Posts Tagged With: Jesus died on the cross

Depression vs. the Cosmic Glories

If you’re suffering from any level or any frequency of depression, please hear me. You are not your depression, and your feelings are not an accurate gauge of truth. What do I mean? While you are sunken down in the dark green sea of sadness, the glory of the cosmos remains in motion around you. This world, and the universe inside of which it is hung, are beautiful and majestic… FOR YOU. In what way? So that you may take it in, breathe it in, feel the “bigness” outside of you, and feel the glory of the creation surrounding you, enfolding you, nurturing you.

That’s the way God made things. The earth itself is a miracle of beauty and power – a spinning ball of fiery rock with a living skin that grows food, animals, and splendid forests, which clean our atmosphere. I mean, WOW. We live in a world of staggering wonder!

And for you and me, people who sometimes feel the weight of sadness and human sin – the world was built in order to comfort and soothe us. Would you do something for me the next time you feel depressed? Will you try taking a long-ish walk out somewhere as far from city lights as possible? Just find a road or a forest where you can walk, breathe in deeply, and maybe even talk quietly with God.

Look around you at the little things: the plants, the birds, the shapes of the stones and pebbles around your feet. Notice the big things: the clouds, the trees, the streams or river. Take them in and ponder the glories around you. Then notice the macro-world. You stand on an enormous planet, covered in waterfalls, Chinese people, zebras, glaciers, oceans, mountains, cities… but all of this enormity swallowed up by the true size of a universe around us filled with trillions of stars and galaxies, swirling in obedience to the word of Jesus Christ.

And then notice… that the same Creator who made each detail of the universe from the smallest to the greatest, has not forgotten you. He, in fact, became a man – a hu-man like you and me. He entered into our experience of joy, of eating dinner with Mom and Dad, of learning to read and write, of making friends and losing them, of feeling sorrows and grief, of being a human creature. God became human in order to relate to you and me. He did so out of love and for His fame and glory in the world.

Think of it! The Creator, who was never created, entered into the world to join with us in our human life, to feel our feelings, but even more so, to take our guilt and sin upon Himself when He died on the cross. Somehow, in His perfect way, Jesus became our sin – He became the curse that is on humanity, and He died under the penalty that curse brings. He died for you. The very One who holds together the entire universe died on a Roman death cross to pay our sin debts to God FOR US. He built the universe to wow us, but He died FOR US. He proved His identity once and for all by coming back from the dead, and He lives today forever. Reigning. Loving. Creating and ruling over the world. He sees your pain.

I invite you to look outside of yourself. Into and past the horizon in the sky. Into and past the stars and galaxies. Know you are not alone or unknown. He forgives sinners and makes them His kids. Trust in the Lord Jesus today, for all your needs. You may struggle with depression all your life, but when you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ and confessed to Him your sinfulness, He washes you and forgives you completely. Believe it, and seek Him for a healing of your broken heart. No matter what you feel, the truth is that God so loved the world, that He gave His unique Son – that all those believing in Him would not perish, but have eternal life… and that eternal life is free from all tears and sorrow!

Be sure to click on the “Questions and Comments” page at the top of Interpreting the Cosmos if you have any feedback, or want to ask for prayer for anything.

Grace in Christ,

-Adam

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Jesus the Pinnacle of History, Meaning Woven into Nature | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

To Crush the Head of Cynicism: Christmas

The original cynic is the serpent in Eden: “Has God indeed said…?” (Gen. 3:1b). The first humans were created to love God, trust Him, and enjoy His fellowship unhindered. Satan slipped in just a small, harmless question to the woman – what would seem so innocent to ask, but the true face of it shows through. (Bear with a little embellishment of the imagination here).

Is God really trustworthy? He must be hiding something from you. Think of it, Eve, I mean… yeah! This garden is great. Sure, you get to eat anything you want, well; almost anything. Why has God withheld this one tree from you? What pleasure and joy has He kept for Himself? Don’t you think it was a little unfair of God to keep the best for Himself and to leave you with all of these mediocre treats?

CYNIC!

Here God created an entire universe to share with the humans. The earth was their glorious playground – open for their enjoyment and sustenance. But isn’t it the way of the cynic, to spot the one tiny little rule in the world of liberty and love, and to HAVE to break it? God must have been keeping something back from Adam and Eve! He sure was – death, disease, destruction, divorce, murder, adultery, drug abuse, war, lying politicians, mass-shootings in elementary schools, poverty, starvation, dysentery, and all the billions of other forms of brokenness we now have to live with in our once perfect world.

