“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
To me, a caterpillar was just another creepy crawly thing that grossed me out. But after several weeks, our classroom was buzzing with questions as the caterpillar began to form a barrier around itself.
Where are they going? What do they do in there?
We learned that the caterpillars were undergoing this amazing process called metamorphosis. If you don’t know what that is, or you just need a refresher, allow me to give you a few key points on metamorphosis.
Butterflies go through four stages in the metamorphic process. The stages are the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (barrier), and the butterfly. During the pupa stage, old body parts are changing to form new tissue, limbs, and organs.
Today, as I refresh my knowledge on butterflies, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Whenever we accept Christ as our savior, we are new. We are like the butterfly. Now, we can fly and reach heights we never could reach before.
My prayer for you for these next few weeks is that you will remember who you were before accepting Christ. I want you to be humble and realize that you would not be who you are today if it wasn’t for that “supernatural” transformation, that metamorphosis of your soul.
If you haven’t yet accepted Christ, you can click the “details” button below for more information on how you can accept Him.
Since there won’t be another (Son)days Until (Christ)mas before Christmas Day, I wanted to use this Sunday to talk all about Jesus’ birth. I will be restating what the verses say, but I think you should go check it out for yourself for sure.
MATTHEW 1:18 TO MATTHEW 2:23
In this gospel, much of the first half of the verses in the first chapter are the family tree of Jesus’ earthly parents. By verse 18, the chapter begins to detail Jesus’ birth and origin story.
Matthew says that Jesus’ mother Mary, who was to marry Joseph, became pregnant with a child of the Holy Ghost. Joseph, when he found out, was troubled because he didn’t want to embarrass her, so he started to think about breaking off the engagement. However, the Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and told Joseph that the child was of the Holy Ghost.
The angel told Joseph they would have a son and that they should name him Jesus. It then says that Joseph went on to marry Mary and didn’t break her virginity until after she had Jesus in Bethlehem of Judaea.
The wise men left and found the child. It says here that they came into the house to see the child with Mary. They then worshiped him and presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Frankincense is a resin that is obtained from an African tree. It is sweet smelling and is often burned as incense. Myrrh is similar. It is also a resin from trees near the East that is used in perfumes, medicines, and incense. Both would have been very valuable in those days.
After finding the child, the wise men had a dream where God told them not to go back to the king. After their dream, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream, telling him to leave and go to Egypt because Herod was set to destroy Jesus. They left in the middle of the night and lived in Egypt until Herod died. But, before he died, Herod decided to kill all of the children in Bethlehem who were two years old or younger since he did not hear from the wise men.
After Herod died, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again and told him to take his family to Israel, and he did. They moved to a city called Nazareth.
LUKE 1:36-37 AND LUKE 2:1-20
Interestingly enough, Luke begins with the origin story of John the Baptist and mentions Jesus’ birth by verse 26. In verse 26, it says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she was highly favored by God and that she is blessed among all women. Mary was confused and worried when she saw the angel, but the angel told her not to worry.
The angel said that she was going to have a son named Jesus who would be called the Son of the Highest and he shall have the throne of David and that his kingdom will never end. Mary said she didn’t know how that would be possible since she was a virgin. The angel explains she will conceive through the Holy Ghost. Her cousin Elisabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was also brought up. The angel told Mary her cousin would also have a child.
Shepherds in the same area were watching their flock when the angel of the Lord came to them, which scared them. The angel told them not to be afraid and told them of Jesus’ birth. A bunch of other angels appeared and praised God. The shepherds went to visit Jesus.
HOW THE STORIES WORK TOGETHER TO COMPLETE THE NARRATIVE
In Matthew, we are told that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Luke gives us the reason they were there: to be taxed by the Roman ruler of the time. We are also given the reaction from Joseph and from Mary, and we also learn of the shepherds and wise men.
Additionally, we see that some time must have passed between the birth of Jesus and when they fled to Egypt because Herod has all children aged two and younger killed.
These two gospels work together beautifully to give us a description of Jesus’ life before and after he was born, though it doesn’t give us much about when he was growing up.
The inspiration for your favorite songs come from somewhere. If you have a favorite Christian Christmas song, the inspiration is derived from the Bible.
In today's (Son)days Until (Christ)was blog, I wanted to share the meaning behind your favorite Christian Christmas songs and tell you where you can find the verses that inspired it! I'll also share some of my favorite covers of the song!
