Most people today are confident they know what “Christianity” is…
They have “Christian” friends or family, they see them on TV, hear about them on the radio, read about them in the news…etc.
…but that’s generally where their thinking process stops.
You see, most people think that “Christians” are just “good people” (or “bad people”) trying to “work their way to Heaven” (or “work an angle”) by doing “good deeds” for their communities…mostly based on entertainment and news media portrayals of us.
But if that were true…THERE WOULD BE NO CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD TODAY.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
FAITH vs. WORKS
The thing about Christians is, we DON’T believe you can work your way into Heaven.
Believe me, there’s a BIG difference between a “Christian-in-Name-Only” who thinks they’re on their way to Heaven because of their “good deeds”, and a True Believer who knows they’re on their way to Heaven because of Jesus Christ.
Everything that needed to be done for our salvation has already been done.
The sacrifice of Christ at Calvary paid for the sins of the entire world, and created a pathway to Heaven for all Mankind:
“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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:16-19
PERSECUTION – A SIGN OF SPIRITUAL HEALTH
Christians throughout history have been persecuted for our faith in God, our belief of the Bible, and our traditional, conservative values – there’s nothing “new” or “unprecedented” about it.
Even now, anti-Christian (a.k.a. “antichrist”) sentiment is flourishing on a global scale – in culture, in society, in the economy, and in politics. The world is saturated in depravity, narcissism, hatred, and hypocrisy.
But this is all well within our expectations:
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” – John 15:19
“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” – Luke 6:22
In our eyes, a church that isn’t being persecuted is either:
(a) doing nothing for God, OR
(b) outright disobeying God.
THE DOCTRINE OF SEPARATION
Many “Christian” churches, denominations, evangelists, missionaries, and congregation leaders today have caved to the popular interests, demands, and desires of the world, despite God’s clear commandment to do the opposite:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15
For new Christians, compromised support systems like these are a lethal threat to their spiritual life in Christ, and a massive hindrance to their personal growth and development in the Truth.
These corrupt systems ought to be rebuked with righteous indignation for their disobedience to God and for their immoral and unjust treatment of their fellow Man. They bring shame to Christ’s holy name and cast doubt on the credibility of true Christians.
Whether it’s sexual promiscuity, mandated tithes, bullying, stealing, bribery, extortion, sodomy, transgenderism, racism, or other insidious or nefarious practices, which undermine trust, sever relationships, and destroy lives – no individual, group, organization, or institution which engages in such activities can justifiably call itself “Christian”.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:16-21
TRUE LOVE – HARMONY, HELPING OTHERS, & PUNISHING EVIL
Is God truly loving? Does He truly care about you?
The answer, obviously, is “Yes”:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16
The “Two Great Commandments” in the New Testament highlight God’s loving nature perfectly:
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:35-40
Of course, that is not to say that there aren’t things that God hates:
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” – Proverbs 8:23
(Note: In ancient times, the use of the term “fear” was often used to describe an obligation to respect great authority and/or power – in this case, the “fear of the Lord” or “to fear God” is to respect God’s great power and authority by obeying Him in avoiding evil.)
Nobody has the right to claim that God hates them personally – it’s their attitude and their behavior God despises, not their actual existence.
It’s important to draw a distinction between hating evil and hating people.
Hating people is a human characteristic – while hating evil is a Godly characteristic.
Love cannot exist where evil is present – thus, God rewards good and punishes evil. While our salvation is not dependent upon our good deeds, the daily blessings we receive from God definitely are:
“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” – Romans 13:4
“Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:” – Job 8:20
THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN
“Why did the world need saving in the first place?”
The short answer is, “Sin”.
Mankind possesses a sinful nature, inherited from Adam and Eve – the first two people God created – who ate the fruit of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” after being tempted by the Serpent (i.e. “The Devil”, “Satan”; The Enemy of God and Man in Genesis 3).
Because of this, Mankind acquired what you might call “moralistic reasoning” – and began warping our perception of reality to justify our evil deeds and satisfy our own fleshly desires.
Mankind began to commit “sin” (or “disobedience to God”; “violation of God’s Moral Law”).
It’s critical to note that God is the embodiment of truth and the source of all life – therefore, He cannot tolerate sin, which feeds on lies and produces death.
As a result, God cast Man out of the Garden of Eden (i.e. the sanctuary of Creation where God and Man once resided together), and the Serpent along with them.
Today, everyone in the world commits sin on a daily basis – whether they intend to or not.
Nobody is righteous before God:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” – Romans 3:23
And our sin has a steep price:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
But your physical death (i.e. your “first death”) is only the beginning:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8
Fact is, you have a soul…
And that soul will go to one of two places when your body dies –
(1) Heaven or (2) Hell.
And if your soul is cast into Hell, it’s basically a “second death” – an eternity separated from God, burning in a Lake of Fire.
Here’s the real kicker:
Because of your sinful nature, you are physically incapable of reaching Heaven on your own.
No good works you do will ever get you into the Kingdom of God:
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” – Isaiah 64:6
You need a Savior to rescue you from a future of fiery torment…
That Savior is Jesus Christ.
WHO IS JESUS?
“A mortal man who lived over 2,000 years ago? A prophet? A priest? A king? A demi-god born of an affair between God and Mary?”
Jesus was more than just some wise doctor roaming the back-deserts of ancient Israel – he was the Lord and Savior of the world.
Let’s start by putting this conversation into its proper context:
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” – Isaiah 43:10-11
God spoke these words to the people of Israel in the time of Isaiah the Prophet.
Hundreds of years later, He descended to the Earth in human form to fulfill His promise to the world:
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:10-14
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” – 1 John 5:7
“I and my Father are one.” – John 10:30
In case you missed it:
JESUS IS GOD.
Think about it.
God is a multi-dimensional being – the Creator of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
The fact that human beings can construct our own virtual worlds today and create and control characters which can interact inside of them is proof of the concept that God can (and does) operate in a similar fashion.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” – 1 Timothy 3:16
No one who refers to themselves as a “Christian” (which literally means “a follower of Christ”) can rightfully claim to know Christ without also knowing He is God.
Anyone who calls themselves a “Christian” must hold to this absolute truth – the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6
THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION
So, knowing all of that – how do we get saved?
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” – Romans 10:9
It’s as simple as asking the Father above, in the name of Jesus Christ, to save you.
No good deeds you do in this life will ever afford you the privilege of knowing God and earning your place in His Kingdom.
You must come to Him with a spirit of humility and sincerity – and confess the truth that He is God, and that you are a sinner worthy of death – and that you come asking for His forgiveness, made possible by the shedding of the blood of Christ at Calvary:
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” – Hebrews 9:22
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” – Hebrews 9:28
This is the foundation of Christianity – the Gospel of Salvation:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Christ’s entire purpose for coming to this world, to die a painful and miserable death on the cross, was to save YOU.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10
I sincerely hope you will consider getting to know your Creator, Lord, and Savior now that you know the truth about who He is, and what it means to be a “Christian”.
May the Holy Spirit guide you in your journey.
“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.” – Psalms 55:16