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What is man's greatest need?
Have you ever thought about that?
Is it food or shelter or employment?
There is no doubt that we need all these. Without them we could not exist. We need food for our bodies, we need clothing to wear, we need shelter and we need employment to support ourselves and our families. We cannot devalue the importance of any of these. But in the materialistic age in which we live today, man's great danger is forgetting that he is not a creature of time, but of eternity - that within his body there dwells a spirit, which in terms of relative values is far more important than the body. The body and its needs are important, but the spirit and its needs are far more important.
If you had a pet dog in your house that became sick, you would take it to the veterinary doctor and get it treated. But if you had a sick child at home at the same time and you had to choose between taking the child or the dog to the doctor, you would certainly take your child first. Not because your dog is not important, but because your child is more important. In just the same way, the spirit within us is far more important than our body.
Have you ever considered the matter of your spirit's needs, with an unprejudiced mind? Prejudice is a deadly thing that blinds people's minds and prevents them from coming to a true understanding of God, a true understanding of their spiritual need and a true understanding of the reason for their existence on earth. Many live with unsolved problems all their lives because they have approached life with preconceived ideas and prejudices.
Are you willing to approach the truth concerning religion and eternity with an open mind? You may find that some facts are different from what you have always believed to be true. But before we proceed further, do you really want to know the truth at any cost? If you are in dead earnest, you can know the truth. Not otherwise. The Bible says that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Any man, woman or child, from any religion, can know the truth about God and Jesus Christ, if he seeks it with an open mind and with all his heart.
What happens to a man when he dies? Is death a cessation of all existence? No. Life on earth is an introduction to eternity. We are on probation here on earth and God is watching us. Our life here on earth is going to determine what our eternity is going to be like. God knows the real truth about each of our lives. We may fool our friends about out goodness, but we can't fool God. In God's eyes all are guilty for we have all come short of His high and holy standards. Man was created to have fellowship with God. If he doesn't have this, he has failed to fulfil the primary purpose of his existence on earth. This fellowship with God can never be enjoyed till the guilt of his sin is removed.
What do we consider God to be like? People in the world have different ideas about God. But no one has ever seen God at anytime. And so all our own ideas about God are useless. The Bible says that Jesus Christ came down to earth from Heaven and revealed God to man. He was God manifest in human form. Here is the truth: Jesus Christ revealed God, as a God full of holiness and full of love.
How can the guilt of our sin be removed from our lives? Many people have a great problem with guilt in their lives? They do not find a solution. But there is an answer in Jesus Christ! What is it?
It is not enough merely to repent and feel sorry. If I were convicted in court of a bank robbery and my father were the judge, he could not let me go just because I was sorry for what I had done. He may love me as my father but he sits there in court as a judge. And so he has to punish me for the crime that I've committed, even if I am sorry and even if he loves me as his son.
If we believe in a God who is just, we must surely recognize that He must be more just than human beings. How then can He let us off merely because we are sorry or merely because He loves us? He is perfectly just; and justice demands punishment.
But my father can do something in court that could help me. He could fine me the full penalty of the law and say - "You are fined Rs.100,000/-". He could then take Rs.100,000/- of his own hard-earned money and give it to me saying - "Son, here's the money! Go, pay your fine and be free!" Do you see what he has done? As a judge he punished me and as a father he paid the punishment himself. This is what God has done. He says to all mankind - "You are guilty and the punishment you deserve is death." As a Judge He punishes us. But then He also loves us and so came down in the person of Jesus Christ and paid that punishment Himself. This is why Christ died - to pay the penalty for our guilt. The proof that this is true lies in the fact that Christ came out alive from the grave, three days after He had died. Jesus Christ overcame death. He is living today.
These are facts for us to believe. But there is something for us to DO as well. When my father offers me the money in the court, if I don't receive it from his hand, I cannot go free. Similarly the pardon that God offers us in Jesus Christ has to be received. If we don't accept it, we can never benefit from it. God offers you pardon in Jesus Christ today. But you have to choose to receive it.