2006-09-15 - What If I'm Right!
John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)
What if there is actually something to this Christianity?
What does that mean? That is a question loaded with facets. What if there is a Hell to avoid and a Heaven to strive for? What do you need to enter? Who is Jesus and just how important is He? I can't follow all those rules! How does anyone think they can do that? Let's try to hit the high points.
It's a jumble. It can quickly become an emotional, confusing mess that just gets shoved under the rug to think about in a braver moment that may never come. Let's try to boil this down to the basics. If there is more than this life, and there are only two places to spend eternity, the sensible people will want to live in the magnificent city that is described in Revelation 21. This is as opposed to the place of darkness and torment described in other places. This is an easy choice for most of us.
The price of admission is a perfect, sinless life. There's a whole debate about sin, and what is sin. Clearly none of us is perfect. While we may take exception at the idea that "good enough" is not good enough, if we could do this ourselves then Jesus would not have had to come and die on the cross. It's like trying to go to Alpha Centauri with our current technology. Many would line up to take the trip if it were possible. We just can't do it.
So how do we get to be good enough? On our own, we can't. Jesus came and lived that perfect life - satisfying all those rules that we can't - and died in our place. As horrific and upsetting a thought as that may be, it's what the Bible says was required. Stay with me please. Because Jesus is God, He is already perfect. He lived our life, so no one could say He didn't understand what we go through. He came and lived with us. He knows pain and heart brake, and friendship and happiness. Now He has satisfied the penalty for sin and has a deal for you. He will take your flawed life, no matter how little or now badly you have missed that perfect mark by, and give you His perfect life. He will stand before the Father in Heaven and state that He paid the requirements for your sin. This is true if, here's the catch, you are sorry for those failings and are willing to walk away from them and follow Jesus. If you're walking away from a problem toward something better, this sounds like a pretty good deal. You should not be alone in trying to reach something better. We are here to encourage and help each other.
Is there more to miss than just Heaven? How about knowing that the God of the Universe knows who you are, knows the number of hairs on your head and cared enough to send His Son for you? Stop and think about that for a minute. It is such an enormous thought, your mind may not be able to gasp it totally. The freedom of knowing you are forgiven - forever. Knowing that there are second chances when you miss that mark again and ask for forgiveness is huge. There is also the friendship of others who have decided to follow Jesus. Are all of them perfect? Well, actually none of them are. The same challenges of interacting with people are there. Hopefully, the issues are tempered by the forgiveness we know.
What is the one thing we all crave? Acceptance. We want to be appreciated for who we are. God knows each of us, better than we know ourselves in fact. And he cared enough to send Jesus - His own Son - to open the door to Heaven and offer us this choice. He obviously cares about you and what happens to you if He did that. He stands ready to accept you, if you are willing to turn from things that you do and have done that don't meet the rules. The rules are simple: Love God with your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. Anything else is selfish, self-centered or self-serving. He has amazing things to show you and teach you. Are there hypocrits and troublemakers? Sure. Their failings are where they need help. You and I have our own issues to correct. Don't let them stop you from thinking this through.
Where are the "thou shalt not's"? They are contained in the two simple rules. Do these two "thou shalt" things and the "thou shalt not's" are avoided.
If I'm right and there is an eternity, this is what you might miss. Keep it simple. Think about it.
John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. (NASB)
Grace & Peace,