As near as I can tell, when it comes to the subject of God, here are only three groups into which people fall. There is one group that rejects the idea that there is a God at all. The other two groups involve believers. One group of believers see themselves as good persons that God will accept and the other group sees themselves as sinners seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy.
When it comes to believers, there are many religions from which to choose. The idea that there are many different paths to the same God just doesn’t make sense to me. One religion says do not kill, another says it is ok to kill those that reject their religion. Many religions believe in Jesus but one says he is God in the flesh, another says he is a prophet and others say he is just a good man. They can’t all be true! Simple logic shows that two different roads that go in two different directions will not bring you to the same destination. Some say that if you are sincere in what you believe, that God will accept your sincerity but is this really logical? What happens if a sincere pharmacist puts the wrong customer label on a prescription or the wrong pills in a bottle, or if a person eats a poison mushroom sincerely thinking that it is healthy and nutritious, or if someone gets on a plane for NY sincerely believing that he or she is heading for California? It is possible to be sincere and yet sincerely wrong!
The most important question is: what is the truth? If you look at most religions, you will find that there is something that you must do, some set of rules that you must follow in order to be accepted by God. In other words, salvation must somehow be earned. One problem is each different religion has a different set of rules that must be followed. I see religion, any one, or all of them, as merely man’s attempt to be righteous in the eyes of a Holy God. Religion is man reaching up to a Holy God trying to make a connection that leads to heaven and eternal happiness.
There is one teaching that is different and that is Biblical Christianity. The Bible is the core teaching of this faith or belief. The Bible teaches that we were created by God to have a relationship, a friendship with Him. The Bible also teaches that this relationship, this friendship was broken by something called sin. Although evil by nature, the word sin doesn’t mean evil, but simply means to miss the mark. If you are target shooting and you miss the bullseye, this is sin as you have missed the mark, the bullseye. With God, the target or mark we aim for is God’s Holiness. In Leviticus 11:44 we read “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:” And again in 1 Peter 1:15 and 16 we read “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner conduct; because it is written Be ye holy; for I am holy” which is a New Testament reference to the Old Testament verse written in Leviticus. Also, sin does not mean you are an evil person, only that you are separated from this holy God; your relationship or friendship with him is broken. The first question that comes to my mind is: What does Holy mean? Basically, holy means to be perfect in goodness, perfect in righteousness, perfect in love, perfect in justice, perfect in judgement, perfect in kindness, perfect in mercy…; in all manner of personal conduct, in thought, in word and in action, to be perfect. For me, by my best effort, this is an unreachable goal, a mark or bullseye that I will never hit. Good people are still sinners!
Romans 3:10 says that none of us are righteous.
Romans 3:23 says we have all sinned and missed the mark of God’s holiness.
The good news is Romans 3:24 which says we are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ, Jesus. Grace means unmerited or unearned favor. It is a gift to us from God that restores our relationship, our friendship with God. This grace can only be received through Jesus Christ. Jesus is God in the flesh of a man. He is the only man who ever lived that never sinned.
Religion is sinful men and women reaching up to a holy God trying to make a connection; Grace is a merciful, loving and forgiving God reaching down to sinful men and women saying I have already made that connection through Jesus Christ!
Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (grace) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
John 3:16, 17, 18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
We are not good people that need a religion or some other philosophy, we are sinners that need a Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God who shed his blood that our sins might be forgiven.
To close I only ask: What do you believe and why do you believe it?
Trusting only in Jesus Christ my Savior,
George E. Onze
Servants of Christ mm