The way to redemption
"So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
(The Bible: Psalm 90, verse 12)
Everyone knows that death awaits at the end of their life. Sooner or later this lot will hit everyone in the world. No one is exempt from this.
For most people, the idea of death is associated with fear, and usually also with grief and pain. For many, the loss of a loved one robs them of the courage to face life. For some, the fear of dying is related to the assumption that death is all over and a life is irretrievably lost; for others, it is related to the uncertainty of what will come afterwards.
For this reason, people try to avoid this uncomfortable subject as much as possible. But sooner or later everyone will be con-fronted with it. Some people seem to have come to terms with their hopeless fate. Others, on the other hand, are looking for ways and means to keep themselves young, to extend their life or to perpetuate them-selves in some way. But no matter whether young or old, whether small or large, if rich or poor, if famous or not - fact is:
Everyone has to die one day.
THE MEANING OF OUR LIFE
"So God created man in His own image;
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them."
(The Bible: Genesis chapter 1, verse 27)
God formed man in his own image. This means that God created man as a being of supreme dignity, whose personality should reflect the character of his Creator (see: "Who is God?").
God placed various abilities in people, in-cluding the ability to feel joy, gratitude and compassion, among many others, like creative talents, which make people unique among all creatures that God has created.
In addition, God gave man a conscience so that he could make moral decisions in accordance with his Creator's will. Man should use all of these abilities for the glory of God and for the benefit of his fellow men.
In addition, God gave people a free will, which distinguishes us from robots with-out will and enables us to recognize love and at the same time to love God and other people of our own free will. God wanted man to recognize his love for him that God proofs in many ways and to re-turn God's love by trusting in his creator and keeping his commandments and orders that God had set so that man could prosper and live save and in peace on earth (See: 10 Reasons for God's Love).
This relationship between man and his Cre-ator, based on love and trust, forms the meaning and basis of our life.
"Then God blessed them, and God said to them,
"Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and
subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
(The Bible: Genesis chapter 1, verse 28)
Our life and this earth in its undescribable beauty are a gift from God to man and a sign of his great goodness and creativity. Our unique nature, which bears the handwriting of God, together with its variety of animals and plants, should serve people for joy and enjoyment. Everything that God created on earth he placed under the care of man, so that he responsibly looks after God's works and creatures and receives them.
God created man so that he could live in eternal communion and in harmony with the will of his Creator and so that he could enjoy his existence on earth without fear, toil and worry. This is our true destiny. This presupposes that man is willing to accept God as his Creator and to live in accordance with his will.
According to biblical tradition, the first people were called Adam (in English: "Hu-man") and Eva (in English: "Mother of the living"). from them the whole human race arose, which still populates the earth today.
Adam and Eve lived in a deep and har-monious relationship with God in the midst of a paradisiacal world full of harmony and abundance. And God wanted it to stay that way forever. His bond with God gave man an identity and his life a perspective. At no point did he have the slightest rea-son to doubt God's love and care. Because through fellowship with God, man had everything he needed for a completely fulfilled life.
But on the day when man turned his back on his creator, everything changed....
THE ORIGIN OF DEATH
"For the wages of sin is death (...)"
(The Bible: Romans chapter 6, verse 23)
Many people believe that death is something natural and part of life from the start. On the other hand, God's Word, the Bible, informs us that death has its origin in the fall of man.
The first commandment that God gave to man in the beginning was to be the test of man's trust and faithfulness to God. Yet despite all that God has bestowed upon man, man has acted unfaithfully, violating God's commandments and thereby despising the love of his Creator. This is what God calls "sin".
Man's unfaithfulness cost him the heavenly peace that he was allowed to enjoy in untroubled fellowship with his Creator at the beginning of his existence. By transgressing God's commandment, man lost his innocence before God and with it the eternal life he had in the beginning. Through the sin of the first human beings, death came into the world, which reigns over God's creation on earth to this day. In addition, people had to leave paradise, the place of complete bliss, where they lived in the beginning. And so man, who was once created by God for eternity, became mortal and his life transitory....
The Fall caused a division between man and his Creator and also left a tendency to sin in the heart of man. As a result, everyone became a sinner. This confirms the fact that every person has done things in his life that do not correspond to the will of God - be it in ac-tion or in words. The further man finally turned away from God, the more haughty and selfish he became, until he finally lost almost all connection to his Creator and origin. Ultimately, suffering and injustice on earth increased to the same extent.... (see: God and suffering)
THE DIVINE STANDARD
"Everyone who sins breaks the law;
in fact, sin is lawlessness."
