God is Holy, People are Sinful

If the person you are witnessing to has agreed to let you share the gospel, you have a wide-open door of opportunity. You want to take advantage of it by sharing the gospel thoroughly and clearly. In your presentation, there are four key points you want to articulate. The first of these is “God is holy, people are sinful.” This point lays the foundation for why people need salvation in the first place. Every point of the gospel will focus on an attribute of God and an attribute of people. For the gospel to be understood, the lost need to know what the Bible says about God and about people.

You should note that this gospel training series, the posts will be presented from a first-person perspective to help you understand how to share these truths in a conversational way. Paragraphs in italics will indicate a new point of the outline or will provide you with additional insights. Paragraphs in standard font will provide you with an orderly, conversational way of talking about the different points of the gospel outline. These paragraphs will be presented in a first-person format.

God Is Holy

Before talking about the condition of all people as sinners, you need to establish the holiness of God. This allows you to compare the sinfulness of all people to the standard of God’s holiness. When the lost person sees this disparity, he will recognize his need.

God Is Completely Holy

The Bible describes God in many ways – loving, gracious, merciful, wise, etc. One important attribute of God is his holiness. This is a word that basically means “separate.” God is separate from sin in all its forms, because he himself is without sin. The Bible gives us two descriptions of God’s throne room in heaven. In both instances, God is praised by the angelic host with the same words: “Holy, holy, holy” (Isa 6:1-3; Rev 4:8). He is completely holy because no one else is separate from sin like he is.

God Expects People to Be Holy

Since God is holy, he expects holiness from the people he has made. The Bible says that he made all people in his image. This means he made us to reflect his holy nature, so we could have a relationship with him. If people want a relationship with God, they must first be holy themselves (Matt 5:48; 1 Pet 1:15-16). Since God is set apart from all sin, he cannot have a relationship with people unless they also are set apart from sin.

People Are Sinful

Some people want a relationship with God, and some do not. But no matter where they stand, they have the same need; they cannot properly relate to God because of sin. In this section, you will begin to explain to the lost person the problem of sin and why sin disqualifies him from a relationship with God.

Before learning this section, it may be helpful to understand this outline’s approach to presenting the problem of sin. People are inherently sinful; this has been the case since the fall of Adam and Eve. God has given laws in the Bible for people to obey, to reveal his perfect and holy character and to teach us our need for him. Ultimately, people have disobeyed his laws, revealing their true sinful condition. We all “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). This section uses laws from Scripture to reveal the problem of sin in every human heart because the law is a “schoolmaster” to point people to Jesus (Gal 3:24). Since this is God’s ultimate purpose for the law, this section will follow this biblical pattern.

People Are Universally Sinful

God wants a relationship with the people he created. But there is a problem: people are not holy like God is holy. People are not set apart from sin like God is. The Bible defines sin as the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4). This is a problem that every person faces without exception (Eccles 7:20; Rom 3:10). We are all guilty before God as sinners.

People Commit All Kinds of Sin

In the Bible, God gives us many different commands. All of them show us a reflection of his holiness. They remind us that he is separate from sin. Unfortunately, people have broken these commands repeatedly. Some examples of God’s commands are found in the Ten Commandments. Let’s look at some of these commands.

At this point, you can quote one of the Ten Commandments, briefly explain it, and ask the lost person, “Have you ever done this before?” More than likely, he will admit to having disobeyed that particular law. You can do this for several commands. If the lost person is confident he has never disobeyed a certain command, mention another example until he acknowledges that he does not meet God’s holy standard. Below are some examples of how you can use the Ten Commandments in your presentation:

Let’s look at the third commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” That means God does not want people to use his name flippantly, without any regard for who they are talking about. He certainly does not want his name used as a curse word, as in “Oh my ____!” Yet people do this all the time in every day conversation, and they hear it from television and movies. Have you ever done this before? If so, your actions reveal that you are a sinner.

Let’s look at the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” That means that you should obey your parents and give them the respect they deserve as your God-given authority. Everyone is guilty of this behavior, especially in their childhood and teenage years. Have you ever done this before? If so, your actions reveal that you are a sinner.

Let’s look at the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” Most people know this means having a physical relationship with someone who is not their spouse. Maybe you have not done this, maybe you have. But did you know Jesus explained this command even more? He said if a man looks at a woman and has lustful thoughts toward her, he has already committed adultery in his heart (Matt 5:28). Even if you have not committed the physical act, just having immoral thoughts about a woman is considered adultery by God. Have you ever done this before? If so, your actions reveal that you are a sinner.

People Are Disqualified from a Relationship with God

We have looked at just a few of God’s commandments, and you admit that you have broken them before. I am guilty of disobeying these commands as well. Every person on earth has broken God’s law. You may be asking, “So what? What is the problem with breaking God’s laws?” There is a serious problem. Breaking God’s law shows that you are a sinner. You are disqualified from a relationship with him because of your sin. Your sin proves you come short of God’s perfection; everyone on earth has the same problem (Rom 3:23).

Let me illustrate this for you. Suppose that both of us were lined up alongside the edge of the Grand Canyon. Let’s imagine we decided to have a contest to see who could jump over the canyon and make it to the other side. We both get a running start and do our best to jump across the canyon. How will this contest end? Both of us would end up at the bottom in the Colorado River! One of us may have jumped farther than the other, but at the end of the day, neither one of us made it to the other side.

This is the problem you face with your sin. You are on one side of the canyon, and God is on the other. You are trying your best to reach him on the other side. But your sin keeps you from meeting the holy standard of God, so you come short of his glory. As long as you continue to live with the problem of sin, you cannot reach the other side. Your sin disqualifies you from a relationship with God.


  1. Memorize Romans 3:23
  2. Memorize the following outline of the section “God Is Holy, People Are Sinful.” This will be tested orally with another student in the class.
I. God Is Holy

A. God Is Completely Holy (Isa 6:1-3; Rev 4:8)

B. God Expects People to Be Holy (Mat 5:48; 1 Pet 1:15-16)

II. People Are Sinful

A. People Are Universally Sinful (1 John 3:4b; Eccles 7:20; Rom 3:10)

B. People Commit All Kinds of Sin

Example – Ten Commandments

C. People Are Disqualified from a Relationship with God (Rom 3:23)

Illustration – Grand Canyon

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