Christianity had gotten off-course, and so 500 years ago a brave Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed to the door of a church a list of 95 abuses. In Luther’s day, church leaders competed against the Scriptures for authority. Today, due to globalization, Christianity is just one of many religious options— each of which claims to be “the right way” and “the only way”. Add to the religious mix today the view that science is capable of saving humanity, and we now even have a secular “religion” which is competing in the marketplace of ideas. How do we decide which “savior” to believe in? The reformation doctrine of “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone).
Today we turn to the question, “What does God reveal in his Word about the nature of mankind’s problem?” …and therefore what the solution possibly could be. In college, the most interesting class I took in my major was epidemiology (the study of epidemics). At the same time that the Reformation was just getting started, an epidemic called “the Black Death” began spreading. It killed an estimated 50% of Europe’s population. They came up with some strange “cures” which, of course, did no good (one of them involved eating eggshells and human excrement!).
The Reformation clarified mankind’s spiritual “disease”: sin (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). Many people say, “You Christians! All you ever talk about is sin!”, but because 100% of us are sinners we’re going to need to know our “disease” and just as eggshells and excrement couldn’t combat the Black Death successfully, any proposed solution to mankind’s sin is going to have to successfully solve our sin problem. Anything less is just a band-aid. Notice how “resistant” our disease is (Isaiah 59:2). Maybe we’ve been applying “eggshells and excrement” to a problem which is so serious that it only responds to a much more powerful cure. We can’t “by ANY means” redeem our souls. (Psalm 49:7-9)?
Well, enough of this grim news. God loves us so much that he solved what we couldn’t. Yes, the wages of sin is death, BUT …God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. What a marvelously loving, kind, sacrificial God we have! We were the treasonous traitors and our debt is beyond our ability to pay, so he died to solve our problem! This is our second great Reformation doctrine: “Solus Christ”—Christ Alone is able to cure humanity of our sin-disease. Allah can’t save us. Krishna can’t save us. None of the 3,000 Hindu deities can save us. Science cannot save us. These are all man-made attempts to redeem mankind, yet this is impossible. Why is he able to be the redeemer of the world, when nobody else can? Because Jesus is God (Titus 2:13; John 1:1-18; Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1; etc.)
The proposed “cures” for the Black Death—eggshells and excrement—didn’t work because they were utterly unrelated to our little germ here who caused the disease. In searching for a cure, or in evaluating one which has been proposed, there has to be a connection between the two. So, as we try to connect a potential cure to the disease of sin, what attributes will it need to have? Well, since the wages of sin is death, any successful cure would need to be powerful enough to cure a fatal condition. Since our sins have cut us off from God, so that God has turned away and will not listen to us, then any successful cure will need to originate with God, not us. And since no man can by any means redeem a soul, since we should cease trying forever, it cannot involve human effort. Sounds hopeless, even incurable (Mark 10:26-27).
“With people it is impossible”. Education won’t save us. Good deeds can’t save us. Our problem is too serious. Christ alone can solve it—and this is the second great Reformation truth. Now, some people find it offensive that we say that there’s only one way to God. But if there’s only one “medicine” that is sufficient to cure what ails us, and if that medicine has graciously been provided to us free of charge, why is that news offensive? Why indeed?
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- If you are convinced that Christ is the Savior of the world—but have never repented of your sins and trusted him to save you—do it today! If you would like to know God personally, contact us here. Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
- If you are not yet convinced that Christ is uniquely qualified to be the Savior of the world—then you need to find out today! Read chapters 7-13 of Wayne Grudem’s Christian Beliefs and complete this week’s “Digging Deeper”. Note: (TCC doesn’t manage links to external site resources so if link is broken we apologize but, please feel free to let us know by sending an email to our Admin Team.)
- If you have a friend or loved-one who believes in some other way than Jesus Christ, pray for them, study Grudem’s Christian Beliefs, and then discuss it together.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, identify and write down one, concrete step of obedience, small or large but doable, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)