God is Just, People are Condemned

You began your gospel presentation with a careful look at the problem of sin. Sin is the opposite of God’s holiness. Therefore, sinful people cannot have a relationship with him. But the lost person may be thinking, “What is the big deal about my sin? What is the problem if I don’t have a relationship with God?” This next section, “God Is Just, People Are Condemned,” answers these questions by pointing to the ultimate consequences of sin. Sin not only cuts off your relationship with God in the present; it also cuts off this relationship for eternity.

God Is Just

With the lost person, you need to establish this important attribute of God. Justice is not primarily a political issue. It is a foundational issue of right and wrong in the world and the ramifications of these two forces competing against one another. Before the lost person understands how justice applies to people, he needs to understand the justice of God.

God Is Just in His All Actions

We have already seen how God is holy, but did you know that God is also just? The Bible describes him as “a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut 32:4). This means that everything he does is right and fair. He makes no mistakes in his decisions. Everything he does is perfect. This makes sense because we already know God is holy, which means he is separate from all sin. Sin does not taint God’s choices, like it does ours. We can be confident that every one of God’s decisions will be without error.

God’s Justice Demands Judgment

In light of God’s just nature, we would expect him to act in a certain way. Part of God’s justice is his faithfulness to keep his promises. When he plans to act, he always follows through with his plans. This is different from what people do. People say they will do something, but they often do not follow through. God does not behave this way. The Bible says, “God is not a man, that he should lie” (Num 23:19). He will always fulfill what he says he is going to do.

What does this have to do with justice? Well, we already know God is holy, but because we are sinful, we cannot have a relationship with him. His justice demands that there be a punishment for sin. The Bible says plainly that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). A wage is like a paycheck; it is earned from work. In the same way, God says that the paycheck for sin is death. Anyone who sins is worthy of this judgment because he has earned it.

Some people may claim this is unfair, but remember, “God is not a man, that he should lie.” If God has said that there is a punishment for sin, then he is going to keep his word. His justice demands that he fulfill exactly what he set out to do. This is not unfair. The most just thing God can do is judge sin.

People Are Condemned

This section applies God’s justice to the lost person. Before you get to the good news of the gospel, the lost person must realize the seriousness of his sin and the judgment that awaits him if his sin is not addressed. You will also introduce the subject of eternal punishment in hell. While this is not a comfortable subject, it is a necessary point of the gospel. Jesus offers to save people from the consequences of sin both in this life and the next. Your job is to share that message with the lost.

People Deserve Judgment

In contrast to God’s perfect justice is the sinfulness of people. God always makes right decisions, but people still choose to rebel against his commands. As we just learned, God does not overlook your sin. He must punish it, and the punishment you deserve is death. This is not referring to physical death alone. It also refers to eternity in hell, what the Bible calls “the second death” (Rev 20:14). The Bible describes hell in various ways: everlasting fire, fire unquenchable, lake of fire, and second death. In other words, hell is a place of intense, conscious torment for all eternity. These descriptions show us the seriousness of God’s punishment for our sin.

You may be asking, “Isn’t that unfair? How can God judge me for eternity in hell? I thought he was a loving God.” These are legitimate questions. The reason God must judge sin is because there is a price to pay for sin; Romans 6:23 showed us this already. What you must realize is that every sin is punishable by hell. The Bible mentions a list of vile sinners who enter the lake of fire. In that list, the Bible includes “all liars” (Rev. 21:8). Everyone has told a lie before, and it only takes one lie to become a liar. This is true of other sins, like murder (how many people do you have to kill before you are a murderer?). So, all liars, meaning everyone who has told at least one lie, will enter the lake of fire. This shows us that even the smallest sins are worthy of this punishment. All sin is inherently evil enough to deserve this.

An illustration of why this punishment is necessary may help. Imagine a courtroom scene. The defendant is on the stand, and the evidence against him for the crime he committed is clear to everyone. The judge presiding over the case, because he is such a loving person, decides to let the criminal go free. Would that be justice? No! Would that be loving? No! Love and justice are not contradictory. Since God loves you, he gives you justice by punishing you for your sin. God’s punishment is necessary, yet it is still loving and just.

People’s Good Works Cannot Save Them

Maybe you still have a question about why judgment is necessary. What about all the good things that people do? Will God consider those as a possible way to escape punishment? You must consider your good works from God’s perspective. The Bible says that every person is “unclean,” and even the good things they do are useless in God’s eyes (Isa 64:6). In other words, your good works cannot take away the punishment you deserve. In fact, the Bible says your attempts to obey God’s laws only show you how sinful you are (Rom 3:20).

Let’s return to the courtroom illustration. The evidence against the criminal is clear. He deserves to be punished for his crime. But the judge also sees on the defendant’s record his giving towards charities and his volunteer work in the community. Because of these good works, the judge sets the criminal free. Would that judge be just? No, because a criminal is only judged by his crime, not the good things he does. In the same way, you have broken God’s law repeatedly, and he will not consider your good works when he passes judgment on your sin.

I understand all of this may be hard to hear. But God wants you to know the bad news about your sin. We will get to the good news in a moment, but may I ask you a question first?

If you died right now, are you confident about your relationship with God? Are you concerned about that?

Conclude this section of the presentation by assuring the lost person that if he is concerned about his relationship with God, there is good news. God provided a way for sin to be forgiven. This will transition into the next point of the gospel presentation. If the lost person says either he is confident about his relationship with God, or he is unconcerned about it, then ask him if he has any questions about what you said. His response could stem from either a misunderstanding of what you said about sin, or he is genuinely unconcerned. This should not discourage you. Be thankful that God gave you an opportunity to plant truth in his mind.

Assignment

  1. Memorize Romans 6:23
  2. Memorize the following outline of the section “God Is Just, People Are Condemned.” This will be tested orally with another student in the class.
God Is Just
  • God Is Just in His All Actions (Deut 32:4)
  • God’s Justice Demands Judgment (Num 23:19; Rom 6:23)
People Are Condemned
  • People Deserve Judgment (Rev 20:14; 21:8)
    • Descriptions of Judgment – everlasting fire, fire unquenchable, lake of fire, and second death
    • Courtroom Illustration – The Loving Judge
  • People’s Good Works Cannot Save Them (Isa 64:6; Rom 3:20)
    • Courtroom Illustration – Good Works

If you died right now, are you confident about your relationship with God? Are you concerned about that?

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