One of the hardest things to swallow as a Christian – or someone looking into the
Christian faith – is the teaching that all people are sinful, that we have all earned God’s anger and punishment.
How can the Bible tell us that all people are sinful? Some people, certainly. But we see lots of people who are really good, who work for better education for children in slums, equipment to free people with profound disabilities; people who have given up opportunities, ambitions or potential, out of love for a child or spouse or even a
neighbour who needs constant care. God seems to have unrealistic expectations.
In Romans 8:1-11 the apostle Paul says that when we don’t belong to God, we are
incapable of pleasing God. He explains: our mind is hostile to God. We can be a
lovely person, but if we don’t have a relationship with God, we’re doing good things
on our own terms, and to please ourselves, or someone else; not because it’s God
who’s asking. When I was a kid, I didn’t always get on with my parents. I could be
doing my chores, getting my homework done, being a lovely friend to my school
mates, but none of that changed the fact that I was hostile to my parents.
Paul’s point is that sin isn’t about not being nice, or doing bad things; sin is about not
having a good relationship with God.
The amazing news of the Bible is that God, even though he’s completely out of our
league in power and majesty and glory, still wants to have relationship with us. He
has reached out to show himself to us, to interact with us, throughout history. And
most amazing of all, God the Son came and lived among us, shared our human
The apostle John wrote down a selection of the signs that Jesus performed, to
demonstrate that he was in fact the Son of God, sent by the Father, from heaven. One
is recorded in John 11:1-45, where Jesus brought his friend Lazarus back to life, after
he had been buried for four days, in the presence of numerous witnesses. The One
who can raise the dead can also erase our sin.
- Katie Peken