(Joshua Mills, a 3rd year BBA (Honours) student at Wilfrid Laurier University, won the student category of our essay writing contest. He is an active youth leader on campus (Power to Change), and in his church community in Burlington, Ontario.)
Why am I a Christian? As I reflect on this question there are two broad categories that are foundational to my faith: the character of God, and the depravity of the human heart. Before I could understand my own heart I must seek to know the character of God—specifically His holiness and righteousness. “For the LORD is righteous,” the psalmist writes, and “he loves justice; the upright will see His face” (Psalm 11:7). “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). God’s “eyes are too pure to approve evil, and [He] cannot look on wickedness with favor” (Habakkuk 1:13). As I began to understand God’s holiness and righteousness, I became aware of how depraved I am before Him. My sins have separated me from God, and I found myself in a scary situation. “Your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Although I disobeyed part of God’s law, it dawned on me that I stand guilty in God’s court of breaking the whole law (James 2:10).
The fact is that we have all broken God’s law. We “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “all of us have become like one who is unclean… our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…” (Isaiah 64:6). These Scripture passages brought me to the great dilemma of how to be reconciled to God. How could I ever find favour in God?
It was while I was looking at my own actions that I experienced God’s awesome actions in my life. I realized that none of my best deeds measured up and that on my own, I could never earn God’s favour. A passage that struck me one time was 1 John 4:8-10: “God is love. By this the love of God is manifested in us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I was led to the cross of Jesus Christ, and to His words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The cross was where the great ‘exchange’ occurred: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). On the cross, the entire wrath of God was satisfied by Christ, the perfect, spotless Lamb of God. Christ entered the heavenly court room, took the penalty of our sin upon himself, and we were all cleared of guilt; case dismissed.
In studying God’s Word, I discover that the entire Biblical story reveals a God who is love, and in love reaches out to us to deliver us from sin that we might enjoy life in Him. As I sought to know God and to understand the state I was in (separated from Him), it brought me to the end of myself and to the beginning of an active pursuit of Christ–to be holy and righteous like Him.
Apart from Christ, I am nothing. And I look forward to the day when at “the name of Jesus every knee will bow… and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).