April 17 "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 This is the foundational Scripture of the Christian faith, the Scripture which children in Sunday school will all learn by heart. Let's take a deeper look at it. WHY did God send his Son? When God created mankind, he created him in complete perfection. This enraged Satan who at one time was the elect angel in heaven, and who lost his place when he rebelled against God. God created something new, mankind created in the image and likeness of God, loved by God, with an eternal future with God. In his great anger, Satan devised a plot to get man to sin because he knew that rebellion against God would cause mankind's downfall. God had placed Adam and Eve, our first parents, in a lush garden and told them that they were totally free and could eat whatsoever they desired there, with the exception of the fruit of one tree. He told them that if they would eat the fruit of that tree, they would surely die. Satan's method from the very beginning even up until this day -- is deception. He knows that the way to damn people is to tell them that what God has said is not really true. Did God really say...? Satan said to Eve, “HAS GOD INDEED SAID, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'" Genesis 3:1 Eve answered that they may eat freely, except from that one tree which they must not eat from lest they die. The LIE: vs 4-5 "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will NOT surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, AND YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.'” God said they would surely die if they ate from that tree, and Satan said no, you will NOT surely die. Satan is a liar and lies to every human being on the earth including you and including me. He puts suggestions into your mind with the intent of making you doubt what God has said and to doubt what he has given us in his Word, the Bible. Jesus said of Satan: "When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, HE IS A LIAR AND THE FATHER OF IT." John 8:44 It's all about deception. Satan lies to people, and to this day they believe the lies. Adam and Eve fell for the bait and ate of that tree, and when they did, the death principle came into their perfect world and not only would they die, but every living thing on the earth came under the death principle, because they relinquished the authority God had given them over the earth when Satan succeeded in bringing them down through lies. So God had a problem. Satan had destroyed God's creation and in doing so Satan became "the god of this world." "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe..." 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 Mankind was doomed. Every descendant of Adam would now be born in a fallen human nature because of which he will sin. And no one can enter heaven stained with sin. The judgment upon sin is death and hell, eternal separation from God. Another lie: Many religions teach that salvation comes through our goodness, that if our good outweighs the bad, we'll go to heaven. This is a LIE. Mankind is doomed by sin. When a man is convicted of rape and murder, it is useless for him to stand before the judge and tell him all the good things he's done. The judge is not interested in hearing how much money he gave to charity, the judge is not interested in hearing ANY of the man's good works. The man is there convicted of rape and murder and all he is going to hear from the judge is the sentence, his prior good works are here irrelevant. And that's the position sin puts us in before the righteous Judge of all. Jesus Christ came into the world to take that sentence upon himself in our place. That is why there is no other way to be saved. We are ALL sinners "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22 “There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10 But God has provided the means through which we can be saved. Jesus, the sinless Son of God, came into this world to take upon himself the guilt of mankind's sin, to go to the cross shedding his innocent blood for the guilty. And that's why the atonement he provided is the only way one can be saved. All people, all descendants of Adam and Eve, come into the world in a fallen human nature, and all sin. All are sinners, all sin must be judged. Jesus took upon himself the judgment of our sins. That's why... vs 18; “He who believes in him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." We come into the world condemned. The only way to be saved is to put our faith in the One who took our condemnation upon himself. There is no other way. And that's why all religions do NOT lead to God. No other has borne our judgment in our place. Jesus said... “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT through me." John 14:6 If you have not received Jesus Christ as your savior and lord, you have the sentence of condemnation upon you. There is no other way to be saved. If there were any other way, God would not have sent his sinless Son to pay such a horrific price. Pray: Father God, I admit that I am a sinner. I ask you to receive me through Jesus Christ your Son who took upon himself the judgment on MY sin. I want to belong to Jesus. I ask for the grace of repentance. Help me to turn away from a sinful life and follow you. I surrender myself and my entire life to you, Lord Jesus. From this day forward may you be my savior, and my lord. How could I ever thank you for the great sacrifice you endured -- FOR ME? Bring me into your plan for my life, I will follow you for the rest of my days. “Because the sinless Savior died My sinful soul is counted free, For God the just is satisfied To look on Him and pardon me. Lyrics from "Before The Throne Of God" More: Who Is Jesus Christ?