Steps to Jesus


Chapter 2—The Sinner’s Need of Christ

Adam and Eve were created with perfect minds and noble powers. Their thoughts were pure and their aims were holy. But when they chose to disobey God, their thoughts were changed. Love for self took the place of love for God. Sin made them so weak that they could not by themselves resist the power of evil. They were Satan’s slaves and would have been slaves forever if God had not given them help. STJ 11.1

Satan wanted to spoil the plan God had when He created men and women. He wanted to fill the world with trouble and death. Then he would point to all this evil and say that God was to blame because He had created human beings. STJ 11.2

Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they enjoyed talking with Him. They were happy to be with Him, for “he is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of ... wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3. But after they sinned, they did not find happiness in being holy, and they tried to hide from God. STJ 11.3

Sinners today do the same. Because they do not love the things God loves, they do not enjoy being with Him or talking to Him in prayer. If God let them enter heaven, they would not be happy there. They would not enjoy being with God or spending time with the holy angels. STJ 12.1

Unselfish love rules in heaven. Everyone there will love God because He loves them. But God’s love would find no response in a sinner’s heart. The sinner’s thoughts and ways would be very different from those of the sinless people who will live in heaven, and he would be unhappy. He would want to hide from Jesus, the light and center of heaven’s joy. STJ 12.2

Sinners are not kept out of heaven by a divine order. They are shut out by their own unfitness to live there. The glory of God would be to them a burning fire. They would want to die so that they would not have to see the face of Jesus, who died to save them. STJ 12.3

It is not possible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the power of sin. Our hearts are sinful, and we cannot change them. “Nothing clean can ever come from anything as unclean as human beings.” Job 14:4. “People become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it.” Romans 8:7. STJ 12.4

Education, good manners, and willpower all have their place in helping us to do right things. But they cannot change our hearts and make our lives pure. Only a new life from above, a power working inside us, can change us from being sinful to being holy. That power is Christ. His grace alone can give life to our dead souls and draw us to God and holiness. STJ 13.1

The Saviour said, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again” (John 3:3)—unless one receives a new heart from God, with new wants and aims. Some believe that they need only to develop the good that is already in them. But this idea is wrong and will lead to eternal death. “Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God’s Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. Said Jesus, “Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again.” John 3:7. STJ 13.2

It is written of Christ, “The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people.” John 1:4. “In all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us.” Acts 4:12. STJ 13.3

We see the loving-kindness of God and His fatherly pity. We see that His law is wise, fair, and right. It is a law of love. But it is not enough for us to see and know all this. The apostle Paul knew this when he said, “I agree that the Law is right.”; “The Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good.” Romans 7:16, 12. But even though Paul knew this, he felt hopeless and bitter, and he said, “I am a mortal, sold as a slave to sin.” (verse 14). STJ 13.4

Paul wanted to be pure and to be right with God. But knowing he did not have the power to change himself, he cried out, “What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death?” (verse 24). This sad cry has gone up from troubled hearts in all countries and in all times. There is but one answer for everyone: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29, KJV. STJ 14.1

God has tried in various ways to make this truth clear to all who want to be free from sin. After Jacob deceived his father and stole the blessing that belonged to his brother Esau, he had to leave home. He was alone and a long way from his family, but one thought troubled him more than all others—he was afraid that his sin had cut him off from God. STJ 14.2

In sadness Jacob lay down on the bare earth to rest. Lonely hills were around him. The bright, starry heavens were above. While he slept he dreamed that he saw a bright light shining around him. A tall ladder seemed to reach up from where he lay to the very gates of heaven. Angels were going up and down the ladder, and from the glory above, Jacob heard a voice speak a message of comfort and hope. This message from heaven met the need of his heart. He was shown that through his Saviour, he, a sinner, could again be friends with God. He was happy and thankful. STJ 14.3

The ladder in Jacob’s dream represented Jesus, who alone is able to bring God and people together. Christ was speaking of Jacob’s dream when He said to Nathanael, “You will see heaven open and God’s angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man.” John 1:51. STJ 15.1

When Adam and Eve sinned, they turned away from God’s love and friendship. They separated themselves from Him. They could no longer speak with Him. But through Christ earth is again joined with heaven. Jesus made a bridge between earth and heaven so that the angels can help and comfort people. He took sinful, weak, helpless people and put them in touch with the Source of infinite power. STJ 15.2

We need God’s help in everything we try to do. Everything we do to help people live better lives will come to nothing without help from heaven. God is the only hope for sinners. “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven.” James 1:17. STJ 15.3

Without God we cannot have a truly good character. And the only way to God is Christ. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one goes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6. STJ 16.1

God has a deep interest in His earthly children. His love for us is stronger than any other power. In giving up His Son, God has poured out to us all heaven in one gift. Jesus lived and died and is now our powerful High Priest. Heavenly angels are working to save us. A loving Father and the Holy Spirit are working together for our salvation. STJ 16.2

Let us spend time thinking about the great sacrifice the Saviour made for us! Let us give thanks for all the work that Heaven is doing to save the lost. God is doing all He can to bring us back to His house. STJ 16.3

To move us to do right, Christ offers great rewards. He promises happiness in heaven, where forever and ever we will develop in mind, soul, and body. We will enjoy the company of the angels and share the love of God and His Son. Surely these rewards are enough to make us want to give our hearts to our Creator and Redeemer. STJ 16.4

On the other hand, God’s Word warns us against serving Satan. It tells us that sin destroys character and brings eternal death. At the end of the world God will destroy all sin. STJ 16.5

Let us remember the mercy of God. What more could God do? Let us place ourselves in the right relation to Him who loved us so much. Let us accept God’s love and the way we can be changed to be like Him. Then we shall be friends with the heavenly angels and feel at home with the Father and the Son. STJ 17.1