All religions lead to God, don’t they?

All religions lead to God, don’t they?

We get this question so often that we’re answering it again here. The short answer is no, they don’t. There is no “path” to God as some of the world’s religions suggest. Self-sacrifice, good works and performing a variety of religious rites or rituals will not ensure connection with God or eternal life free of the evil, pain, suffering of human existence.

Only through Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, can man find peace–in this life and the next. Jesus is also known as Emmanuel, or God with us. He proclaimed:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father (God) except by me.”

John 14:6

The only way to a present and eternal relationship with God is to commit one’s life to Jesus as Savior and Lord, follow Him and obey His Commandments. When asked by religious leaders of his day, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Salvation is a gift of God, not something to be earned by human acts. In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10

This is the only way to God and to eternal life. True followers of Christ are unlike followers of many of the world’s religions do not have to do anything to earn God’s favor. God, through his son, Jesus, has paid the penalty for the sins of everyone, past, present and future. He only asks individuals to accept this gift of sacrifice made by Jesus.

That’s why Christians cannot think themselves better than any others because they too are sinners redeemed by Grace. Their charge from Jesus is not to tell others what to do or think, but rather to invite friends and family into the family of believers by telling them the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection. If you would like to learn more about the only true way to God, read our post, How does one become a Christian? 

Are we living in the End Times as referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24&25?

Are we living in the End Times as referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24&25?

For nearly 2000 years, Christians have been asking this question. Each generation has read what Jesus said and wondered if the end was soon. Here’s what Matthew recorded in his account of the life and teaching of Jesus.

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Matthew 24:3-8

The sinful nature of man assures us that there will be wars. Famines and earthquakes are common occurrences on this planet, so while modern communications makes us more aware of them, one cannot use them to define End Times. What Jesus next describes have been constants for two millennia.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Matthew 24:9-13

Persecution of Christians has gotten worse in many parts of the world, most notably during the past century in China, Cambodia, Burma, North Korea, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. For generations, Christians have been persecuted in majority Muslim countries as well as in India, a predominantly Hindu nation. What Jesus says next refers to something that is definitely taking place in our time.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Matthew 24:14

Today, as never before, electronic communications and global travel have made it realistically possible for everyone on earth to learn of Jesus. In the next 28 verses, Jesus describes what the end will look like and issues a warning to be vigilent because no one knows when Jesus will return marking the end of the world as we know it.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

Matthew 24:42

In Chapter 25, Jesus tells three parables to describe the End Times. So, are we living in the End Times? We can’t know for sure, but we are closer both in time and in fulfillment of prophecy with many signs that we must heed. More importantly, we can say with certainty that each of us is in our end times. We will either be alive when Jesus returns or we will be dead. Either way, we will have to answer for the decisions we make today. Will you be saved from eternal separation from God, or will you enjoy infinite peace and contentment beyond anything you can imagine? If you haven’t made a decision to follow Jesus, We encourage you to check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

Is the Bible really God’s word?

Is the Bible really God’s word?

Christians believe the answer is YES. Why? Because the Bible contains the only rational explanation for creation, sin, and redemption. It also contains hundreds of predictions that have been exactly fulfilled in date and event hundreds of years later. That could only happen if God who knows the entire experience of the human race can see the future as if it has already happened. The apostle Timothy wrote,

“ All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Some additional comments are worthy of note. Translations, and there are many, make the best effort to capture the intent and context of the inspired original. Hermanutics is the study of Scripture. One must go to the original language as far as possible to get the authors’ full intent, meaning, and purpose of that written. Context, that is who is writing it, when was it written, to whom was it written, what were the circumstances surrounding the passage, etc. are all relevant to gain understanding and discover the treasure of truth contained in the Bible.

It is important to remember, early languages, Hebrew in particular, had a limited vocabulary estimated at 4000 words or less compared to English today with 600,000 defined words. Hence most words in the original Hebrew text words had multiple meanings making context of the passage very important. Greek originals of the New Testament were more precise and therefore were more easily translated into modern English.

Finally, the Bible is absolutely the inspired WORD of GOD and God purposely provided it the way He did. This makes one’s study of it so much more exciting and fun. Every time one reads the Bible they discover more truths and the inspiration for living a meaningful and purposeful life. Some say that the word BIBLE is an acronym for the phrase, ‘Best Investigated Before Leaving Earth.’

We urge you and everyone to diligently, take time, and read and study His Word. We encourage you to make it a daily habit. It’s one you will never regret. It will lead you to Jesus who is the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6)

If you’d like to learn more, check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

What is Biblical Law

What is Biblical Law

There are two important factors in understanding law: (1) man’s moral worth; and (2) man’s rebellious nature.

Man has worth. Man was created by God in the image and likeness of God. Thus, there is an inherent value in a person. That worth is not earned but is given in man’s creation. It is often called “moral worth” or “the dignity of man.” Thus, to harm or murder a man is to deny him the value and dignity bestowed upon him by God.

Also, man has a rebellious nature. Man disobeyed God and the result was a change in man’s nature. His nature became self-centered. As such, man will devise ways to achieve his own self-interests, often harming others. Law attempts to control this rebellion in man.