MAYDAY! SEND HELP!

The human race listened to the cynic, and fell hard. Each of us today is born under the curse of that first sin – that first questioning of God’s goodness and love. And don’t we still question Him there? When things go horribly wrong, whom do we blame ultimately?

Are you a cynic? It’s hard not to be when just about everything in our society is built on cynicism.

Yet Christmas is the crushing of the head of the cynic. Look at the promise God made to the cynic right after the fall of humankind:

So the LORD God said to the serpent: … I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (Gen. 3:14a, 15).

BOOM! Head-crushing battle coming! Do you see the capital “S” for Seed in the second mention of seed? That’s because that would be… JESUS. Yahweh God, in the very moment of our greatest brokenness and need, promised a gift; a Savior – the very thing we would need most. God promised to crush the head of the cynic with the foot of His own Son.

But notice also that the seed of the serpent would bruise Jesus as well. Here is the gospel of Christmas right there in the 3rd chapter of the Bible: even though humankind sinned and did not trust God, but sided with the cynic, God immediately went to work to restore us and bring us light in our darkness.

He did it. He accomplished His promises. One lonely night in Bethlehem, Judea, a little baby was born in an animal stable. He was born from the virgin – the Seed of the woman! Jesus had come to do His Father’s will… and what was that? “that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day” (John 6:38b).  Jesus came out of heaven – He left His eternal throne of glory to be born a peasant child. God became flesh and walked among us, folks!

God forever refutes the cynic from Eden – He did give us everything He had, the very, very best that heaven had to give: JESUS THE SON OF GOD!

This is the point of Christmas. Jesus was born; God invaded our world as a common-man. He lived the perfect life of obedience and sinlessness that Adam and Eve failed to live… and Jesus offered His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay for our cynicism and sin. He accomplished redemption for His people! Christmas!

He crushed the head of the serpent just as He Himself was being crushed on the cross. Christmas!

He bled and died in the place of you and me. Christmas!

His love was on full display for a rebellious, ugly humanity. Christmas!

God is the true Santa Claus: He truly gives gifts to all people… but even better, He gives gifts to those who do NOT deserve it, have not been good little boys and girls, and actually deserve a lot worse than a lump of coal. CHRISTMAS!

And Jesus proved all of this by rising from the dead. Easter! Oh, wait…

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the giver of the gift of forgiveness, and you shall be saved.

Merry Christmas, 2012

Christmas Jesus

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Jesus the Pinnacle of History, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where was God During the Elementary School Massacre?

Antonio Lacerda / EPA

A woman places flowers at a makeshift Sandy Hook memorial in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Anthony Lacerda / EPA

The murder of 20 little children and 6 women in Newtown, Connecticut has shaken every person who has a conscience. I’ve watched my close family weep, and I myself have not stopped the tears as they have come. Who would do such a thing? We are getting clarity (as much as possible), on that question. Someone completely consumed with a wicked, depraved heart has done this.

Where was God during the elementary school massacre? Here we have the big question. Many anti-theists (AKA atheists) will give the simplistic, cop-out answer that there is no god(s). No thank you, anti-theists, for that non-answer which you yourselves know is false.

Next try: He was surprised and grieved by it like we all were. Many well-meaning folks will give this answer in an attempt to “get God off the hook” for human evil. It sounds nice on the surface (who would want to live in a universe where God knows ahead of time that things like this are coming and yet does nothing to stop it?), but it falls flat.

All complex argumentation aside, it is simply no comfort to say God did not know because He doesn’t know the future: well then, who is in control? Would it be more comforting to know that no one is in control? How about Satan, or human beings, or maybe the impersonal stars in the sky? No thank you. I am grateful that God’s Word doesn’t teach any of these things.

Another thought that is probably the most popular: God knew it would happen, and it wasn’t His will for it to happen, but He couldn’t stop it. This is another attempt to get God off the hook for human evil, but it breaks down as soon as we look at it more deeply. It is the answer the well-meaning priest in Newtown has given to the media. It is the answer some blog writers are giving, including on the giant sites like Huffington Post and CNN Belief Blog…

Yet, it is another false comfort. God looked at Adam Lanza suiting up with body armor, packing magazines of bullets, knowing what he was going to do, and didn’t so much as have the power to thrown a falling tree onto the guy’s car as he drove there? Why not? The answer given is usually that “God cannot stop human free-will.” My dear friends and neighbors around the world, let me gently refute this lie. I understand why it is believed, but ultimately there is no truth or comfort in it for the victims in this tragedy. God could have stopped this man, but He did not.

