May 16, 2011

Why Believe?

A group of Christians were setting around after Bible Study.  “I just don’t understand why people do not come to Jesus.  It just makes sense.” Another piped in, "They are just too lazy to try to figure it out.  They rely on what others say.” The truth is much more complicated.  People don’t “come to Jesus” for a lot of reasons, some logical and some self serving and illogical. I came up with some 12 to 13 reasons why a person doesn’t just fall in step with the Jesus folks. I only have room to discuss three of them.

For example, some people do not bother to even think about Christianity, or any religion for that matter, simply because they believe there is no God and no eternity.  The philosophy is “eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you may die."  There is nothing after death, no sense of being, and no feelings.  We go to sleep and never wake! With this understanding of life, we need to get everything we need/want now even if we have to kill for it. In the popular saying, “This is a dog eat dog world.” 

Wow, there is not much you can say to these folks. They are too busy with life in the here and now and
can not or will not take the time to consider the possibility of God. They may have been taught the absence of any intelligent being in the development of the Universe and our world. (The Big Bang and Evolution theories). Christians start with the belief in a creator God and proceed from there.  In fact, peoples throughout the history of humankind have all felt the necessity of a God greater than themselves. Anyone who considers the complexity of this earth and the creatures who inhibit it must intellectually consider the existence of God. (See Blogs concerning the Belief in God)

Even though God may be accepted, accepting Jesus is another question for many.  The argument goes something like this, "I believe in a Just and Fair God. On Judgement Day, a person's good deeds and bad deeds will be weighted on a scale and eternity will be based on the comparison. I am not a bad person, I give to charity, I don't cheat, I don't run around, I haven't murdered anyone; I have been a good person.  When the good and bad are compared, I will be okay."

Christians take a different view of the day of Judgement.  We believe that all persons have sinned, broken God's rules, and that all will be convicted of breaking the laws.  The result of our sins is a state of not being good enough or clean enough to be in the presence of God. Christians believe this condition of not being allowed to be in the presence of God is called eternal death. An often quoted verse is "The wages of sin is death". We believe our sins must be paid for or we will live in eternity separated from God.

Now becomes the uniquely Christian view. God requires that sin be punished. But God loves us and He does not want us to pay for our sins because that would condemn us to an eternity separated from Him. This seemingly insurmountable obstacle can be overcome by making a sacrifice of something so valuable and so precious that it alone would be sufficient to pay our debt. That item of extreme value was Jesus.  The most often quoted verse in the Bible says it all.   "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16) See posts on Jesus.

There are some people who accept the existence of God and understand the need for their sins to be punished.  But they seem to have a hard time getting their head around two aspects of this forgiveness.  One goes like this, "My sins have been so bad that I don't deserve God's mercy." The other aspect is similar, "I have been away from God for so long, that there is just no time for me to make up for all I have done.  It's too late for me."

Both these objections stem from the same mindset. That goes something like this, "I am in control of my self. Anything I have gotten or not gotten has been because of my efforts or lack of effort. If I get to Heaven it is because of what I have done or have not done. Thus, what I have done is so bad that God will never forgive me or my sins have built up over the years to the point where I could never wipe them out." Notice all the "I's" there? And that is precisely the problem with those who feel this way.

There are two truths which must be understood.  All sins are the same.  All sin pushes us away from God. The magnitude of the sin is something we imagine because we have a misinformed idea of the relative nature of sin.  The scriptures teach very plainly that all men and women are sinners and there is no one righteous enough to be in the presence of God. So Billy Graham is not righteous on his own nor is Adolf Hilter righteous on his own.  Both are sinner and will stand on the Judgement Day and be found guilty.  And on Judgement Day before sentence is passed, Jesus will step forward and identify those of us who have acknowledged Him and place our faith in Him. Those will be welcomed into the family of God and those who Jesus does not vouch for will be sentenced to an eternity without the presence of God.

For those feel they do not have time to make up for their sins, a simple story will suffice. Read this story in Luke's account of Jesus crucification.  One of the criminals being crucified with Jesus recognized Him as the Son of God and asked to be remembered by Jesus.  Jesus response was very telling, 'This day you will be with me in Paradise." The criminal was within hours of his death and had no time to do enough to balance out his sins.  He did the only thing required; he believed in Jesus. John3:16 says it clearly, "Who so ever believes in Him shall have eternal life." No work/release program, no probational period, no time to work it out!

If you have questions and need someone to talk to, call me at 615-477-8114 or email me at  God Bless you in your journey.

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