This is a long story, but I’m going to keep it short. When God created the world and man, it was perfect. God made man as His companion. Because of that He gave us free will. We had everything we could need and more. There was only one limitation: don’t eat from one tree in the garden. Satan brought the temptation to “be like God” by eating from the forbidden tree and man failed the test.
This was a big problem. We then knew both good and evil. Sin had entered the world because we disobeyed God. Our relationship with God changed in that moment. We were then at odds with God because we had chosen ourselves over Him.
That cycle has been repeated in every single person every day over thousands of years. Because God is perfect and just, He is not able to say “that’s okay, I love you, don’t worry about it”. There has to be a penalty levied due to our disobedience. The problem is that we don’t have anything we can use to pay this fine. We can offer nothing of value to God since we are now sinful. Our temporary good behavior or good intentions are not sufficient, not even close. We have all sinned. We have all failed.
The good news is that the situation is not hopeless. We don’t have to earn our way back to God through good works. Because we cannot close the gap between God and us by anything we can bring to Him, God closed the gap Himself. Jesus, true God, entered into mankind as both true God and true man. He felt everything we feel. He suffered as we suffer. He did it without sin, though. He therefore represented the only acceptable sacrifice. He offered Himself as the payment for all of man’s sins. As the perfect sacrifice, He only had to do this once and all sins past and future were covered.
Our job now is to recognize that Jesus is the only path back to God. We have to humble ourselves to admit our sin, our separation from God, and accept Jesus as the only bridge back to companionship with our creator. We were made to worship God. In the absence of that, we will worship nearly anything else… money, security, success, another person… man has tried it all and it all falls short. The road back to God begins with a very simple, but honest, prayer. It can be said in a number of ways, but here’s one version.
God, I’ve sinned against you. I freely admit my sin and know that I cannot fix this myself. I know that your son, Jesus, came to earth as a man to accept the penalty for my sin. With His death, He carried my sin with Him to the grave. With His resurrection, He completed the payment and now offers the only way back to a complete relationship with you. I ask that you forgive my sins in Jesus’ name. I love you and know that you love me, too. Amen.