When I spoke yesterday about faith in Jesus Christ, I focused on the fact that we must believe that He is who He said He is: the Son of God, and the Saviour of mankind. Jesus saves us from sin and the consequences of sin which is eternal death and hell. How does this work? Because we are all sinners, and God cannot ignore the just consequences of that sin, God had to provide a just means by which we could be saved. If a sinless man were to offer to accept the punishment due to us, then it would be just in God's eyes to accept that as payment on behalf of sinners. But since no man is sinless, God Himself (who is sinless) became a man in order to do this for us. That man was Jesus. Furthermore, it's only because Jesus is God that He was able to bear the punishment for all of the sins of many people.
Now let's step back a little and see the world from God's perspective. God created the universe and revealed Himself to the very first man and woman. God continued to interact with their children, and all throughout history He never deserted us. He spoke to us through prophets, and when they wrote down His words in Scripture, He continued to speak to us through His written word. Even today, God continues to speak to us as we have the Bible, and we have Churches, and we have missionaries. But even when none of those things are available, God reveals Himself in the world around us as we consider how such a complex universe must have come into being, or how people can have emotions like compassion and a sense of right and wrong. The truth is that deep down, we all know that there must be a God who is responsible for all this.
Now, yesterday I said that God reveals Himself to those who seek Him; to those who want to know Him. We might wonder how one can want to know of something they have no concept of? But the very idea of God is revealed to all people, everywhere, through the creation itself so that all people can desire to know Him and begin to seek Him. So consider God's perspective on all this... He has created us and given us all that we need – the sun to keep us warm, the plants and animals for our food, intelligence and ingenuity to design and build our environment. And because we are sinners, He even provides a Saviour for us at great cost (the death of His Son, no less)... What should be the just consequence for rejecting that Saviour? Let's read a parable which Jesus told...
There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.” And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” (Matthew 21:33-41)
People tend to suppress the truth, or reality of God, which they know in their hearts to be true, just as the tenants beat those servants who reminded them that there was a “master of the house” over them. They were like us all in that we want to be master of our own lives instead of God. But despite our efforts to suppress the truth, it cannot change the reality that God is our creator, and therefore our master; and that Jesus Christ is, in fact, the Son of God. We come to know this through the revelation of God, and people have heard more or less revelation than others. But faith is believing the reality of who God is, and who Jesus Christ is. We have all received revelation to some degree as Christ draws us, personally, to Himself. But to reject that revelation, or reality, makes us worthy of the consequences. Most of the time when we reject that reality, we end up believing that we don't even need saving or that we can find some other saviour. But only a “God-man”, Jesus, is capable of saving us. There is no other saviour.
He said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:31)