Only One Way!
I was having lunch with some co-workers the other day and the topic of religion came up. As I sat quietly listening listening to them, it appeared that each would casually toss their opinions across the table at the others with the same intent that one would toss a hand grenade into a group during war. Questions were lobbed with the intent of taking someone out. Then one of my co-workers turned to me and asked me what I thought about religion. Sounding like a loaded question and not knowing where they were heading I asked them to clarify for me what they were asking. I asked them are you speaking of religion as a whole? Are you speaking of any particular religion in general? What is it exactly are you wanting to know?
You see, as a Christian I have no problem speaking about religion in general or about my faith. As we sat there I began to challenge them and said if you honestly take the time to investigate, most religions i usually involve man either performing good works or doing good deeds in order to achieve a right standing with god. In some cases trying to achieve some type of "godhood" status themselves. Generally the end result is always man attempting to work his way to somewhere or to something.
The Bad News
I went on to say that Christianity on the other hand is just the opposite. Christianity is message of love. God says that you and I can never perform enough good deeds or works to make it to heaven let alone ever achieve "godhood" status. The bible says there are none righteous no not one.The truth is that it's not about what I think "good enough" is nor is it about how many good deeds I perform. I don't set the bar or the standard that we are to follow and let me say that you don’t set the standard either! You see, if I set the standard or the bar it would be just below me! In my world I would be just above the line each and each and every time! The same with you if you’re honest about it. The bar would be right below you! In addition, if I look close enough I could always find something about you that is worse than me and I’m sure if you look close enough you could find something about me that is worse than you. That’s what happens when we compare ourselves or judges ourselves by one another. Without God and His word. Without His standard of what’s right and wrong we are left to create our own standard of right and wrong. Our own truth and it all becomes relevant based on our own opinions or wants.
When we choose to live by God's standards written in His Word. God is perfect, without fault, without a flaw. He tells me that I can never meet His standards on my own! I will always fall short in and of myself. I can’t do enough good things or say enough good words to please Him. I can’t buy my way into heaven. God sets the standard or the bar at perfection and says that to break one point of His law is to break the whole law! God says to fall short of His standard or to sin (which means to miss the mark) requires a penalty that must be paid. That penalty is death! That's the bad news.
What To Do Now?
The Good News
The good news of Christianity is that God knew I would blow it. He knew that I couldn't meet His standard of perfection on my own. That's what Christianity is about. God made away for me by sending His Son to pay the penalty for me. Remember His standard is perfection! That is why He sent His Son to pay that penalty for me and for you which He did on a cross at Calvary. All other religions as I said are man trying to earn something or to reach some type of godhood status. Christianity says we will never be good enough or reach God on our own but God Himself extends a hand down to us and says just take my hand. It’s a gift for you out of love. A love letter so to speak from God to me and you. All you need to do is receive it. I've done it all for you. Just accept what I have done. Except My Sons sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. Know that what He did was enough. Nothing more is required on your part other than just believe.
I could see the wheels spinning in my co-workers as we finished lunch. One in particular was very interested and asked me for more information. I tell you what I said to her. God’s word is very simple and very clear. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". Also, Acts 4:12 says "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given by which we must be saved" As I said very simple and very clear. Jesus is the way so call upon His name. Trust in His work on the cross. Be filled and empowered with the Spirit. Abide in Him and in His word for He has finished the work. In doing so ultimately He will ask you to only give up one thing and that is everything. But that which He replaces it with is so much better that you will never regret the choice you made.
We finished lunch and went back to work. I’m pleased to say that one of my co-workers did take me up on the offer of coming to church and now is not only my co-worker but my sister in Christ. Now that is good news!