Why does God seem so distant? Does the Bible say I am a sinner?
For many people, God seems distant, far away, and almost unreal. This seems opposite from the Bible’s claim that God loves us and wants a relationship with us. If the Bible is the truth, why does reality feel so different?
The Bible itself holds the answer to this question. As much as God loves us, there is something that separates us from having a relationship with him. It is our sin. God is so perfect and holy that sin can’t exist in his presence. It’s just destroyed. And since we are naturally full of sin, in the presence of God, we are destroyed along with it. Sin is the barrier between us and God. It keeps us apart and distant from him. But there is hope. God knew this and made a way for us to know him.
No one wants to be labeled a sinner or condemned for their actions. It makes us feel bad about ourselves or it makes us fear that others won’t approve of us. But we all know that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and we each do things that hurt other people or ourselves. So why is it so hard to admit we sin? What does the Bible say? Are we sinners? Does God love us anyway?
Does the Bible say sin separates us from God?
Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear”
Isaiah 64:7 – “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.
Don't be quick to convict me for posting this song. The questions Black Sabbath asks in their song are reflected in the hearts and minds of many in our culture. They look at the world around us, see the evil, feel the emptiness, the guilt, and wonder "Is God dead"?
Can we say that our lives reflect that he's alive? Do we reflect his love & forgiveness or his judgment?
Does the Bible say we all sin?
The Old Testament
King Solomon was recognized as the wisest man who ever lived. People would come from all over the known world to hear his wisdom. One of his greatest achievements was building the Temple for the LORD in Jerusalem. When he prayed to God about the people as he was dedicating the temple, he said “When they sin against you-for there is no one who does not sin” -1 Kings 8:46
In Proverbs 20:19 he asks – “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?
In Ecclesiastes he answers- “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
His father, King David, also recognized that we are all sinners.
Psalm 14:3 & Psalm 53:3 – “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one”
Psalm 130:3 – “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”
The New Testament
In his letter back to Rome, Paul explains the purpose of the law and how faith in Jesus Christ brings a righteousness from God that is available to all who believe, clarifies that:
Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Again, while explaining the source and punishment for sin, he says
Romans 5:12b – “in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
As he writes about the purpose of the law and emphasizes that it cannot save, he exclaims:
Galatians 3:22-“But the scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.”
Even John, who knew Jesus best, warns:
1 John 1:8 – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
So does God love us even though we sin?
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Ephesians 2:4 – “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions (sins) – it is by grace you have been saved.”
To demonstrate his love for us, Christ died for us, paying the penalty for our sins so we could be forgiven and have a relationship with God.
John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
1 John 3:6 – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
Yes God loves us even though we are sinners, but this does not make sinning ok. The Bible also says that God hates sin. there are even places where it says he hates those who continue in sin, never repenting and continually hurt those around them. It may be fun at the time, but the consequences are painful. It keeps us from having a relationship with him. It causes us to hurt others and get hurt ourselves. It cost Jesus his life. It costs us our lives. But God offers a solution. Jesus Christ came and paid the cost of our sin on the cross. His death covers our sin and makes us clean in God’s eyes. When we repent of our sin and accept his death in place of our own, we are forgiven. This removes the barrier between us and God and we are able to have a close relationship with him. Then he is no longer distant.
Other hubs in this series
Does the Bible say God wants to have a relationship with me?
Does the Bible say God loves me?
Does the Bible say God created me?