Sunday, October 3, 2010

2,000+ year old Middle-Eastern desert religion relevant to our lives in America today? 

Christianity is not considered a philosophy, Christians believe and know that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the OT, the One that would come to be the Savior of the world through the shedding of His blood on the cross. God made this promise way back in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world and sin brought forth death (separation from God). Satan the adversary tempted Eve by lying to her, God told them not to eat of a specific tree or else they would die. They chose not to obey God's word, gave into the temptation because Satan told Eve that they would not die, and thus the fall. They did not die physically but they died spiritually, they were separated from God and had to live with the consequences of their disobedience.  Their sin resulted in being cast out of the garden. Adam and Eve saw the results of their sin when one of their sons named cain murdered Abel. God had created everything perfect but because of Satan (a fallen angel) tempting Adam and Eve the first murder took place and things got worse after that. Sin was in the world and Satan was then and is now the ruler of this world because Adam and Eve forfeited the earth over to Satan. In the beginning was light but now Satan brought in darkness. The Bible which Christians believe is God's written word to mankind, and is really a book of redemption, from Genesis to Revelation the book outlines God's redemptive work, the promised Savior   to man as promised right after the fall. The Bible is historically accurate and we have in it the creation account, the fall, the flood in the days of Noah the multiplying of people and the origin of nations. The Bible tells us that Noah had three sons, Japheth, Ham and Shem. Japheth and Ham are the fathers of the African, Middle Eastern Northern  European and Asian nations, through the line of Shem came Abraham, Moses King David and Jesus. Jesus is the promised Messiah from back in Genesis. He came to the nation of Israel to reconcile them to God as promised (the OT speaks of the suffering Messiah) by going to the cross and shed His blood for the remission of their sins. The religious leadership rejected Him as the Messiah and because of that, God punished them by being dispersed throughout the world by the Romans in AD 70. As foretold in the OT the gospel (the good news) would come to all the Gentile nations, the early Church started in Jerusalem and later went out and it was in Antioch that they were first called Christians or Christ-like. From there the gospel went throughout the whole world. The gospel is really simple and it is as important today as it was yesterday and no other religion or philosophy can save us from our sins and the forgiveness of God by believing in Son Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross. The cross was the fulfillment from Genesis. Here is the gospel message in a very simple and easy way to understand:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 What could be more simpler?  Jesus purchased the earth back to him (that was forfeited by Adam) by paying a very costly price, His blood. Why is this still relevant 2000 years later? Because people are still sinners today and in need of forgiveness by God through His son. The meaning of the word sin is simply "to miss the mark" and knowing mankind and todays society we all have missed the mark. Many people say that they are "good people" in their eyes, but in the eyes of a Holy God all fall short of His glory for we all have sinned. Sin is death and God can not allow sin because He is Holy and just and cannot approve of sin and there is a punishment for sin: eternal separation from God i.e. Hell. The Bible teaches that we will die once and than judgement.

"And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." Hebrews 9:27, 28

A believer in Jesus as their Lord and Savior will not be judged as the unbelievers and rejecters of Jesus and God's only way to salvation. As I said before, no other religion or philosophy, good behavior and good deeds will get a person into heaven and eternal life. There is only one way and Jesus said so Himself:

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

So, I personally think that a "dessert religion" is very relevant today, knowing that there will be a judgment of God and knowing that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, no one can stand before God and defend themselves. The punishment for sin is eternal separation from God which is also called the lake a fire where the fire is never quenched. I am not sure how exactly that would be, but I sure do not want to be there. But thanks to God because of His love and mercy towards us has provided a way, Jesus Christ the righteous and by believing in faith, His righteousness is imputed onto the believer and God does not look upon their sins past present and future and has forgiven them of all their sins and there will be no eternal judgment but eternal life with Him. That's the good news and I hope that you have thought of your life and where you will be spending eternity. Jesus is real and He is alive and He will come again to take the believers home. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow may never come, should you die tomorrow, do you know where you will be going?  Jesus can give you that assurance be receiving Him as your Savior. He can forgive you of all your sins and you will be a new creation in Him. Don't just believe me, read the Bible start with the gospel of John and learn about Jesus who He is and how you can know Him personally.  May the Lord reveal His love to you.

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