(The Bible: 1st John chapter 3, Verse 4)
Lies (also so-called "white lies"), theft (also illegal downloads), gobbling and get drunk, adultery and pornography, sexual immorality and prostitution up to murder (which also includes abortion), selfishness and malice of all kinds are some of the terrible Effects of man's apostasy from God, his Creator. Even if some of it is tole-rated or even encouraged by the public, it is and remains sin according to God's eter-nal standard and death as a consequence.
Unlike in our society today, neither one's own opinions nor personal values and moral concepts, according to which most people live, count for God. The only decisive thing is God's commandments and ordinances, which God, as creator and giver of life, has made binding for all peo-ple and which serve each one of us for the best. On this basis alone, the actions of every person will be judged. It's about more than just visible deeds....
Jesus Christ says:
"But I say to you that whoever looks
at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
(The Bible: Matthew chapter 5, verse 28)
The Bible makes it clear that all evil that a person does comes from his heart and be-gins in his mind. Thus, Jesus equates anyone who hates or offends his fellow man to a murderer. And when someone looks at someone else's wife with lustful looks, he is in God's eyes as if he had actually commit-ted adultery with her.
This shows that we are dealing with a completely different standard than we are used to judging our lives and actions. Fur-thermore it is clear that fallen humanity today is far from meeting God's holy scale....
Since we humans often compare ourselves with others, trivialize our own deeds or want to see ourselves better than the facts, we often do not recognize the scope of our guilt. Most people look for reasons and excuses to justify or excuse their beha-vior. But God's standard makes it unmista-kably clear:
Everyone is guilty before God.
THE WORLD JUDGMENT OF GOD
"The Lord comes with tens of thousands
To be the judge of all, and to give a
decision against all those whose lives
are unpleasing to him, because of the
evil acts which they have done."
(The Bible: Jude chapter 1, verses 15-16)
Many people are convinced that their ac-tions have no consequences in life. But this is a fatal error. For God has determined a day on which he will judge all inhabitants of the earth - the living and the dead - for their sins in righteousness.
Nothing is hidden from God, who searches the hearts and minds of all people. There is nothing people think or do that God does not know. Our life is revealed before God. In this way, God's Word also reveals the deepest secrets of the human heart. Most people shy away from confronting the truth about their lives. Hence, they try to avoid them. But by denying or hiding the truth, they are lying to themselves. By the day of judgment at the latest, all actions of people will come to light; even those that are still hidden up to now....
Jesus Christ says:
"For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light."
(The Bible: Luke chapter 8, verse 17)
In contrast to the world, neither strength nor intelligence nor beauty nor wealth nor special abilities count before God. Because all of these things are gifts from God that do not make anyone better or more respected before God. The decisive factor is our way of life on this earth. Nor can a person buy himself free from his guilt through his knowledge, through power or through his money and thereby preserve his life. Even the greatest wealth of a per-son can neither save him from death nor from God's judgment.
There are certainly many people who do good, stand up for honorable purposes or protect the environment. Very few of us have killed anyone or robbed a bank. Many people therefore think that they are "good". But does "good". also mean good enough? Is someone who leaps over a cliff and misses the other side by inches better off than someone who doesn't even make it to the middle?
Neither can a person redeem himself, since we all miss the goal and righteousness of God because of our imperfect way of life. This means that none of us can be righ-teous before God by virtue of our own achievements. The consquence is:
Man needs redemption.
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
(...) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,
this is the second death."
(The Bible: Revelation chapter 20, Verses 11-15)
The Bible mentions books in connection with God's final judgment in which the deeds of every human being are recorded, as well as their motives and intentions. On Judgment Day everyone will be confronted with their sins and convicted of them so that no one will be able to deny their guilt before God. Only the Word of God will be authoritative. People's apologies and excu-ses will no longer count, but everyone will receive the judgment that corresponds to their deeds. Then man will have no choice but to bow his knees to God, fall on his face and confess that he is guilty and God's judgement righteous.
Because every human is guilty before God he has to suffer the first - that is, natural - death, because of sin, from which there is a resurrection, the Bible also speaks of a second death. In contrast to the first death, this means eternal separation from God and thus from life; with no possibility of ever returning to life. To do this, the Bible uses the image of a lake of fire, which is the symbol of eternal damnation, to make it clear that the second death is final and irreversible for all time. This is the judgment that awaits every man who has sinned against God. That means....
man is lost.....