The Greatest Injustice in All History

God was right there in the midst of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. He was there, allowing Adam Lanza to do his evil, but He was also there with the teachers and children, graciously not allowing every single one of them to be hunted down. Yet even this monstrous act was not nearly the greatest injustice and tragedy to ever happen.

When the one, innocent, pure Man who ever lived was falsely accused, arrested, whipped, and crucified on a Roman torture device, evil was riding at its highest. Jesus was LOVE incarnate – He is God with flesh on, come to earth “not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17b). Jesus had always, eternally lived with God the Father, as God the Son – and the great love between them the Holy Spirit. Three divine, perfect Persons who are LOVE and sinlessness… and the Son chose to come to earth to bear the pain and penalty of human sin as a sacrifice for us; He did it in order to swallow death and sin just as death and sin were swallowing Him on the cross…

Have you ever stopped to think about this? When the crowds and the high priests demanded Jesus be hung from nails until He died, they were committing an atrocity beyond the scale of words. The evil in their hearts was breaking out at an all-time darkness and ugliness. Jesus had come to lead them to forgiveness and eternal life, they had spit on Him and called Him a liar. He had healed their sick, raised the dead, and promised fellowship with God for eternity, they were tearing His skin off with razor-sharp bone fragments embedded in leather whips.

What is human evil? It is best seen in the crucifixion of Jesus the Son of God.

Where was God during the murder of His precious, eternally worthy Son?

Right there. Right in the midst. Unsurprised. Unprovoked. In control.

Why is this comforting? Look at what Peter said a couple of months later as he spoke to the very people who had done it:

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken[c] by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death. (Acts 2:22-23 NKJV)

You see that? They were responsible for their evil choices, and God had before determined it to happen. They’re both there. We can’t do that level of math, but there it is without apology.

What is our comfort in that, and in the elementary school massacre? Only that God is working out His gracious purposes among a rebellious, sinful, murderous human race. We are surely allowed to exercise our creaturely freedom, and we choose real, horrific evils, but God exercises His sovereign freedom to either restrain or allow us to act.

He is in control, just as He was at the cross. All of those people who crucified Jesus thought that they were rid of Him, and that they were in power. They had a moment of power, but it was allowed by God in order to then make Jesus the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Through the most evil act ever committed, God brought salvation for the world, and through the evil of Adam Lanza, there will be good and precious outcomes brought by the sovereign God, yet those ends we cannot yet see.

Shall we cry against Him for allowing it? Only if we are willing to call Him unjust for determining the murder of Jesus as the means of our salvation. We don’t want to go there, beloved people.

—–

One last thing: I know my words may seem callous, or academic, or cold. I promise you that is not my intention. This tragedy goes way beyond my or anyone’s ability to simply fix with an explanation of God’s sovereignty. My hope, rather, is to plant the seeds of healing and restoration for those torn and broken by this act. There is hope, there is meaning in what God allows to happen. We cannot see it all, but we must trust Him in His rule of our society. He has promised to heal and completely forgive the sins of any person who comes to Him in faith – looking to that cross where Jesus paid for human sin. Do you see your sin being paid in His death? Do you believe that He rose from the grave to be your Savior and God? Then call to Him today and every day, never let Him go. He will destroy your sins, evil choices, and even your death someday… these will be defeated by His gracious power.

That is the power of Jesus the Christ – He has defeated the power of death, and draws all people to Him to share in His victory. I am praying for my neighbors in Newtown, Connecticut, that they would bring their broken, angry hearts to Christ. He is the only healer who can mend these kinds of wounds.

With so much more I could say, thanks for reading.

-Justin

Categories: Jesus the Pinnacle of History, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Everything You Have Ever Done Will be Exposed pt. 3

If you didn’t catch parts 1 and 2 of Ben Askins‘ sermon, please read them and then come back here.

If there was a video recording of all your thoughts from yesterday, and they were going to be posted on the internet, would you ever be able to show your face again? Probably not. This is the sermon for you. The final part will be posted tomorrow…

Remember, everything you have ever done (thought, felt, or pondered), will be exposed. Have a great day!

