Many Christians know God loves us and wants to be with us, but we also believe our sin has put an impossible mass between God and us. We understand that Jesus has made a way for us to one day be together in heaven, but right now—until we get better, do better, or start to take things seriously—we believe we'll have to settle for rare moments of intimacy with him. We know ourselves too well, and there is no way we're ever going to be able to keep from sinning. We believe God loves us, but we also believe he's pretty disappointed with us. We expect to see him someday, but for now we can only hope that some days we will feel his touch on our lives. That's as good as it gets on this earth … or so we've come to believe.
Here's another way of putting it. Imagine a lake, maybe one hundred yards across and so wide you can't see a way around in either direction. On the other side stands someone you long to see. But you can't walk around the lake because bushes bristling with thorns and needles cover its banks. To complicate things even further, the lake water is so polluted and full of poisonous snakes and amphibious eels that it's not safe to wade in, let alone swim. You have no boat and none is in sight. What do you do? You yell back and forth across the lake in a deeply unsatisfying relationship.
The lake represents your sin, and the person on the other side of the lake is God, whom you want to be close to more than anything else in the world. Question: How do you get to him? Answer: You don't. Not unless you can find some way to remove the sin from your life. But you've got a small problem-you are pouring more sin into the lake every day.
Thousands of people heard an illustration something like this just before they asked Jesus ...1
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