MARY, DID YOU KNOW?
This popular Christmas song, most popularly covered by the a cappella group Pentatonix, covers a number of Jesus' miracles while asking his mother if she even knew that her son would go on to do these great things. Here are some of the first lines (in KJV) following the song lyrics:
"Mary did you k now that your baby boy would one day walk on water"
Matthew 14:25-27 | "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."
"Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?"
John 3:16 | "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
"Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?"
II Corinthians 5:17 | "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
"That child that you delivered will soon deliver you."
Matthew 6:13 | "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thing is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.
AWAY IN A MANGER
"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head."
Luke 2:7 | "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
"The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay."
Matthew 2:9-10 | "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
ANGELS, WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
This entire song is based off of some verses in Luke"
"Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the planes."
Luke 2:13-14 | "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
At the risk of making this too long, I will just stick with these three! I hope you enjoyed learning where the inspiration for these songs came from in the Bible!
I've done a lot of thinking and heard a lot of wise words on this subject. No matter if you're looking for a Christian lesson plan for your Sunday school class, or if you're simply interested in how common Christmas symbols can be related to Jesus or Christianity, keep reading!
SANTA CLAUS = GOD/THE TRINITY
God can be related to the jolly man in red mainly due to his omnipresence, or his ability to be everywhere at once. In the popular song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the singer says "He sees you when you're sleeping, and he knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
CHRISTMAS TREE W/ LIGHTS= CROSS & LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus is often referred to as the "Light of the World." Basically, He brings goodness in a world of bad and brings salvation to people of all creeds and races. He was placed on a tree, much like our Christmas lights. On the day of His death, Jesus shone bright, showing humility and strength and forgiveness. Those who are drawn to the cross are likely to use their God-given gifts for Jesus' glory, laying their talent at His feet.
CANDY CANE = THE GOSPEL NARRATIVE
POINSETTIAS = THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
SNOW = PURITY
I hope you enjoyed today's post. I know that Christianity isn't everyone's thing, but I only think it is right to spend this season talking about Jesus this way. I hope you will take some time to still enjoy my Sunday posts and pass them around to your friends!
Welcome to a new series all about Christ! For the next few Sundays, the blog posts will be Jesus-themed focusing on Christmas as the time of year where Christians observe Jesus' birthday.
In today's blog, I wanted to talk a bit about the religious origins of Christmas. Grab a snack, sit back, and prepare to learn more about the day we celebrate Jesus' birth.
EARLY RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS
Several centuries prior to Jesus' birth, the winter months were always used as a time of celebration to help lift the spirits around the darkest times of year. Dark meaning the opposite of light. However, you could also say that time of year was rather dark, as many cattle were slaughtered so that farmers wouldn't have to feed them in the winter.
Winter solstice was often celebrated as long days were finally over! Celebrations also happened in Norse communities where Dec. 21 marked the first day of Yule when it was customary for fathers and sons to gather logs to burn while they enjoyed a Winter solstice feast. This is where the Yule log's name came from.
Pagans paid respects to Oden, of whom they were terrified. The pagans believed that Oden would fly through the sky and watch them at night to decide their fate. Even though the winter was freezing, most pagans would say they were staying inside to escape Oden's watchful eye.
JESUS' INTRO TO WINTER CELEBRATIONS
Unsurprisingly, Christmas wasn't the most important holiday to early Christians. Instead, Christians focused their religious celebrations on Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the grave after being crucified three days earlier.
No one is 100 percent sure as to why the date was chosen, but most scholars believe that Pope Julius I was trying to have the Christian holiday around the same time as pagan holidays and holidays of the non-religious in order to take over their traditions.
Christmas spread to Egypt by 432, then to England by the end of the 6th century, according to the History Channel. People around the world all the way to Scandinavia celebrated the holiday. Of course, the tradition came to America along with the pilgrims and other early settlers.
A MISDIRECTION IN PLANS
I apologize if this blog post seemed entirely too long, but I really enjoyed doing the research! I hope you learned something new. It seems that our modern-day Christmas combines a number of old traditions and Christmas traditions.
I hope you enjoyed and I hope you enjoy this educational series!
Photo Credit: YouTube
As I sit in a dim waiting room while my mom is getting a five-hour surgery, I can’t think of a better time to write this blog.
