QUESTION: I am basically a good person and I am very happy with my own religion, so why should I believe in Jesus?
ANSWER: To tell the truth, if everyone were good in God’s sight, nobody would need Jesus, and we would not need to spend our efforts in evangelism.
Long ago the Psalmist said, There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3). To be sure, most of us are not murderers or thieves or anything like that. We like to think of ourselves as respectable, with no need for major changes in our lives. Yet the picture the Scriptures present is that even the best of us is desperately sinful and deeply alienated from God, from each other and even from ourselves.
According to the Bible, the problem of mankind is precisely that we are “happy with our own religion,” that is, “happy with what we believe.” Usually what we believe is not what the Scriptures teach. We are happy to place our own will and desire at the center of our private universe rather than make the Creator’s will our primary goal. We are happy to think that we are good, that surely God will overlook our “little mistakes and shortcomings,” and that he is not really serious about punishing our sins. But God is serious about sin.
As Jews we usually think of sin as exclusively a matter of committing individual acts, but sin is much more than that. The Scriptures show us that sin is a condition of human existence. It does not merely pertain to a particular act, but rather to an attitude of arrogance and rebellion. Because of this innate condition, even the best of people—like Abraham, Moses and King David—all committed acts of sin. The prophet Isaiah said, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
That righteous prophet indicated that it is only human for every individual, himself included, to seek self-fulfillment rather than fulfillment of God’s precepts. King David said that his sin was a condition from birth (Psalm 51:5). Sin is universal. That is why the Day of Atonement is universally observed among Jewish people as the most solemn of all holidays. And that is why God provided a way of forgiveness, beginning with the Old Testament animal sacrifices and culminating in the death of the Messiah. Our responsibility is to respond in faith and to place our trust in Jesus as our atonement. We must return to a view of life centered in God’s way of looking at things rather than in our own preferences.
We are all sinful in the depths of our being, and all the education, affluence and technology in the world have not changed that. They have only enabled us to express our rebellion in a more sophisticated fashion.
Jesus really did enter human history. He really did die and he really did rise from the dead. All the objections in the world and all the ignoring of the evidence will not make that reality disappear. Perhaps your attitude is that of the fellow in an old joke who said, “I’ve made up my mind. Don’t confuse me with facts!” But God really does hold us responsible for facing the facts about ourselves and accepting his offer of forgiveness through Jesus. You should believe in Jesus, not because it will make you happy, but because it is true.