Tuesday, October 01, 2013

What Does it Mean to be Christian - Part II

A few months ago, listening to a Christian radio station as I drove to work, I heard a broadcast that sent a chill through me. The basis of the sermon was that God had turned away from his people once, and He could do it again.
The concept of such a thing stayed with me throughout the day, and the more I thought about it the more frightening it seemed. It occurred to me, as I contemplated a world without God, just how horrible such an existence would be. I cannot think of anything worse. Indeed, being separated from God might just be the true definition of hell.
If you’ve ever experienced God’s love on a personal level, you’re probably shaking your head, yes, right about now. If you have not, or if you’re just not sure, please read on. Perhaps we can change that.
I often hear comments like: “You so called Christians, act like you’re perfect, and then you do this, and that.”
Or a modified version of the above that goes something like: “I could never be a Christian. I’m just not good enough.”
I’m not amazed at this because I used to be right there with you. Here’s some breaking news: Christians aren’t perfect. Nobody is. What’s more, you’re not expected to be.
Another common misconception is in believing that if you’re a good person, God will see that the good things you’ve done outweigh the bad.
In this case, I do want to be the bearer of what some might consider bad news, and explain that it just doesn’t work that way. It’s not a balancing act. No one is good enough to earn salvation based on their own merit. We are all sinners who have fallen short of God’s glory.
I believe that many of the misunderstandings and misconceptions concerning Christianity actually stem from reading the Bible. The problem arises in reading only pieces of God’s holy word. To understand the Bible, you have to read it in its entirety. I’ll offer some advice that a good pastor once gave me. Start with the New Testament. Read it several times until you begin to understand what the text is saying. The Old Testament deals with harsh times and harsh subjects, and having a reasonable grasp of the New Testament will make it understandable. If you will do this, I believe you will begin to see a pattern. Everything in the Old Testament points to the message of the New Testament: That Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
There’s another attitude I’d like to address. It’s the old sticking your head in the sand routine. Many people believe that if they just don’t think about it, everything will work out. In light of that, let me offer this. One’s belief or non-belief in God has no bearing upon His existence. With the giving up of Christianity for another religion, or relinquishing belief in anything spiritual altogether, you might experience a false sensation of liberation, but the freedom exits only in your own mind. You are still responsible for your actions and accountable for your sins.
However, I did not create this blog post to be downbeat. There is a path to salvation. I believe in the Trinity, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, and yet are all able to act independently. God realized our imperfections, and in His love and His grace he created for us a way to salvation. God sent his son Jesus into the world. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. In this way, Jesus experienced all that we experience. He experienced birth as we do. He lived life on earth, along with all of the emotions and problems that we face, except He did it without sin. And He experienced death, but He defeated it through His resurrection.
If you believe in God, creator of Heaven and earth, and in His only son, Jesus who came into this world so that we might have salvation, you are a Christian and you are saved. But you have to be sincere in your belief, and in your faith.
I offer you a challenge, if you’re brave enough to accept. Ask Jesus to come into your life and see what happens.

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