We have choices throughout each day to love and follow God or to choose our own selfish ways. God in His love is constantly leading and correcting His people in an attempt to draw them into relationship with Him. No matter how hard we try on our own, we will continually fall short of what God requires of us. As Romans 3:23 tells us,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Whether we sin in small ways or big ways, we all fall short in the eyes of God. As we understand more clearly what sin is, we can see that even though we may love God, we all sin every day. When we use our free will to obey God, that is good. When we use our free will to disobey God, that is evil. In this regard, man is inherently evil.
God is holy (pure and set apart), and He can only be in the presence of holiness. Sin separates us from God. If we sin even a little, the result of that sin is spiritual death. Since God is holy, we must come into His holy presence having been cleansed from our sin. There is only one way this can be accomplished and it is a free gift from God. Romans 6:23 tells us,
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that,
God made Him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God [emphasis added].
How incredible is that? In His immense love, God made a way for us to permanently be brought back into perfect communion with Him…through Jesus! There is so much more to this Good News. Romans 5:8 says,
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God is not looking for us to act first. He has already demonstrated His love for us. Long before God created mankind, He knew that we all would sin. In His infinite love, He provided a way for us to be brought back from spiritual death into eternal life. He knew He would redeem mankind through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
Big and little sinners alike are only saved by grace (God’s unmerited favor). There is nothing that we can do to deserve this precious gift of redemption; there is nothing we can do to earn our way into heaven. We cannot be “good enough” on our own. It is a free gift. God’s grace is made even more precious because it is free to us, but supremely costly to Him.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
We are given new spiritual life, eternal life, through what Christ has done for us. When Christ died on the cross, all sins were forgiven: past, present, and future. It isn’t our sin that ultimately condemns us; it is the decision we make about Jesus. It is as though we were totally broke (and we are spiritually) and someone gives us a check for $1 million. If we cash it, we are rich; if we don’t, we remain broke. The gift has been given. As Jesus said in His final moments on the cross,
It is finished ~ John 19:30
It is our own free will to choose whether to believe or not to believe, to receive or not to receive. All we need to do to receive this gift is to believe. We can choose to believe what Christ did for us on the cross—or not.