God is Loving, People are Loved

Up to this point, you have thoroughly dealt with the problem of sin and its horrific consequences. The lost person should sense their need for deliverance from sin. This is what the gospel intends to do. From this point on, you will focus on the concepts of God’s love and grace as demonstrated through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In this section, “God Is Loving, People Are Loved,” you will explain how the death and resurrection of Christ provide the answer to the human problem of sin.

God Is Loving

The truth of God’s love for the sinner is one of the most powerful drawing factors of the gospel. As you present this important attribute of God, you will focus on how love motivates God to act for the well-being of mankind. Everything he does is ultimately for his glory, and showing love to his creation is one of the primary ways he does this. God magnifies himself as he bestows his affection on people, and the greatest demonstration of this was the cross. Introducing God’s love in the salvation story shows that he offers his love to all people when they receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

God Is Motivated by Love

I am glad you are concerned about your relationship with God. It is certainly bad news to us when we realize that we are sinners and that our sin merits eternal punishment. But God has made a way for us to be rescued. The reason he did this is because he is loving. We have already seen that God is holy and just; he is separate from all forms of evil, and everything he does is good and right. Love is another attribute of God. It is not contrary to his holiness or justice. Rather, love complements his other attributes. God’s love guarantees that he will also be perfectly holy and just. The Bible even tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This simply means that the essential quality of God is love. All of his actions can be summed up in his love because he constantly looks out for our well-being without any conditions imposed on us. He will always show love to us, whether we respond to him or not.

God Demonstrated His Love to All People

The love of God goes deeper than just words. He not only says he loves us, but he also demonstrated his love in the greatest possible way. He did this by coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and dying for the sins of the whole world. Jesus entered this world by means of a very special birth. He was miraculously born of a virgin, and one of the names given to him was Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matt 1:23). He is God-incarnate, fully God and fully man in one eternal person. During his life on earth, Jesus Christ made explicit claims to be equal with God (Mark 14:62-63, John 8:58, John 10:30). The Jewish leaders falsely accused Jesus because of these claims. The Romans executed him by crucifixion.

Jesus’ death on the cross was the greatest human injustice. Though he had done no wrong, he suffered the judgment reserved for dangerous criminals. Because he is equal with God, he is holy as God is holy; he was perfectly sinless during his life on earth. In spite of this, he died on the cross for the sins of all people (1 Cor 15:3). Three days after his death, he rose again and was seen alive by many people (1 Cor 15:4-5).  He now lives in heaven as both God and man, and the same love he showed on the cross he offers to everyone (Rom 5:8). God proved his love to the whole world by giving his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross (John 3:16).

People Are Loved

You have introduced the story of the gospel and its ultimate solution for sin. Now you will enter a more detailed section in which you focus on what the death of Christ accomplished. Each component is important, so be sure to explain them clearly. By showing the lost person the ramifications of Christ’s death and resurrection, you show him the extent of God’s love for him. Yes, Jesus died for the sins of the world, but the importance of this is much deeper. He paved a clear path for sin and its consequences to be fully defeated, and for his own perfection to be given to those who receive him.

People Can Be Rescued from Judgment

Jesus’ death was an incredible demonstration of God’s love for all people. But we have to ask some questions: “Why did Jesus die? What did he accomplish by doing this?” One of the things he accomplished was rescuing people from judgment. Because Jesus is perfect, he was able to be a substitute for the sins of all people. The Bible teaches he literally took the sins of every human being on himself when he died on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). God the Father took every person’s sins and placed them on Jesus. He died in our place. This means he took upon himself both our sin and its consequences. Because of Christ’s death, you do not have to suffer the judgment of an eternal hell. He has already taken your punishment in your place.

People Can Be Forgiven of Sin’s Debt

Not only can you be rescued from judgment, but you can also be forgiven of sin’s debt. Do you remember when we talked about the wages of sin? The Bible says that what we earn for our sin is eternity in hell. Death is the only way we can pay for our sins on our own. But Jesus experienced your death for you on the cross, so you would not have to suffer for your sins. While he was hanging on the cross, before he breathed his last breath, Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He was using a financial term that means, “It is paid in full.” He was referring to the debt of mankind’s sin. People do not need to pay for their sin by suffering the judgment of hell. Jesus already made this payment in full.

Some people think that they can pay for their sins on their own. They imagine that by doing a variety of good works, they can pay for all the bad things they have done. This is not what the Bible teaches. On the cross, Jesus made a complete payment for your sin. Your good works cannot add to that payment. Let me ask you a question that will clarify this:

Since Jesus completely paid your sin debt, is there anything left for you to pay?

The lost person should understand by this question that there is nothing left for him to pay. The answer you are looking for is “no.” If he still believes there is more for him to pay, review the truths of the first two points under “People Are Loved.” Emphasize that no amount of good deeds will ever complete the payment Christ made on the cross. His payment was in full.

Let me mention one more important truth about Christ’s payment for sins on the cross. We know that he paid our sin debt in full so that we could be completely forgiven. But did you know that his payment forgives your sins at every point of your life – past, present, and future? The Bible says that Jesus’ blood, which he shed on the cross, “cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). This means that no matter when you commit sin in your life, Jesus can forgive all of it because of what he did on the cross. You can have full payment for your sins in Jesus Christ!

People Can Receive Christ’s Righteousness

The third accomplishment of Jesus’ death is the exchange of your sin for his righteousness. We have already seen how Christ took our judgment and paid our sin debt in full. The Bible also teaches that when Jesus forgives your sin, he removes it from your life and replaces it with his own goodness and holiness. Because Jesus is perfect, he can take all of your sin on himself and give you his perfection in its place (2 Cor 5:21).

Imagine you owe an enormous debt, let’s say one million dollars. A wealthy businessman sees your need and offers to help. He completely pays your debt so that you do not owe anything anymore. That would be a relief! But what if he did not stop there? Imagine this businessman, in addition to paying your debt, also gives you a million dollars in your bank account. That would be a welcome gift! This is what Jesus did. He offers to wipe away your debt of sin, but he also offers to replace it with his own righteousness. He wants to credit his holiness into your account so that you can have a relationship with God.

A Living Jesus Makes This Possible

God offers you three incredible gifts: deliverance from judgment, freedom from sin’s debt, and his own righteousness. All of these gifts prove how much God loves you. He offers them to you through his Son, Jesus, and the work he did on the cross. But what if Jesus had stayed dead? If that was true, he could not offer anything to us. But the Bible teaches that Jesus came back to life three days after his death (1 Cor 15:4). We know this to be true because over 500 eyewitnesses saw him alive after he died on the cross. Jesus is alive today, and he offers to every person a relationship with God through his death and resurrection.

Assignment

  1. Memorize Romans 5:8
  2. Memorize the following outline of the section “God Is Loving, People Are Loved.” This will be tested orally with another student in the class.
God Is Loving
  • God Is Motivated by Love (1 John 4:8)
  • God Demonstrated His Love to All People (Matt 1:23; Rom 5:8; John 3:16)
People Are Loved
  • People Can Be Rescued from Judgment (1 Pet 2:24)
  • People Can Be Forgiven of Sin’s Debt (John 19:30; 1 John 1:7)
    • Since Jesus completely paid your sin debt, is there anything left for you to pay?
  • People Can Receive Christ’s Righteousness (2 Cor 5:21)
    • Debt Illustration
  • A Living Jesus Makes This Possible (1 Cor 15:4)
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