My friend Joel was confused and his frustration boiled over as we talked. A college student with a girlfriend and a new baby at home, Joel sincerely wanted to make better decisions for his young family. In his desperation he told me that he had begun to read the Bible for the first time in his life. And read he did!
Using a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year approach, he bounced between much of the Old Testament and most of the Gospels in only a few months’ time. But his motivation was fading–fast!
Joel’s efforts were highly commendable. In fact, many seasoned Christians would do well to learn from his diligence. But the sheer volume of new information, as well as the shuffling of the Bible’s chronology, left Joel confused. He arrived at an unfortunate conclusion:
“The Bible has no point,” he thought.
But nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible does have a main point. There are irreducible minimums–core essentials woven through its pages that combine into the greatest message anyone can know. But, like Joel, if one cannot identify and understand these truths, then trusting God’s message might seem, well... pointless.
Of all the concepts taught in Scripture, what are the core essentials people need to grasp?
The Bible’s core message has FOUR irreducible minimums:
(1) A Holy God: God exists in all His majesty, being the Creator-Owner of the Universe. He is a loving, caring God but equally He is also a holy lawgiver. His holiness demands that His law be kept perfectly. He can have nothing to do with any lawbreaker. Only perfect people can live with a perfect God.
(2) A Helpless Sinner: I was born into the world as a lawbreaker, alienated from God. I am far from perfect. God’s law says that all sin demands the death penalty. Not only do I die physically, but I face something the Bible calls the second death–an eternity of suffering in the Lake of Fire. Since I am a sinner, there is no way I can avoid death. I am helpless.
(3) A Sufficient Substitute: Jesus, God Himself, came to this earth to live as a man. He was perfect–sinless. Because He had no sin of his own to die for, He could die for someone else’s sin. In His love, He died in my place–taking the consequences of my sin on Himself. As evidenced by Jesus’ resurrection, God accepted that death as an overwhelmingly sufficient payment for my sin–a fulfillment of the requirement of His holy law.
(4) A Personal Faith: I believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He died in my place. I rest in the fact that He alone has saved me from the judgment on my sin. In Him, my resurrected Savior, I now have a perfection that is not my own, but is counted as mine because I trust Him. I will enjoy life with God both now and forever in Heaven.