You have probably heard the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” It is a question many Christians are asked when beloved family members are strapped into hospital beds or when a helpless child diagnosed with leukemia seems to be slowly wasting away. Suffering.
I found myself asking God this question and tossing the question around in my subconscious in my quiet time.
MY MOM'S STORY
Only a few months later, she found out she had cancer and had to have a hysterectomy to remove it. As I sit writing this, she is currently in surgery to repair her foot, which has been in a boot for the past month or two.
Because of her stroke, and undoubtedly some other health conditions she suffers from, she ended up with Charcot’s foot, a condition that causes the bones in her foot to break. Her doctor took and x-ray and explained that her foot looked like a cracked, scrambled egg. My mom, an independent and strong woman, has been chained to her bed for the last several weeks, and will no doubt be stuck there for weeks to come as she recovers.
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?
As you can imagine, I’ve hated to see my mom suffer through so much in only a few years. I can tell from our talks that she’d much rather be healthier and more financially independent, but she doesn’t have that option right now.
This got me to thinking on today’s topic. My mom, by societal standards, is a good person. She is supportive, loving, kind, charismatic, and understanding. So, why are bad things happening to her?
In many instances, some would blame God. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who claim that, if God were real, he would deliver their loved ones out of the tribulation they’ve found themselves in. But I don’t see it that way.
of control to let us choose our own path. He did this because He wants us to love him, and love isn’t love if someone makes you feel it.
So, we have the ability to choose to live in our own will or in God’s will. Man historically has lived in its own will. That’s why crime rates have skyrocketed, the ice caps are melting, men are becoming lovers of their own selves, and well, you get the picture.
BEYOND FREE WILL
The enemy loves free will because it gives him the chance to enter his own metaphorical pony in the race. He does this to make us lose our faith in God. I believe that the moment you accept Christ as your savior, you are His for eternity. I don’t believe you can lose your salvation, because you are granted eternal life which is, according to its name, eternal.
But you can lose your zeal for God. This isn’t abnormal because, as humans, we feel that some burdens are just too heavy and we don’t understand why God would saddle us with them and seemingly not help us. This aides the enemy. You stop annoying your friends about how good God is, and you stop witnessing and living a God-filled life. You stop doing God’s work. That’s why it is important to remember that evil is the absence of good. When you aren’t doing good, you’re helping evil, and that can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes.
He doesn’t want you giving to the poor, praying for the sick, or, loving your enemies. That will only draw people closer to God. If you don’t believe in God, you will likely find yourself in the devil’s trap. The devil is a hunter. He sets a trap and leaves attractive bait. For some, the bait is fame, money, drugs, alcohol, or something else that makes the flesh feel good. But, for many, when the bait is taken, he can spring the trap and make life, quite frankly, a living hell.
Honestly, if nothing bad happens to you or your family, you are either highly favored or you should check up on your relationship with Jesus. As for me and my family, I know God is in control. He added extra strength and sass to the mixing bowl when he made my mama, and I know that with His help and the help of her friends and family, my mom will kick butt and conquer anything the enemy throws her way.
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
I've heard this question time and time again from atheists and non-Chrisitians. They say "if God is real, why can't he step off of his cloud and come down and introduce himself?" Others may ask for more physical proof of his existence.
This reliance on physical evidence comes from the scientific belief that only the material is real. The belief is that only the thing that can be seen with the naked eye or with the help of special tools like microscopes. I always find this funny, because many who believe this claim to be atheists when they are clearly putting their faith in science and its (hopefully) infallibility.
EVIDENCE FOR GOD & JESUS OUTSIDE OF THE BIBLE
Take a moment and think about the universe. We know from extensive scientific research that the universe is large and in it are many planets and systems. When you think about the Earth in particular, you know that its location and gravitational pull must stay in balance to maintain life as we know it.
THE UNIVERSE AND ITS LAWS
As I mentioned, the universe is immensely complex, so much so that it seems to operate on pre-defined laws such as the law of gravity and others. Without these, the world would be chaotic.
Cakes have bakers, shirts have tailors, and cars have designers. You wouldn't look at these things and think that they just came into being at once. Instead, you would believe that there was a beginning to these things. A baker took out a recipe, or a tailor or car creator sketched a design.