Because of these two factors, moral worth and rebelliousness, God has given two types of law: (1) natural law (which we addressed in last week’s post) and (2) Biblical law (which we address in this post).

Through his word, the Bible, God has provided a framework for living in relationship with Him, with our families and with all other humans. That law is first laid down in the first five books of the Bible know as the Mosaic Law or the Torah. That law is detailed across many pages, but the essence is contained in what has become known as the Ten Commandments.

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

 

Exodus 20:1-17

The intent of Biblical Law is not only to protect man, but keep him on a right path that provides a healthy, blessed and happy life. 

. . . happy is he who keeps the law.

Proverbs 29:18

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

Biblical Law and Natural Law are beautifully summed up by Jesus when he was asked by one of the great Bible scholars of his day, “What is the greatest commandment?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

In addition to God’s law that is burned onto the hearts and minds of men (Natural Law) and made evident through

God’s word (Biblical Law), man creates civil law. Man realizes that laws are required to temper the natural instincts of men and women. These laws are usually designed to protect individuals from harmful actions of others and to make individuals accountable for their actions. However, civil laws may not conform to God’s Biblical Law, and in fact, may contradict both Natural and Biblical Law. Such contradictory laws are often established based on the selfish desires of man.

Law that follows Biblical principles protects each of us and the ones we love. God’s law is true. It is designed to increase the happiness of everyone, ensuring a fair and just society when it is obeyed.

Since all men and women are incapable of keeping the law–natural or Biblical–they are forever separated from their creator God. That’s why God, sent his son, Jesus, to provide a way to restore the relationship between God and man. If you’d like to learn more, check out our post, How does one become a Christian?

 

 

 

What is Natural Law?

What is Natural Law?

There are two important factors in understanding law: (1) man’s moral worth; and (2) man’s rebellious nature.

Man has worth. Man was created by God in the image and likeness of God. Thus, there is an inherent value in a person. That worth is not earned but is given in man’s creation. It is often called “moral worth” or “the dignity of man.” Thus, to harm or murder a man is to deny him the value and dignity bestowed upon him by God.

Also, man has a rebellious nature. Man disobeyed God and the result was a change in man’s nature. His nature became self-centered. As such, man will devise ways to achieve his own self-interests, often harming others. Law attempts to control this rebellion in man.

Because of these two factors, moral worth and rebelliousness, God has given two types of law: (1) natural law (which we address in this post) and (2) Biblical law (which we will address next week).

Natural Law. Man, whether Christian or not, has a conscience. The conscience includes a memory bank of rules of right and wrong. Man is born with these rules. As man acts, his conscience views this memory bank, and signals to the man whether he should or should not carry out the action. It is an inherent sense of right and wrong. It is called natural law. Thus, all individuals are held accountable to God for their actions in abiding by or disobeying the built-in understanding of right or wrong known as conscience.

Many cultures, including Judaism and Christianity, summarize this law as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

The signers of America’s Declaration of Independence referred to the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God and proclaimed that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. They concluded by appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world firmly relying on the protection of divine Providence.

All of the men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1776, identified themselves as Christians and were well acquainted with the Bible, They “believed in and based the nation’s independence on Natural Law; that is, that God in creating the universe, implanted in the nature of man a body of Law to which all human beings are subject, which is superior to all manmade law and which is knowable by human reason.”*

The nation’s founders tied their understanding of Natural Law to a set of God-given rights later codified in the Constitution and, in particular, the first 10 amendments. Those rights come under the broad headings of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Since all men and women are incapable of keeping the law–natural or Biblical–they are forever separated from their creator God. That’s why God, sent his son, Jesus, to provide a way to restore the relationship between God and man. If you’d like to learn more, check out our post, How does one become a Christian? 

* BARKER, ROBERT S. “NATURAL LAW AND THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.” The Review of Metaphysics (Nov. 2012)

When do children become accountable for their sin nature?

When do children become accountable for their sin nature?

The Bible is does not address this question directly, but it does talk about the innocence of children. The age of awareness is when we have the ability to distinguish good from evil. In Deuteronomy 1:39 we read that the children were allowed to enter the Promised Land. The adults that had not trusted God did not get to enter. Young children have not rejected God’s revelation as they aren’t aware of it. Hence, one who has not rejected the Word of God will be saved. God who is merciful and loving can be trusted to do what is right, just and fair.

Jesus blessed ‘little children’. He even said, “Such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” He certainly would never bless someone going to hell. The root question is, does God treat willful knowledgeable disobedient sin differently from our inherited sin nature from Adam? We don’t know.

Jesus said, ”I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through ME.” (John 14:6) All [which would include children ] have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

When a child reaches the age of accountability (i.e. the age of innocence is over, which varies for each one), then they are aware of their need for a savior. Children as young as 4 or 5 have been known to pray to invite Jesus into their lives and receive the assurance that they have heaven as their eternal destination.

While we don’t know when a child becomes accountable for their sin nature, we do know that sooner or later each has to come to terms with his or her sin. That’s why we encourage all to trust a loving and merciful God to judge fairly the ‘little children’. And, we can all point young ones to God and show them what it means to become a true child of God. Check out our post: How does one become a Christian?