Join us on Good Friday, April 10th 2020 at 5 pm GMT (12 pm US Central Time) as we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ together on live stream!
Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and that anyone who believes in Jesus is forgiven of sins and has the promise of eternal life. But what about the people who lived before Jesus died on the cross? If Jesus is the only way to be forgiven and saved, what happened to all those people? Those people were saved in the same way people are saved today: by faith. People who trusted in God to forgive their sins were saved by faith. Think of salvation like a credit card. The people who lived before Jesus ran up a huge debt, and Jesus paid the bill later.
Philippians chapter 2 describes Jesus as God who came in human likeness. Jesus was like a CEO who goes undercover and allows himself to be treated as an entry level employee. Jesus temporarily left his high position and took the lowest place as a servant. He did that for you and me. This video explains Philippians chapter 2:3-11 using the modern day analogy of an undercover boss.
Philippians 2:3-11 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Righteousness is a gift from God through Christ. Most Christians understand that forgiveness of sins and eternal life are a gift from God. But righteousness is also a gift to be received, not something that we can achieve by our own efforts to be good. It’s good to make an effort to be righteous, but true righteousness comes from what Jesus Christ did for us. And it is a gift we receive by faith.
My basis for believing in a Creator is NOT based on subjective experiences. I believe in a Creator because it is the only logical conclusion I can come to based on the complex creation I see around me. It is not logical for me to believe that all the complex systems needed for life could come together without an intelligent being.
But who is this Being? That is a harder question to answer. I have come to the conclusion that the God of the Bible is the Creator. I made a video about the reasons I believe the Bible. Here is the link if you are interested:
https://youtu.be/P3adVK7qO3w “My Unscientific Reasons for Believing the Bible”
Now, regarding experiences: I don’t think our experiences with God necessarily confirm that our beliefs about God are all correct. It is possible and probable that I don’t have all the right ideas about God. But I don’t think God waits until all of our ideas are correct before he interacts with us. Who could he have a relationship with if he waited for us to have a perfect image of him? All humans are (in some ways) feeling around in the dark when it comes to truth. Some people have more truth than others. I truly believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world, and the only hope for humanity. But I have Muslim friends who seem to have a lot more truth than some Christians I know. Our ability to receive truth has less to do with our religion, and more to do with our openness to receive from God.
When I say that I can’t deny God because of my experiences, I’m not talking about my foundational belief in a Creator (which is acquired by simple reasoning). I am talking about 20 years of daily having my life touched in a variety of ways. I’m touched by the words of the Bible, I’m constantly enamored with the perfection of God’s plan of salvation. And though subjective, I’ve had hundreds of experiences of God’s presence. I’ve seen many people instantly healed of things. I’ve seen a broken bone healed in 30 seconds. I am daily talking with God and being in relationship with him. All of these experiences COULD be explained away. Group thinking and our imagination are powerful forces indeed. But if I dismiss all these experiences as group thinking or imagination, and I start from scratch trying to understand the universe, I still have to explain my existence. The only worldview that makes any sense to me is the one I have. I don’t have all the answers. I can’t explain why God seems to be deeply involved in my life while people in Yemen are in dire straits. But I can’t get around the fact of God’s existence. And I can’t come up with a better plan to fix the world than the one that the Bible describes.
God hopes to make peace with his enemies. He is offering terms of peace. Will his enemies accept?