WRITINGS FROM NON-CHRISTIANS
Many people don't believe the bible, so it can be senseless to try to start out quoting it to them. However, the bible isn't the only set of writings that Jesus appears in. In fact, there is so much evidence of Jesus' existence that hardly no historian for the past several decades has contended that Jesus didn't really live. They do, however, question his divinity.
says that Jesus practiced magic and event confirms what we know from the bible: no one came forward for Jesus, and so he was sent to be hung on the cross.
EVIDENCE FOR GOD & JESUS IN THE BIBLE
SCIENCE FACTS IN THE BIBLE
Unbeknownst to many, the bible actually contains a number of scientific facts that we now hold to be true in modern society. Even back when the bible was first circulated, people held different beliefs based on what they thought they knew and the limitations of science. However, in modern years, we
“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” -Isaiah 17:1
The above verse is a good example of a present day prophesy seemingly being fulfilled.
There are thousands more you can find just by searching for a list of fulfilled biblical prophecies. What's more interesting than this, however, is the probability of these things coming true without intervention from God.
If science and math are something you look to for answers, you will find that the probability of Jesus living, being born into the family he was born in, and more is very little, yet it all came true.
I am baffled that you can look at a chart like the one to the right and still say you don't have a shred of evidence that God is real and Christianity is the way to go.
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE DOESN'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS
Our society has become increasingly scientific. Now more than ever, we look for physical evidence that something is true, and very rarely do we take anything to be fact without physical evidence.
But, the alarming thing about this is, even our justice system doesn't always rely on physical evidence.
One of my favorite books as of late is Cold Case Christianity. The book is by a former atheist who worked cold cases and decided to investigate Jesus and Christianity like he would a case in his department.
One of the things he writes that I will always remember is this: cold cases are largely solved rather accurately via testimony rather than physical evidence.
Physical evidence can be misleading, but if several people can help piece together a story,
the case can be solved rather easily and quickly. If you're an atheist struggling with faith, I recommend reading a book like this. You should be able to click the link in the photo credit to be taken to the page you can purchase the book on at Amazon.com.
This book is full of evidentiary information, even some that I covered in this blog. It also helps you to realize that you have to think fairly across the board and not be prejudice when it comes to thinking about faith and God.
I hope that, after reading this blog, some of your questions have been answered. It is true, at least from what I can see, that God has left us plenty of evidence for His existence. Everything from a perfectly balanced world to fulfilled prophecies about Jesus and the world.
I hope you will continue to investigate for yourself!
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
Buddhism is one of the world’s largest religions, with more than 520 million followers around the globe.
So, I wanted to learn more about Buddhism and compare it to my religion: Christianity. What sets it apart? It is grounded in reality? Here is what I learned about what Buddhists believe.
HISTORY OF BUDDHISM
The faith was founded by Siddhartha Guatama Buddha. He was a man born into a royal Nepal family around 600 B.C. According to scholars, Buddha lived a luxurious lifestyle. He had parents who wished to protect him from the world, so he rarely encountered actual pain and suffering.
But that all changed when Buddha saw visions of a sick man, an old man, and a corpse. He had another vision, one of a peaceful monk. This changed his life, and he decided to give up his riches to pursue enlightenment.
WHAT BUDDHISTS BELIEVE
Buddhists believe in the “Four Noble Truths,” which include 1) Life is suffering, 2) Suffering is a consequence of desire, 3) Losing desires will help eliminate suffering, and 4) Desire can be eliminated through the “Eightfold Path.” The Eightfold Path consists of attitudes and actions that can help people rid themselves of their desires.
The elements of the Eightfold Path supposedly help the Buddhist reach Nirvana, which is described as a “transcendent” state where there is no suffering, desire, sense of self, and so on. It’s the final goal of Buddhism.
The Eightfold Path includes right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. It is believed that, should a Buddhist follow these principals, they will reach Nirvana.
It is also important to include that Buddhists share similar views to Hinduism. These views include reincarnation, or the belief that you are reborn as someone or something else after you die; karma, or the idea that good and evil actions will yield a certain consequence; meditation; temple worship; and Nirvana.
WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE
Christians believe that God sent His son, or a part of Himself, down to Earth in the flesh to grow up, teach and preach His word, die on a cross to cover the sins of the world, rise from the dead after conquering hell, and ascend back into Heaven after appearing to more than 500 people as the risen Christ.
Christians believe that Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, and they believe that no amount of good that you do can get you to Heaven. It is God’s sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that makes Heaven a possibility for everyone.