—–

The second problem is that fulfilling your duty to obey the law does not earn you any rewards, and obeying God’s law is our duty. Luke 17:7-10, “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Since there is no merit in performing one’s duty and only guilt is incurred by failing to do so, the scale of good would be empty and the scale of evil would be full. Let’s be perfectly clear that there is no justification in that.

Legalism and Moralism are forms of self-justification which rely on a goodness, a righteousness inside of ourselves where only guilt and sin exist. It is self-delusional to look to the source of a problem in the hope of finding the solution to that problem. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Mt. 7:18) Permanent guilt is not removed by obeying the law, unless it is obeyed perfectly. And it has become an almost cliché truism to recognize that “nobody’s perfect.”

In fact, the statement “nobody’s perfect” exemplifies the basis for another, opposite theory of justification commonly held today. I naively used to think that when people said “nobody’s perfect” that this was a kind of tacit acknowledgement of the biblical doctrine of original sin, that everyone is sinful by nature and choice. However, as I began to ask deeper questions and listen more intently to what people were saying I realized I was completely wrong. “Nobody’s perfect” is used to justify nearly any infidelity, even when recognized as wrong, by an appeal to the universal failures of others. In fact, if you confront someone about a specific instance of wrongdoing “nobody’s perfect” is often used very basically as a “you too” deflection (tu quoque), but it is still more complicated than that.

When confronted with our own guilt the tendency is to “squirm” or deflect, to seek to justify ourselves. This self-justification, oddly enough, often comes through an appeal to universal imperfection: “yeah, well, nobody’s perfect.” “Nobody’s perfect” becomes the justification for our own sinfulness, rather than the grace of Christ. “Nobody’s perfect” becomes the practical basis for doing whatever we like as though we are in fact perfect, since our wrongs aren’t any wronger than anyone else’s. “Nobody’s perfect” is not a tacit acceptance of Original Sin, it is a practical way of shifting responsibility so that we no longer consider ourselves guilty when staring in the face of our own guilt. If “nobody’s perfect” then, simply by adjusting our ethical standard to match the level of our ethical failure, then it is as if everybody is perfect, which is sheer relativism.

“Nobody’s perfect” really means “nobody can judge me.” If everyone is guilty, then nobody is guilty; or so the logic goes. It’s not an admission of guilt.

We can place this view of justification into the categories of Antinomianism or Lawlessness and the category of Relativism. It is a form of self-justification which looks outside of us to the common guilt of others as the basis for our justification. It seeks to lower the standard, since if everybody breaks the law, then the law must be wrong. If you want to see a great example of this kind of relativistic, lawless self-justification, watch the documentary “Bigger Stronger Faster.” The premise is a film about the use of performance enhancing drugs in American culture, particularly in sports; but it becomes an interesting exercise in self-justification and rationalization. Well, worth the rental.

As I said, Legalism and Lawlessness are the “two thieves” between which the Gospel is “crucified.” Legalism and Moralism look inside of us for a righteousness that isn’t there while Lawlessness and Relativism look outside of ourselves in order to declare our own comparative righteousness based on the fact of universal guilt.

Nowhere to hide

Nowhere to hide

This is just spiritual alchemy. No amount of special pleading will turn your own guilt or your neighbor’s guilt into righteousness when God judges the secrets of men.

No amount of self-deception will remove your guilt.

Now, keep clear in your mind that there are Christianized forms of Legalism and Moralism, which give lip-service to the idea of being justified by faith in Christ, while still practically looking inside one’s self for the righteousness of doctrinal orthodoxy or church attendance or adherence to extra-biblical standards of goodness as the basis for God’s favor. “Run, John, run. The law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands. Yet sweeter news the gospel brings. It bids me fly and gives me wing.”
And there are also Christianized forms of Lawlessness and Relativism which give lip-service to the idea of seeking an “alien righteousness” outside of ourselves in Christ, but uses the idea of that righteousness as the basis for continuing to love sin, to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. “Free from the law, Oh blessed condition. I can sin as I please and still have remission.” I don’t think it’s too harsh to say that someone who views being rescued from a burning building as a good reason to rush back into the building is stupid. Lawlessness is stupid.

Here’s a quick check for believers: Do you tend to justify yourself? When your co-workers or parents or spouse or friends confront you about a mistake or a failure or a sin, do you look for ways to excuse yourself or do you live a life of repentance, as if your justification for all of your life is entirely outside of yourself in Christ alone? If in even the simple, basic interactions of daily life you seek to justify yourself, what evidence is there in you that would lead anyone to conclude that you have been justified in Christ alone? Live and breathe and laugh and weep and suffer and die as if you can only ever be justified in Christ alone. And when confronted with your failures, don’t justify yourself; repent and be justified in Christ.

