“The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.” Proverbs 10:27
When you boil down the Gospel to its essence you find yourself confronted with the reality of who God is and what you do with that news.
We are all born into this world with an inherited “bent” away from God. The Bible calls it a sin nature. (Romans 3:23) Our sin nature causes us to view life through lenses that filter out God, or at best, distort the nature of God into something unrecognizable. As a result, we tend to believe life revolves around us. We see ourselves as the Masters of our own Universe. In this condition, if we believe there is a God, He becomes the kind of God that exists to help you and make your life better.
This ignorance and choice to ignore God, as He has revealed Himself, has fatal implications. It’s not like God is in Heaven watching how you live your life to determine whether you’ll avoid the final judgment and go to Heaven. We’d like to believe that God judges us on the basis of our intentions…but the Scripture is very clear that He doesn’t.
Many people can’t believe that God would send a good person to Hell. But it’s not an issue of good or bad…it’s an issue of belief and unbelief. John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
The Gospel message includes God’s revelation of Himself and how man is to relate to Him. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is also faithful, longsuffering, loving, and full of mercy. But we must never forget that He has also revealed Himself as Holy, and, that He does not tolerate sin…AT ALL! God certainly loves you and me, but that does not diminish His intolerance of sin.
Man’s salvation, therefore, is not an issue of self-improvement or making restitution for past wrongs. Our self-improvement or “goodness” doesn’t negate or balance out our sin problem.
God’s solution for sin is a perfect sacrifice. Jesus Christ is man’s only hope because He has already paid the penalty that judgment on our sin required. (Romans 6:23) The Gospel calls for men and women to simply believe that God loved us enough to satisfy the demands of justice with His death on a cross and resurrection from the dead. Ultimately, this GREAT REVERENCE or “fear of the LORD” and acknowledgement of what He did results in receiving the gift of eternal life.
The alternative is a life centered on self, and one’s ability to make the most of the short time we have on earth. Biblically, this life that ignores God and His provision is described as “sinful” and “wicked” and results in “condemnation” and a final destination in a terrible place called “Hell.”
Hopefully, the stark reality of the Gospel message will motivate you, a fisher of men,” to do some fishing today and seek to rescue the unbeliever from the final destination of his unbelief.