Christians also believe that everyone is born into sin and the world is sinful. However, thanks to the free gift of salvation, God’s spirit can change you. Although you will still mess up and sin, God forgives those who are sincere.
Christians believe that, when they die, they will go to Heaven and God will judge those who did not know Jesus righteously. Those who lived apart from God will not go to Heaven, but will spend an eternity separate from Him.
CHRISTIANITY VS. BUDDHISM
From my experience of life, no one is good. Even people who donate to the poor or volunteer can be some of the most wicked people on the face of the Earth. I don’t have enough faith in humanity to believe that if we all stopped feeling desire, we would achieve enlightenment.
Overall, while I respect Buddha for some of his principals, I can’t be Buddhist because I know I’m not reliable; there must be a moral law giver to define “right views;” and, probably most importantly to me, there is no joy in Buddhism. It’s all about limiting and cutting off your joy so you can be enlightened. That doesn’t sound like the type of life God wants us to live.
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” - John 16:24
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
These are a few of the almost 200 mentions of joy in the Bible. Will you have joy? Expand the details at the bottom of this page to learn how you can accept Jesus as your personal savior! Thanks for reading and I hope this clarified a bit about each religion to help you on your journey. Those who seek God will find Him!
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
*THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS NO HATE TO PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY AS MUSLIM, BUT ONLY COMPARES
If you aren't sure about what the Christian faith is exactly, I want to give a brief summary.
Christians believe in God the father, God the son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. God is one being, but he is split into three parts of himself: the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
Christians believe that God came down in the form of a man named Jesus. While on earth, He never sinned, taught in God's name, and was crucified. It is this crucifixion that acted similarly to Old Testament sacrifices to atone for sins. He conquered death and rose from the grave, appeared to tons of people, and then ascended into Heaven.
Christians are people who have accepted Jesus'
WHAT TO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?
The faith is championed by Muhammad who is a prophet of Allah (God). Out of respect for the beliefs that some Muslims hold, I will not insert a photo depiction of Muhammad.
Muslims also believe that there is no guarantee of Heaven. You must live right, pray a certain number of times a day, give alms to the poor, take a trip to Mecca, and more.
So why do I believe in the trinity? Why am I a Christian? Here are things I believe show me that Christianity is the right way to go. As always, be sure to learn all of this for yourself. I want to make clear that I will be using sources from Muslim holy books and trusted sources.
GOD'S WARNING FULFILLED
To begin, here is God's warning:
"And if he [Muhammad] had made up about Us some [false] sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand; Then We would have cut form him the Aorta"
Quran, Surah 69:44-46
Quick biology lesson, your aorta, as you can see in the depiction to the right, is the main roadway to the heart. Severing it would result in death, a painful one at that.
OK, so there was the warning, plain as day. This is obviously a pretty terrible way to dye, and a really painful one at that. So where is this fulfilled?
Muhammad died from poison. A Jewish woman made him a meal and poisoned it. She did this after her family was killed by Muhammad and his men. She thought that it would be a sign that he was the true prophet of God if he lived. If he died, however, she thought it would be a clear sign that he was not.
But it is what he says after being poisoned that drove this home to me:
"The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, "O Aishah! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison." - Sahih al-Bukhari 4428
"Umm Bishar said to the Prophet during the sickness of which he died: What do you think about your illness, Apostle of Allah? I do not think about the illness of my son except the poisoned sheep of which he had eaten with you at Khaibar. The Prophet said: And I do not think about my illness except that. This is the time when it cut of my aorta." -Sunan Abu Dawud 4449
"The Messenger of God said during the illness from which he died - the mother of Bishr b. al-Bara had come in to visit him - "Umm Bishr, at this very moment I feel my aorta being severed because of the food I ate with your son at Khaybar." - At-Tabari p. 124
MUHAMMAD VS. JESUS
To begin, Jesus lived a sinless life. He abhorred violence.
"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." - Matthew 26:52
Next, Jesus claimed to be God in humans form and performed miracles as such. Muhammad claimed to be a messenger that had God's revelation revealed to him in private.
Another stark difference is the treatment of women. It is said that Muhammad's wife Aisha was only 6 years old when he married her. But she wasn't the only one. He had three wives. Jesus, who upheld Jewish beliefs, believed in marrying one wife and loving her alone.