So, having demonstrated the errors of justification by legalism or lawlessness we return to the question: can permanent, everlasting guilt be removed? Not easily. In fact, with man this is impossible. However, with God all things are possible.

Proverbs 17:15 says that “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.” So how does God justify the wicked (Rom. 4:5) and condemn Christ the righteous (Is. 53:6) without being an abomination to Himself? How does God impute evil to a sinless man, let criminals go free, even graciously rewarding them, and still be just and righteous? How can the cross on which Christ died ever be considered justice, rather than an abomination?

The answer lies in the implications of the following statement: Christ was completely God and completely human, perfectly sinless. Theologians commonly make the distinction between Christ’s active obedience (His life lived in perfect righteousness, fully obeying the commands of God in all things at all times) and His passive obedience (submitting Himself to the shame and agony of death on a cross at the hands of wicked men). It is commonly recognized that in the totality of Christ’s obedience is the foundation of the complete righteousness imputed to sinners.

Christ’s active obedience necessarily entails obeying the two greatest commandments of God: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt. 22:37-40)

It is my argument that, given a world full of sinners and the law of love quoted above, the death of a perfectly obedient man given the God-like opportunity to accept the judgment of “his neighbors” would be a case of consequent absolute necessity.

In other words, if the history of the world is full of sinners (and it is) and the penalty for sin is death (and it is) and the two greatest commandments are to love God and people (and they are), then the substitutionary death of Christ must occur if He is to remain truly perfect, sinless (and he is).

If Christ is to remain perfectly good He must choose to become evil; if He is to be completely sinless He must choose to become sin; if He is to remain completely obedient to God He must embody disobedience. If permanent, everlasting guilt is to be removed then it must be the case that “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

You see, in order for Christ to continue to love God with all His heart, soul and mind He must (among other things) live in such a way as to display that God is just, that no sin will go unpunished and no truly good act will go unrewarded. Christ was “put forward as a (sacrifice) by his blood… to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” (Rom. 3:25) God had mercifully chosen to largely “overlook” the sins of men from the time of Adam to Christ, being patient and not exacting the punishment deserved from men for their disobedience. This, however, could open the door for questions regarding whether or not God is just (not that He could be charged with being too harsh, mind you, but for being too lax in His judgments). In order for Christ to obey the two greatest commandments, He had to choose to become evil out of love for God (by choosing to accept in Himself the evils committed by all of humanity throughout history), so that God might be just in delivering his wrath upon Christ, who had become the evil of all humanity.

Christ chooses to become evil, to have our sin counted as his own, in an act of loving obedience to the two greatest commandments.

For Christ to choose to become evil, to choose the cross, was the only way for God to be just in punishing a perfectly sinless man, and Christ remains perfectly sinless in choosing to become evil because becoming evil for the purpose of proving God’s justice was done out of love for God and people, obedience to the two greatest commandments. He necessarily chose to become sin in order to remain sinless. The absolute only way for Christ to perfectly obey the two greatest commandments in a sinful world was for Him to become the sinful world and for God to punish Him for it in death. Because of this loving act of obedience, God puts all things in subjection under His feet (1 Cor. 15:27) and He purchases the chosen people for whom He laid down His life, receiving their punishment and displaying the greatest love (Jn. 15:13).

And all of this was done according to God’s eternal plan, in order that His righteousness might be shown, “so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:26)
So how can permanent guilt be removed? How can God be both just and the justifier of sinners? Christ, in order to remain perfectly sinless, becomes sin and receives the just wrath of God for being evil (which was severe physical, emotional and spiritual punishment culminating in death), while the reward of His obedience is graciously given to those for whom he died, and Christ is raised again to life because of His perfect sinlessness. He pays the penalty for sin and overcomes the power of sin, proven by His resurrection. Death could not keep him, since he owed nothing and he could not be held. It’s not wrong for God to impute sin to Christ, for Christ had chosen to become sinful out of love for God and man; and it’s not wrong for God to impute Christ’s righteousness to us, since he will make us the righteousness of God. In this way we are declared righteous in Christ and we begin to progressively be made righteous by Christ.

