Did you know that God commands us to seek our happiness?
God created us to know and delight in His goodness and truth and beauty and wisdom and justice. We were created to affirm and display the greatness of God with our lives. We do that best when we are deeply delighted in all that He is and all that He promises to do. This kind of happiness glorifies God and gives us pleasure.
God created us for His glory. “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth ... whom I created for My glory.” (Isaiah 43:6-7)
If God made us for His glory, it is clear that every person should live for His glory. So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that He is for us. This is the essence of what it means to love God.
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37).
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His” (Psalm 100:1-3).
This is what it means to trust God and to be thankful. And this is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others.
But instead of being people who glorify God by their love, trust and thankfulness, the Bible makes some very alarming statements about humanity:
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5)
Jesus said this, “What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men’s hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and foolishness. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.” (Mark 7:20-23)
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
This is the biblical description of humanity’s sinful condition and why it is we experience pain and suffering at the hands of people—as well as the heartache and damage we cause. Every person has failed to glorify God as we should.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
What does it mean to fall short of the glory of God? It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with His greatness and walked in His ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:21-23).
Since sin came into the world, we have all rejected having God as our all-satisfying treasure.
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:3).
This is an appalling offense to the greatness of God.
All of us are subject to God’s just condemnation.
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
We have all belittled the glory of God. How? By preferring other things above Him. By our ingratitude, distrust, and disobedience. So, God is just in shutting us out from the enjoyment of His glory forever,
“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
The word ‘hell’ is used in the New Testament twelve times—eleven times by Jesus Himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to rescue sinners from its curse. We ignore the warning at great risk to ourselves. If the Bible stopped here in its analysis of the human condition, we would be doomed to a hopeless future
“remember that at that time you were separated from Christ . . . without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
God sent His only son Jesus to provide forgiveness for sin, eternal life and joy
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
The good news is that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, died for sinners like us. He chose to receive the punishment that our sins demanded. Because of His great love, Jesus died in our place. And God raised Him physically from the dead to validate the saving power of His death and to open the gates of eternal life and joy. This means that God can acquit guilty sinners and still be just,
“God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26).
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
The benefits purchased by the death of Christ belong to those who repent and trust Him
“Repent, therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
“Repent” means to turn from all the deceitful promises of sin. “Believing faith” means trusting in and being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Jesus. Believing faith changes us from the inside out. We experience what the Bible calls ‘new birth.’ This miracle is evident to everyone because of our changed actions that follow.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We cannot earn our salvation. We cannot merit it by any good or noble action on our part.
“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5).
It is by the grace and mercy of God through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ that we are saved
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Romans 2:8-9).
It is a free gift.
“We are justified freely by His grace through redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
We will have it if we cherish it above all things
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field” (Matthew 13:44).
When we, like this man, realize the great salvation that God has accomplished through His Son and we desire Him with all our hearts, God’s aim in creation is accomplished: He is glorified in us and we are satisfied in Him—forever!
What Should You Do?
If you desire the kind of gladness that comes from being forgiven, from being made right with God, and from being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus, then God is at work in your life. Here are some ways to respond to that work: Turn from the deceitful promises of sin that your conscience consistently tells you are wrong. Call upon Jesus to save you from guilt and punishment and bondage to sin.
“All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Start banking your hope on all that God is for you is for you in Jesus. Break the power of sin’s promises by faith in the superior satisfaction of God’s promises.
“They cried to You and were saved, in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” (Psalm 22:5)
Begin reading your Bible to find His precious and very great promises, which can set you free.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Find a Christian church and begin to worship and grow together with other people who are being changed and who treasure Christ above all things.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed (changed) into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)