There is a problem in the Bible. It’s not a typo or misspelled word. It’s a much bigger problem. It’s a problem we discover as we read through Scripture, and as we learn about the Creator and his creation. The problem is this: God is perfect, and we are not. Put so simply, it may not sound like that big of a problem. But when you understand who the one true God is, this problem becomes the biggest problem of your entire life.
The God who made the world is perfectly righteous and good—he is holy (Isaiah 6:3)—and he calls us to be holy even as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Because of his perfect holiness, God will not allow unrighteousness to go unpunished. As the Sovereign King and Righteous Judge (Isaiah 6:5; Psalm 7:11), he will judge every sin—even your sin. The greatest problem in your life is not finding the right place to live or work, or how to handle an illness or difficult family relationship. Your greatest problem is God’s righteous judgement and wrath. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV).
While God’s judgment is our biggest problem, the problem in the Bible is not God’s judgment on sin but what appears at first to be a lack of judgment. In Isaiah 6:7, the holy God forgives Isaiah’s sin. And Romans 3:24 says that those who have sinned and fallen short “are justified by his grace as a gift” (ESV). But how can a perfect and holy God forgive sinners? If God doesn’t punish a sinner for his sin, is God still righteous?
The solution is hinted at in Isaiah 6, as the coal for atonement is taken from the sacrificial altar. But it is more clearly spelled out in Romans 3. God’s justifying grace comes “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 ESV). Christ is the solution. But how? The Bible says that Jesus became sin for us, that “in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). He is the one who would be sacrificed to atone for Isaiah’s sin. He is the one who poured out his blood on the cross so that all who have sinned might be justified by grace through faith. He has taken the penalty for everyone who believes (John 3:16), and has also utterly conquered the power of sin by rising from the grave. So God is then able to fully judge sin, and yet also forgive sinners—everyone who will look to Jesus. Have you trusted in Christ? If so, we can truly rejoice and sing at the top of our lungs: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”