Thursday, February 8, 2007

Contending for the Faith

This was my response to someone else's blog about religious belief.

As you believe to be true, the Bible says THERE IS A PLACE of acceptance and belonging for everyone in the Kingdom of God. We are the stones of the temple of God designated for a specific function and place --with Jesus as the cornerstone --we are the branches on the vine --with Jesus as the True Vine --we are the members of the Body of Christ --like hands and feet, etc. of a human body --each with his own unique place and function--we also have a place in the sheepfold --with Christ as our Shepherd.

We are of inestimable worth to our Creator --such that Jesus said if ONE SHEEP is lost from the fold, the good shepherd will go after it, to save it from harm. He didn't want us to be confused about who He is --and so has communicated with us from the beginning --through the written words of the Jewish prophets (descendents of Abraham through the promised child of Sarah named Isaac --the Creator God is said to be "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" --who are the first 3 generations of Jews.) He came to us in greatest clarity through the Living Word, the Word in the Flesh, the person of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man --who is also a descendant of Abraham and extends "chosen" status to the Gentiles --all of us.

Jesus extended the right of ALL men to become "children of God" through His sacrifice on the cross. Had He not done the miracles and risen from the dead, we would have less reason to believe. AS it is, we have very detailed, well-preserved accounts from Christ's contemporaries --telling us why they were willing to be martyred for this faith that countered the prevailing culture of the 1st century AD. They had seen, heard and touched a resurrected man who promised to go and prepare a place for them, that where He is, we may be also.

He promised to send the Holy Spirit as a Comforter --as the divine presence which is felt near and within us as believers --wherever we are. You described this awe for a Creator when you said you love His creation and feel that this IS worship of the Creator. To feel close to the Lord, to feel His love for us, is evidence of His Spirit on the earth and abiding in us.

Yes, the terrorists and violent haters around the globe, even here in the U.S., have not found their place --they don't know that they CAN fit in to God's family, His kingdom, because they do not believe that Christ was the Savior --nor do they admit their sinful status and their need for a Savior. They have been misled by wolves in sheep's clothing, by mere humans, by what Jesus called false prophets, who have led them away from the truth that Jesus Christ is more than a prophet but the very revelation of God presenting us a choice --to believe and receive Him and His love and grace for eternity--or to reject Him and be outside the fold of the shepherd, for eternity. These violent misfits DO feel a sense of belonging in their groups; they have accepted counterfeit love as Lucifer is a great deceiver; they have accepted a place on the wrong team. Sometimes this is because the missionaries of truth have not been allowed to speak to them and tell them that this planet was visited by God in the flesh who conquored the grave.

It's not manipulative, or coercing or commanding to TEACH the Bible as truth if that's what the teacher believes. Everyone still has a choice to believe what he wants --but there really are consequences --if the Bible is true.

People feel manipulated by the threat of a Hell to shun and a Heaven to gain --but if that IS the truth, wouldn't we want to know so we could gain Heaven??

AS regards truth: it doesn't matter what I believe or what you believe --our beliefs don't amount to a hill o' beans --if they are just products of our imagination and wishful thinking. Or if they come from a non-authoritative source --instead of from a RISEN Savior.

That's why my belief is based on the Book written and preserved over thousands of years --which gives us great continuity about the history of God and Man. The book is consistent that God LOVES --that He does hate sexual immorality, violence, and lack of charity, forgiveness and compassion --He hates them because those things are not good for His creation.

What we humans would prefer is eternal Heaven for everyone no matter what they believe or do in life. Even for the Hitlers? we wish that God had not given us a choice or any ultimatums --as in "Believe in Jesus or perish." (that's not a bible verse --but we are promised that we WILL NOT PERISH if we believe in Jesus as God's son and adhere to his teachings as He said, "keep my commandments." )

We wish we were not accountable to God and had no choice to make --or that we could define God's standards according to what WE think is best.

E.G. --we in the 21st c. would say: Living together intimately before marriage is OK because we love each other and plan to marry.

If marriage doesn't work out and we fall out of love --we can go to new relationships and start additional families without repenting of our failure to love. (There is legitimate divorce in the Bible for reason of adultery --and we would rightly think violent abuse and other exploitive conditions should qualify as well.)

If we aren't ready to be married or be parents, we can abort our products of conception.

If we are attracted to our own sex, it's ok to exchange the natural use of the opposite sex in order to have sex with same sex--even though our bodies are not designed for same sex intimacy --even though the Bible clearly warns against all sex outside of hetero-marriage.

It's OK to indulge in various mood altering substances though we know they can be harmful and addictive and impair our judgment and physical health. the Bible says "be not drunk with wine, but filled with the Holy Spirit"

Viewing porn and seeing prostitutes, having one night stands, etc. --all OK

Today's people believe God loves us and doesn't care what we believe or what we do. He's all forgiving even without our repentance-- because we don't think God's word is true --we don't think He REALLY cares what we do --We THINK He's very tolerant!

In fact, All of the above cause a lot of grief to ourselves and those around us --therefore, all that God has decreed as His standards and laws, with a few exceptions from Old Testament rabinnical laws that don't apply today --most all are still valid standards for today and give us the most stability for healthy, happy individuals, families, communities and nations.

The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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