Our justification and our sanctification are both in the gospel, in union with Christ; not by works of the law and not by adjustments of the law. Justification and sanctification are both inseparably in Christ. Just as he can’t be divided into parts (or merely be our Savior and not our Lord), we cannot have justification without sanctification. “We are justified not without works, yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness.” (Calvin, Inst. 3.16.1) We are justified by faith alone, but not a faith that is alone. Faith = Justification + Works.

(To be continued…)

Categories: The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Not World Peace?

Let’s interpret the lack of world peace…

I hear that all religions are essentially the same, moving us towards the same goal or god.

Is that so?

The road to world peace seems to be simply to forget our differences and all hold hands under the banner of love and mutual interest in peace. The United Nations, the World Council of Churches, the Trilateral Commission, and every college professor alive seems to all be geared towards getting everyone together under one big, happy tent of peace and endless joy. What’s the problem?

The problem is that Truth divides. Why? Truth divides because what we believe matters, immensely. Like, beyond description it matters. To compromise Truth is to lose Truth completely…

Simply put…

Let me make it as simple as possible, so simple I open myself up to seeming to be simple. It goes something like this:

All of the false, man-made religions which leave people ultimately undone by the justice of God are philosophies which keep people in the dark, including the many counterfeit forms of Christianity. Again, to put it simply: man is at war with God, and one of our favorite ways of fighting God is to create our own religious systems, to try and earn our way back to Him. This is the root of all war and strife in the world – we are fighting God so of course we fight each other. We are a warlike race. We have been so bold as to declare war on God, on His earth (through greed and environmental rape), on the animal kingdom (in misusing and depleting them), and on each other in endless wars of aggression between individuals, communities, companies, schools, states, countries, and tribes. It all originates with war against God through false religion. The simplest way to see that all false religion is truly false is to spot the common thread:

ALL OF THEM END UP SAYING IT THIS WAY: you must do something in order to get what you need, be it salvation, enlightenment, good feelings, nirvana, academic acclaim, etc etc etc whatever one may call it.

Almost there!

Are you a Buddhist? Roman Catholic? Jehovah’s Witness? Atheist? Self-religionist? Muslim?

I'm sure we're all going to end up in the same place by different paths! Yeah... about that destination.

Agnostic, Pentecostal, hedonist, Baptist, dog, cat, or mouse who thinks you must do something in order to earn something from God or to earn your goodness in the world? (Hint: we all are like this by nature – self-deceived and dead). You (and I) need a strong gospel…

There is only ONE TRUTH, ONE WAY out of all of the religions, philosophies, ideas, and daydreams – the way of Jesus Christ. In Him, and in Him alone is there a different conclusion from all the others. In Him it is not you must do in order to get what you need. No.

In Jesus it is simply: He has done it all for you. He accomplished it…

He has decided to create, He has decided to initiate, He has built and made

and started and begun and assured

ALL

that is necessary to bring men out of darkness, out of rebellion against God, out of their deep, dark pits of sin,

HE

has done it, start to finish – it is accomplished, it is finished, τετελεσται, and He has guaranteed our perfect, seamless, airtight, complete redemption by dying in the place of the enemies of God.

HE

raised Himself from the dead three days later, He then ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, ruling the cosmos in Sovereign power. No one will unseat Jesus from the throne of the universe. No one will defeat Him. No one can fool Him –

-He is God-

So… simply put, it is an insult to God to claim any contribution to your religion or salvation. All we can do is receive what Christ has done for us on the Roman death cross in dying in our place for our sins – yet even that trusting in Jesus and receiving His payment for our sins is a gift of grace to us who on our own are totally incapable of believing in Him. That’s how bad off we are. That’s how bad we need a Savior. We need Jesus.

Paid in full. Nothing to add.

And… it is therefore impossible to have peace with those who do not believe in these teachings of Christ’s Sovereignty and perfect gift of salvation which cannot be earned, cannot be bought. There you have it, world peace is only possible through all knees bowing to Him, the King. So, what are you waiting for?

The alternative is no world peace

…as humanity struggles to be king through false religion and individual accomplishment… Oh, and to those of you who believe that abolishing religion is the key to world peace, I’m right there with you. I’m with you as long as the we agree the Abolisher is Jesus, and He has promised to do so when He returns in glory to announce the consummation of His eternal, unchallenged reign. When that happens, all falsehood will cease, everyone who has loved Him will have peace, and all who have set-up a religion or philosophy which is against Him will then lose everything in judgment… just to put it simply.

Which kingdom are you in?

Life or Death

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Comparative Religions, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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