Yep. It's time to show how the gospel shines through even debate. And really, I love this one a lot. Rachel and I came up with it in the hallway before an apologetics round (oops!), and then I actually ended up delivering it in an apologetics speech! So I'm just going to lay it out, the pure and simple gospel, in a clear, easy-to-understand, inherent, significant, solvent, and advantageous way.
For you non-debaters who actually have a life, the "stock issues" in debate are what we use to clearly demonstrate a problem and a solution. Inherency - is there a problem? Significance - is it a big problem? Solvency - does the plan work? Advantages - is it beneficial? And though we use these issues to discuss policy and the merits of changing policy, I've seen that using such a clean cut system can open our eyes to the simple, life-changing truth of the gospel.
Adam and Eve. Temptation. Apple. "Did God really say?" Just one bite. Sin. Scared. Ashamed. Hiding from their Creator.
There is a problem. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the birds and the fish and finished off with His crowning creation: man and woman. They walked with God, talked with Him, knew nothing but good , desired nothing but God. God was perfect and holy, absolutely and completely separate from anything marred by sin. But as of yet, Adam and Eve we above the level of sin. They too were perfect, just as their Father had made them to be.
And then, there was sin.
It didn't end there. No one is free of sin. No one has been since the Fall. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Even if it doesn't seem big, it's sin. Even if you live 99% good, you're short of perfection. There is a problem, and it is inherent in every one of us.
War. Abuse. Despair. Hunger. Crying. Separation. Depression. Pain. Disease. Death. Hell.
This is a significant problem. Of course, on the surface we see the devastating effects of evil in the world. Everything from Hitler's atrocities to the unintended effects of alcohol. Things that cause us pain and strife, something that was never in God's original plan for us.
But much worse that anything this world contains is the eternal punishment that our own sin has left us with. We've all sinned, either in big ways or little ways. And God, being perfect and just, cannot simply let imperfection enter into eternal life with Him. What kind of Good King would allow evil to run rampant in His city? And because sin is an inherent problem, there was nothing we could do about it. After sinning, we cannot become perfect. One little stain on a white linen means that the cloth is no longer spotless. God did not design Hell as a place for His creation. But we all have eternal souls, and without perfection, there is no other option. "The wages of sin is death." Death in our bodies, and perishing souls in eternity. Our sin has caused an inherent and extremely significant problem.
Mandate 1: Send God in the form of a human. Live a perfect life.
Mandate 2: Suffer all the physical pain and spiritual weight of the sin of the world. Die on a cross. Pay for everyone's sin that they could not pay themselves.
Mandate 3: Three days later, rise from the grave. Conquer death. Demonstrate that there is no power, not even sin and death, that can defeat God.
Mandate 4: When a person confesses their need for salvation and believes in what has been done for them, they will receive eternal life as paid for in the second mandate.
Mercy. Justice. The Cross. Redemption. Payment. Death. Empty Tomb. Risen. Conquered. Salvation.
Does this plan solve the problem? Did Jesus' life, death, and resurrection solve for the inherent problem of our sin? Remember, "the wages of sin is death." God, in His absolute justice, required there to be payment for sin. And that payment is death, and only death. Yet God, in His great mercy, could not bear to see us, His children, die. Even though we deserved it by what we had done, He knew He had to save us. And so mercy and justice were brought together in one act. Sin was paid for. Jesus died, paying for the sin of every person. The price was paid, but not by us. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Life. Joy. Crazy love. Peace. Freedom. Purpose. Friend. Fulfillment. Solid foundation. No more fear. Savior. Heaven. Reward. "Well done..."
Advantage 1. Life on Earth.
Because of sin, this earth is still marred and stained. There is still evil. But because of the plan of salvation, we can live in this earth without fear. No matter what happens here, we have a Savior who has paid our way into eternal life. And because we have been cleansed from our sin by Jesus' sacrifice, we have the Holy Spirit of God with us through all of life's trials. Now, we can use every opportunity to give glory and honor to the one who saved us. Now, we can store up treasure in heaven instead of wasting our lives on temporary, insufficient things. Now, we have a purpose: to share with others about the salvation through Jesus.
Advantage 2. Eternal Life in Heaven.
We will all live eternally. Every single one of us. The only difference is where. Because of Jesus, we can spend our eternity with God. Think about it. Eternity. With God. God, who loves you beyond comprehension. God, who knows you and your dreams, hopes, passions, and loves better than you know them yourself. God, who died so you could be with Him. God, who rose again to show you that He will never, ever leave you.
There is a problem. It's inherent. It's significant.
There is a solution. It's solvent.
What you've just read is the most important news in all of the world. Of everything that people have known of, discovered, spoken about, written about, and lived for, this is the single most important part of life.
People have died for this knowledge. And people have died without this knowledge.
Make this the center of your life. Keep the gospel always at the forefront of your mind. See the world the way God does and share this knowledge with everyone. It's a simple, step-by-step explanation. And it is the only way for this world to be saved.
There is so much power in these words.
"For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in His will not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16