You may wonder – why is sin such a big deal? Take a moment to imagine what heaven will be like. We imagine heaven to be a place that is perfect in every way. By extension, this also means there cannot be the presence of anything that is imperfect in heaven otherwise it would no longer be perfect. This, though, presents a BIG problem and that big problem is US! We are not presently compatible with God because we are not perfect – we could not exist is the presence of God in our current state. It is as though humanity is “unplugged” from the dimensions that God exists on. The holiness and purity of God is something we have no capacity to truly understand, but many places in Scripture show that God cannot reveal Himself to us physically at present or our human bodies would simply be consumed. Maybe we are limited to the three spatial dimensions we exist in to protect us from the supreme holiness, purity and justice of God!
When Adam was created, he did live in the presence of God and things were very different. However, when Adam exercised his free-will and choose to disobey God, his relationship and existence before God was fractured and death entered the creation for the first time. Since that moment, God has been forced to distance Himself from us for our own survival – this is an act of mercy from God! This incompatibility with God boils down to the issue of sin and this affects every person on two levels:
1. Genetic inheritance of sin
Scripture tells us we are all genetic descendants of Adam, that Adam sinned and as a result, creation no longer functions as it did originally before the fall.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)
So, whether we like it or not, we INHERIT sin! We cannot change this fact – it does not matter whether we think it is unfair or not, the mere presence of the genetic sin makes us incompatible with God in our present state. The presence of death (and everything that leads to death: illness, disease, etc.) further confirms there is a genetic problem we all have – the fact that we will all die at some point is the ultimate evidence of the inheritance in our bodies of sin.
There is a strong clue of the unapproachable holiness of God when Moses requested an appearance of the glory of God on Mount Sinai:
And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:17-23, emphasis added)
Here, Moses had requested to see the form or likeness of God, but for his own protection God could not allow it – it would have destroyed Moses! In the same way, we would also be destroyed if we were to appear before God with this genetic flaw.
2. Our own sin
If we are honest with ourselves, we must all admit that we are not perfect! This is why “sin” or “imperfection” is such a big issue for God – there can be no presence of sin before God in heaven and if we are guilty of any sin, it follows there can be no place for us in heaven. Our own sinful behaviour further confirms our incompatibility with God. Even if we were allowed into heaven with our imperfections, heaven would no longer be perfect! There are many instances where characters who meet the Lord become acutely aware of their sinful condition and collapse at though dead at the mere presence of His appearance – take Isaiah and Daniel for example:
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. (Isaiah 6:5-7, emphasis added)
Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb… And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. (Daniel 10:8-11, 16-19, emphasis added)
Both men, who were amazing men of God, display an intense awareness of their own corruption or uncleanness when confronted with an appearance from God. If Isaiah and Daniel were so unable to withstand the presence of God, our situation is surely much worse! Please see our page – What are Gods standards? – to measure yourself up against God’s law. When we all meet our Creator on the day of judgment, we are have a huge incompatibility problem!
What is the solution?
This is where our saviour Jesus Christ comes in – Jesus came to make it possible for us to be compatible with God. Firstly, Jesus did not inherit the genetic sin we all inherit. He had no earthly father (as He was born of a virgin) and therefore did not inherit the corrupted DNA pattern that passes this genetic sin through the generations (through our fathers). He was perfect, but despite this, He was able (because of His own perfection) and willing to pay the price for our own imperfections. He then imputes His perfection to us on the day of judgment – IF we accept this offer! It is only possible for us to gain entry to heaven because Jesus has paid our entry fee and has the “voucher” or “passport” for our entry. The compatibility issue is now resolved.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30, emphasis added)
When Jesus was on the cross, just before He died, he proclaimed the words, “it is finished”. This interesting phrase is translated from the original greek “tetelestai” which literally means “paid in full”! This declaration of Jesus guarantees that our sin is completely dealt with and is not reliant on any action of ours, except our acceptance of His offer!
If you were to survey the religious spectrum (including Christian denominations where the true gospel is not understood or taught) you would see different attempts to gain entry to heaven through a series of works and rituals. These attempts to “appease” God can never provide a substitute for our sin because no amount of “work” we perform will take away our sin. At best, we then take “works” + “sin” with us to meet God, but the very presence of sin will render us unacceptable for heaven no matter how much in the way of works we offer. A complete lifetime of repetitive rituals would still be in vain as we would still take our sinful condition to judgment day with us and be refused entry as imperfection cannot be allowed into a perfect place. No work or ritual of man can earn this – it is futile and blasphemous to pretend otherwise and displays a complete lack of understanding of the holiness of God. Even mainstream Christianity is presently softening and diluting the gospel message and “blurring” the issue of our sinful condition. This appears to be in a futile and foolish attempt to make the gospel of Jesus Christ more palatable to a relativist society that does not understand the concept of sin and accountability for its own actions. This is a very sad state of affairs as any “gospel” that does not recognise and deal with sin through repentance is NOT the gospel of Jesus and CANNOT save souls! Our compatibility with God can only be resolved through repentance and trust in Jesus Christ.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Jesus could not have made it simpler for us to have access to heaven – we simply present the “passport” stamped with the words “paid in full” that we receive through Christ – it is available to absolutely anyone and its completely free of charge. We have to simply hold our hand out and accept the voucher. We are then in the position of having our sin “paid in full” and therefore take no sin with us before God on the day of judgment! A full relationship with God through Christ is then possible. Our guarantee or “down payment” for our “passport” is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that energises us to spread the gospel message to those that are unsaved and to live our lives with Christ as our template. Jesus Christ can be invited into your life with a simple prayer of repentance – please see our page – How to be saved – for a simple gospel presentation with a prayer of confession to secure an eternity with God in heaven!
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15-16)