Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Gospel: Reality's Foundation part 3

Let's consider an experiential example that I think all of us can picture: watch a group of children at play. Do we have to teach them to cheat, lie to or hurt one another, or does it seem to come naturally? No; we need to train them to be honest, play fair and care for others selflessly. Sins are symptoms of a sickness, like coughing when we catch a cold. Sin is the root of the sickness that creates mankind’s many miseries. Behavior modification (teaching people to practice ethics and morals on par with what we consider "good") can alleviate the symptoms, but it does not reach the true sickness. The sickness is sin which is part of our nature, and why it occurs in the young and old, rich and poor, learned and foolish. It is universal in nature and corrupts us from the inside.

James 4:1-3 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Matthew 15:18-20 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.”

Man is truly, morally guilty from breaking the laws of his Creator. Transgression, like the earlier mentioned speeding ticket, must be dealt with justly, or God Himself is guilty of breaking His own moral order. We all want evildoers to “get what’s coming to them;” except when that evildoer is us. We need a remedy, and one that is universally applicable regardless of any temporal boundaries one can imagine, Romans 1:16-17; Colossians 3:10-11.

I hope that I have laid a firm enough foundation for the necessity of seeking reconciliation with our Creator, the First Cause, the one Christians refer to as God. According to the Bible God in His wisdom and compassion had already conceived a plan for man's redemption prior to the creation of the universe, Revelation 13:8; Acts 15:18. It is not a task given to be done, but rather a message divinely delivered that is meant to be heard and believed, Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 6:29; 1st Peter 1:22-25. But what is the gospel? Why is the gospel necessary? What is this amazing message God delivered to us that has the power to do what we desire and can reach inwardly to affect that which human instrumentality cannot? We will find answers together as we press on.

Man is incurably religious. Even atheism or humanism is a religion; for their best defenders acknowledge that they cannot prove or disprove God’s existence; they accept atheism on faith. Religion is man’s invention to ease the burden of his guilt and replace God. This may seem a fantastic statement from a professing Christian, but I do not subscribe to religion; in fact religion in the Bible is seldom mentioned, and then typically negatively. Christianity is a formal religion with creeds, clergy, formality and formula. Christianity is about one man, Jesus Christ, and the message of salvation He delivered to any and all who would listen and believe Him. 

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All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.