If the Bible is God’s authoritative word, as Jesus professes (e.g. Matt. 4:4; John 10:35), we must seriously consider all of its own claims regarding salvation.
Specifically, the Bible teaches, that, “all have sinned,” (Romans 3:23), and, “there is no one righteous,” (Romans 3:10).
Compared to God and His standard of righteousness: “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags,” (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, we all deserve God’s, “wrath” (Romans 1:18) and the sentence of, “death” (Romans 6:23).
However, there is 1 way out of this horrific dilemma: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:8-9).
Thus, anyone meeting God who has not received Christ’s free gift of salvation through repentance and faith in Him will have to bear the penalty that we all deserve (but that Christ graciously took on our behalf). They will die condemned and judged in their sins, receiving the just penalty that Christ would have taken on their behalf; but they rejected that offer. I take no pleasure in writing this, but pray my words may point people to Christ alone.
Objection: If this is true, isn’t God unkind and unloving?
This common objection should be seriously considered as well. Here I want to address it from 4 angles:
Angle 1: Can God Compromise Who He Is?
What if it is not a matter of choice, but of necessity, that God must punish and reject all sin from His presence?
Consider that there are things impossible for God to do. For instance, “it is impossible for God to lie,” (Heb. 6:18). And, “with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning,” (James 1:17 – meaning, He can’t change who He is).
Likewise, it says that it is impossible for light to dwell with darkness or holiness to dwell with sin (see 2 Corinthians 7).
If this is true, then it’s not a matter of God being cruel or unkind to reject and punish sin. Instead, He would cease to be God if He TOLERATED sin. It’s like us not being able to tolerate any drop of poison. It is built in to what it means to be human, and has nothing to do with us being kind or hurtful toward the poison.
Angle 2: Was God Cruel Toward Jesus?
Further, if people could be saved without Jesus having to die for their sins, wouldn’t that be cruel that God the Father forced Him to endure such a tortuous death when it was unnecessary?
Consider Matthew 26:39-44 and Luke 22:42-44, for instance, where Jesus is in agony about being crucified. He begs God the Father that, “if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me,” (Matt. 26:39).
Surely if His death and payment for sins was unnecessary for salvation, then God the Father is exceedingly cruel to make Jesus go through all that excruciating agony for nothing, isn’t He?
Angle 3: Does God Know Things About Fairness and Kindness We Don’t?
Likewise, if the Bible says clearly that God must punish sin, and that Jesus taking that punishment is the only way for sinners to be forgiven, wouldn’t it be arrogant of us to assume we have a better grasp of “fairness” and “kindness” than God Himself who is the source of fairness and kindness?
To illustrate, my kids have thought many times that things we were doing were quite “unfair.” And sometimes, though we know what we were doing was very fair, their little minds can’t comprehend the fuller picture we see, and so it’s almost impossible for us to convey the fairness of our actions to them.
How much more would there be a gap between us and God?
Thus, is it likely that our limited perspective may give us a warped and skewed view on what is truly fair and kind? If so, shouldn’t we trust God’s words and thoughts (as found in the Scriptures) over ours?
Angle 4: Has Mercy Been Shown?
Finally, if, indeed, all are unworthy to be in God’s presence, and all sin/sinners must fairly be punished for our sins, then would you agree that it is actually a MERCY that God willingly took on an “iddy-biddy” human body (like ours), lived a common life, and died a shameful, merciless, excruciating death He was never obliged to?
He would have been totally just to have all people take on the punishment themselves. But instead, He took the punishment in our place.
In light of this, wouldn’t it be cruel for us not to tell the world about this amazing offer–that ALL OUR SINS AND PUNISHMENT have been paid for in Christ?
And would it likewise be offensive toward Jesus/God for us to reject this VERY COSTLY payment made in our stead?