I think I will make this a series that highlights some of the major religions. Let me know what you think. I am open to discussion. I hope that I approached this delicately enough to be respectful while presenting the facts.
I'd like to credit Acts17Apologetics on YouTube who dug up most of this. Feel free to look up "Who Killed Muhammad?" on YouTube.
In the United States at least, a lot of emphasis is put on merit. If you do well in class, you get into a good college. If you donate a bunch of money, you can get a building named after you. If you’re really smart or do enough good, you might even be rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize.
But scrap all of that and keep reading. I want to tell you about something that is really difficult to understand. It’s the problem of sin.
WHAT IS SIN, EXACTLY?
Some of the old hymns that we sing in church may make it out like Christians and sinners aren’t the same thing. I’m sure that the writers were more trying to communicate that we sin less when we become Christians, but that might not be true wither.
The truth is that Christians and non-Christians alike sin every day. The difference is our response to sin. As a Christian, I can tell you that I recognize my sin much more than I did when I was not a Christian or when I had drifted away from God.
For example, if I say something bad about someone, or even think something bad about someone, I feel as though I did wrong. Sometimes it takes me a while, sometimes I feel this immediately. When I wasn’t a Christian or when I drifted away from God, I said awful things about people all the time and didn’t really care.
I didn’t realize that I was effectively disrespecting God’s creation: another human.
The beauty of being a Christian is that, if you are sincere, God forgives your sins. By that I mean that you can’t just go around each and every day pushing over old ladies knowing that God “will” forgive you. In essence, you can’t take advantage of God’s forgiveness because that inherently shows that you don’t respect his authority and forgiving nature anyway.
CHRISTIANS AND SIN
When talking to a friend about Christianity, it is likely that the atrocities associated with the Crusades will come up.
If you don’t know much about the Crusades, the important things you should know for this blog is that the Crusades were, according to History.com, a “series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims started primarily to secure control of holy sites considered sacred by both groups.”
The other important thing you should know is that the Crusades were very bloody and resulted in the horrific deaths of many innocent men, women, and children.
As humans, we are all exposed to sin, even Christians. With God on our side and Jesus in our hearts, we are able to feed the good which in turn hopefully will outweigh the sin and badness of life. But we still mess up.
THE HARD PILL TO SWALLOW
The hard pill to swallow is that sin is sin. It’s all sin and it is all bad in God’s eyes. When you see a criminal holed up in a jail cell for assault, you may look at him and say “I am better than he is.” While you are better in merit (i.e. your naughty list is a lot shorter than his), you are still a sinner.
Until you become a Christian, you look the same to God. Even as a Christian, you still look like a sinner to God. It is because Jesus bled and died for you that you are even worthy of God’s love and forgiveness. That’s why Jesus is the key.
In the old days, sacrifices were made to God to atone for sins. The sacrifice would be something like a lamb or sometimes it would be things like fruit. Of course, faith in God was also very important. You have people like Job and Sarah who both lived on faith that God would protect them or fulfil his promise to them. They let God take the wheel in their life.
But God did something amazing. He decided that, rather than have animals be sacrificed to him, he would come down in human form as his son, Jesus, to live a sinless life, preach about God’s love and forgiveness, clarify some of the miscommunications in the church, die on a cross without having done any wrong, and rise from the dead three days later.
This sacrifice is effectively God shedding his own blood to cover the sins of everyone, should they believe on him and Jesus, who gave the sacrifice.
WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO NON-CHRISTIANS
I want to tell you that you and I, we are physically and mentally the same. We are both tempted to sin, we both commit sin, we both can feel guilty of our sin. Nowhere in the Bible does it say I am better than you. On the contrary, I am just a beggar who has found bread. Now I want to share it with you.
Apart from Christ, we are the same. But the good news is, if anything I said in the previous paragraph gives you longing, Christ wants to be with you, not apart from you. God is not willing that any should perish. But when we choose to live outside of His will and His guidance, He isn’t going to force us to spend an eternity with Him. He respects our free will too much to force anything like that on anyone. He even partially limited his will and power to give us the power to choose Him. That’s because love isn’t love if it is programmed into us like software. Love has to be a free decision.
He made that decision for us at creation and on the cross, will you make the decision to love Him?
- Admit to God that you are a sinner
(Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
- Repent, turning away from your sin
(Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).
- Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin
(Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).
- Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do:
Ann Marie Ruby
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J. Warner Wallace
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