In Psalm 14:2-3 we read, “The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” This whole concept is summed up succinctly by Paul with these words, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23).
When we can come to the place that we realize there is no good thing in us, when we are willing to turn away from our own evil and turn to God and to his way, we have at that moment come to the place of God’s help, we come into the state known as repentance. (Acts 3:19).
This is somewhat akin to the concept of te’shuvah (repentance) in Judaism. Repentance is best illustrated by the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The son went off into a far country away from his father’s house. There he wasted himself with evil. Finally, he was reduced to feeding pigs and would have happily filled his stomach with the husks they ate. At that point the lad repented and decided to return to the father’s house. This he did, but he did not come in pride. Rather, he came in great humility, turning from his sins and having a willingness to be only a slave in his father’s house.
All the complicated offerings of Israel dealt with this subject. God required the slaying of animals to illustrate to us the gravity of sin and of our fallen condition. However, the offerings of these animals could not take away sin. Could they have done so, these offerings would not have been repeated year after year (Heb. 10:2).
Almost 2000 years ago, God himself moved in a dramatic way to deal with man’s sin problem and to bridge the gap separating himself and man. Since we could not go to God because of our sinfulness, God came to us. This is the essential message we celebrate every Christmas – “God with us,” or the Hebrew word “Immanuel.”
God himself came to live in this world of flesh and blood. He came in the person of Jesus or Yeshua, the Son of God, whom we believe is the Messiah or the Immanuel. He lived, he died an atoning death, and he was resurrected by God’s power, taking his seat at the right hand of God.
Yeshua came to Israel first, and then to us in divine simplicity.
The Bible says in Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The Bible makes it even simpler with this appeal to all people, “for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). It is a simple salvation by grace and through faith (Eph. 2:8). It does not depend upon our righteousness because we have none to offer. That is why it is called “gospel” or “good news.”
The gospel is summed up for everyone in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is such a simple plan that a small child can understand it. Don’t let simple keep you from God’s gift.