just doesn’t care. This is a pretty smug design.
We’re all like that design.
We think we’re good. The Creator, if there is one, will accept us the way we are. We’ve made up our own version of reality. What is His criteria for where we are destined—the wall or the trash? Let’s find out by comparing ourselves to His moral law, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17).
Have you ever told a lie? Then you are a liar. (Exodus 20:16)
Have you ever taken something that wasn’t yours? Then you are a thief. (Exodus 20:15)
Have you ever looked at a woman with lust? Who hasn’t. God’s Word states that you’ve committed adultery already in your heart (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28).
Have you ever hated someone? God’s Word states that you’re a murderer in your heart (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:22; 1 John 3:15).
Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? That’s blasphemy (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). People use God’s name as a cuss word all of the time, but they wouldn’t use their mother’s name in the same way. They respect their mother, but have no respect for the God that gave them eyes to see and life itself.
That’s just five of the ten commandments. I’m not judging you; I’m just a guilty as you are.
Do you know what death is?
It’s wages (Romans 6:23). God is deadly serious about sin; death is what we’ve earned. (Sin is defined as missing the mark—coming short of God’s standard.)
This is what the future holds. Hebrews 9:27: “It is appointed for men to die once, and after this the judgment.” If God judges you on the Ten Commandments, would we be innocent or guilty? Heaven or Hell? God has given us a lifetime to make one crucial decision that will determine what will happen after we die.
A Righteous Judge
Let’s say you’re facing a earthly judge for a criminal offense. The judge is about to pass sentence. You appeal to the judge. You tell him that, yes, I raped and murdered, but consider all of the good things I’ve done. I’m sorry for what I’ve done, and I won’t do it again. You’ve invented a judge that can be bought off. And we do the same thing, creating a god that doesn’t exist. That’s called idolatry, and summed up in the first commandment (Exodus 20:1), “You shall have no other gods before me.”
If the judge can be bribed to let you off, he’s not a righteous judge. He must sentence you according to the law. The judge tells you that you certainly won’t do it again and sentences you to death.
The Good News.
God is a righteous Judge. He’s also full of grace and mercy.
What did God do so that we don’t have to be condemned?
If you had a stack of speeding tickets, and someone came forward and paid the fine for you, even though you’re guilty, the judge can legally let you go because the fine has been paid. That’s what Jesus did on the cross. As he died he declared, “It is finished (John 19:30).”
What’s finished? Sin has been paid for. We broke the law—He paid our fine, and his resurrection is the receipt. How do we take advantage of this payment for sin and escape judgment?
What does God require of us?
Just two things, and only two things. Repent and trust Jesus. Repent means to be have a conscious awareness of how serious this is and its consequences. You decide that you don’t want to go down that road any longer. The risk is too great.
The second thing is to trust Jesus like you would a parachute.
Let’s say you’re in a plane and it’s going down. Someone offers you a parachute, but you think you’ll be OK. You can save yourself. Maybe you think you can jump out at the last minute, or wave your arms and fly. The ground is coming up fast and you strap on the parachute, but have second thoughts. Jumping out of the plane seems risky, and maybe the parachute won’t work. Either way, you die in the crash.
But instead, you come to your senses and jump, trusting the parachute to save you. The plane augers in, but you’re safe (Romans 10:9,10; John 5:24; Romans 10:13).
God’s will is for none to perish, but all to come to repentance and have everlasting life.
He’s gracious to give us a lifetime to make one critical decision that determines our ultimate and final destiny.
There is no other source of hope. All man-made religions have one common idea, that you have to do something to earn God’s forgiveness. But because no one knows how much is enough, people under these religious systems can’t really ever have any peace, live in continual guilt, and are under subjection to their leaders who fleece the flock for gain and control.
Your belief in what God has written in His Word is counted as righteousness in God’s eyes (Genesis 5:16). “Counted” is an accounting term which means credited to your account. In other words, you’re bankrupt with nothing to offer God, but when you trust Jesus, God declares you righteous (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5,6).
This is completely contrary to the way our world works, where everything has to be earned.
A stumbling block that people have is that we have nothing to offer God. We think that there must be some good in us to merit God’s favor. But we are completely destitute (Isaiah 64:6). How do you put your trust in Jesus? Tell God. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (not to a man), and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9,10).” You have the option to believe this or not. If the Bible is rot, then you’ve gained nothing by “trusting Jesus.” But if God’s Word is true, then you’ve lost everything by not trusting Jesus. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”