Can You Explain Your Faith – part 2

The center of our faith is Jesus Christ. It is Him – who that He is and what He came to do, that we must convey to others:

He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. Jn. 1:3 ESV

Christ is part-man and part-God in ways that we can only scratch the surface of in our understanding; and He was with God at the beginning of time, as co-creator of this universe and everything that is in it.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance the is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pt. 1:3 – 5. ESV

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jn. 3:16 NKJV

God loves us so much that He has given us a chance for a ‘do-over,’ an opportunity to return to God’s grace, by placing our faith in the salvation made available through the death and resurrection of His Son. Jesus took on all of our sins and paid the price, so that we wouldn’t have to.

In order to position ourselves to receive this remarkable gift, we must surrender our will to God’s will. As a Christian, we do that first by confessing our transgressions, and then repenting of these ways that we behaved that run contrary to God’s ways. ‘Repent’ means to express true regret to God for our actions and to turn away from our transgressive behavior to the best of our ability.

God loves us up close and personal. That’s why He sent His Son – to gain the greatest empathy for His children living in the spiritual battlefield that envelops this earth. Jesus was the only sinless man in history, making Him the perfect sacrifice for the saving of all peoples willing to embrace His salvation. After we accept Him as our savior, the faith-building journey begins:

…Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity]… Heb. 12:2 AMP

As we live in godly ways, we became the mouth and arms for Christ, helping others come into the fold to feast on our Father’s love. We do that because we believe that there is a finite point in time, that if you have not accepted Christ before it arrives, your chance to do so will have run out – definitely not a good thing.

In order to be a beacon for Jesus, we must make the daily choices that promote goodness and righteousness. We accomplish that with kindness, fairness, honesty, love, helpfulness, respect and being amiable and reasonable.

A Christian also keeps his or her own house in order by practicing moderation in their desires and passions. They must also be purveyors of charity, truth, forgiveness and fairness:

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Lk. 6:31 AMP

God judges our behavior; and there will be an accounting for everyone. God loves us so much. Christians know that if they do their best to work God’s will, He will work with them – setting them up for eternal life:

…we will all be [completely’ changed ‘wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. 1 Cor. 15:52 AMP

…He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. Phil. 1:6 AMP

We can’t go to heaven by ourselves. We can’t earn our way, work our way, or get there by our best efforts to be godly. We’re human, we will always come up short. That’s okay, because Jesus closes that gap. So, we have to set our pride aside and lean on God. (That’s a good thing, because all sin is rooted in pride, i.e. the practice of self-worship.)

A Christian is thankful for his or her life yet places their greatest hope on the Day of the Lord, when heaven and the new earth awaits. Until then, they walk by faith and gather with other Christians to strengthen that faith. That’s why they attend church, study the Bible, do good works, and pray – all of which are faith-builders.

Even when we fall, we use that faith to talk to God and be reconciled with Him through confession and repentance. He promises to take us back. Faith-building faith.

A Christian knows that God lives within them, as well as surrounding them, which also includes the persons of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. It is a great source of strength, comfort and hope; and it helps keep us accountable. At that point, you are already poised for eternity – sons and daughters of God.

God is waiting for those who do not know Him, to invite Him in. It’s our job to inform those people who are willing to hear, about this invitation and why it’s so important. They need to know that Jesus lives, and is ready to take them into His arms and seal them in His love.

The Christian life is not an easy one. You have to continually sublimate your old worldly self that still cries out for wanton self-satisfaction; and you have this ‘devil’ on your left shoulder, who is always berating and enticing you, so that he can berate you even more. He wants you dead.

However, God never asks anything of us that we could not accomplish (with His help). When we step up to obey God, we are demonstrating our love for Him, and He pays that back in limitless abundance, readying you for a future that is indescribable.

Are there poor examples of Christianity out there? Of course. They just haven’t fully embraced their transformation. We all have potential. When we fully put on the mind of Christ, it will be the moment when we finally realize who God made us to be.

We know we walk a wondrous road even now, whose terminus will be breathtaking. That’s why we have and confess our faith…

Goodnight and God bless.

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Can You Explain Your Faith?

After accepting Christ as our Savior and doing our best to live a godly life, the most important directive Christ gave us, was to spread the gospel to as many people as we possibly can. (Mt. 28:19, 20.)

The only way to be the most effective in that endeavor, is to have faith in what it is that you are preaching / teaching. Moreover, you must also be able explain to the hearer (layman, agnostic, atheist, follower of false religion, etc.), why you have embraced your faith.

The gospel is no different than mathematics, physics, or any other kind of study, with regards to relating it to others; i.e. you must begin with the ‘basics.’ Look to teach and invite, not to make wrong and divide. You’re helping facilitate a possible love-relationship between them and God, by relating how you got one, what that has meant for you and what it can bring to them.

We can begin this conversation towards salvation by talking about cause-and-effect. For example, there are universal laws that we cannot break. Oh, we can try, but calamity usually follows. If we leap from a plane without a parachute, the law of gravity is merciless. SPLAT!

Physics tells us that a force is created when a mass is accelerated. Thus, if we stand in the face of an oncoming train, we are going to have an intimate exposure to its force. MORE SPLAT!

The same holds true when we violate the laws of God. He implanted the law of right and wrong within each and every one of us so that we could avoid transgressing them:

“For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not [a secret hidden] in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and obey it?’…But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it.” Dt. 30:11, 12 & 14. AMP

Thus, in our discussion with an unsaved individual, we can point out that everyone has an innate knowledge of right and wrong, and that bad things happen when we make the wrong choices. In fact, we are sure of it, because everyone makes the wrong choices at times – some more than others.

If this innate law of right and wrong transcends our behavior, who set the standard and why do we feel remorse when we transgress it?

We can interject at this time, that as a Christian, we believe there is a God who both created and directs this universe, and who also takes a great and loving interest in the behavior of the people that He put here. He left us a plan for getting the most out of our lives:

“…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days…” Dt. 30:19, 20. AMP

We make the choice for life or death on a daily basis. And so, as a Christian, we believe that it is imperative to choose life, by obeying that power (God), through doing the things that He deems as right. It is our desire to be living in His favor rather than being in enmity with Him.

Some people don’t believe in a ‘god.’ If that’s the case then, they must believe that the universe and everything in it occurred by happenstance. In that scenario, life really has no meaning, and this short span of years that we have on this planet is all we’ve got.

However, a great majority do believe in a God (e.g. Jews, Christians, Muslims), who is righteous, loving and long-suffering with regards to the inhabitants of this planet, and is concerned when they go astray.

We as Christians believe that God gave us a ‘good’ world, but that some people in it have chosen bad paths, contrary to His will. We attest that God is good and all that He creates is good. Furthermore, we hold it to be true that some people rebel against Him because the have fallen prey to an evil influence. This influence is a good angel gone bad – Satan. So, God did not create evil; it is a perversion of HIs goodness.

“He was a murder from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him When he lies, he speaks out of his own character; for his is s liar and the father of lies.” Jn. 8:44 ESV

We believe that all the chaos in this world stems from that angelic rebel and his followers, and that this condition will persist until God puts an end to time.

Why does the all-powerful Jehovah God that we profess, allow such a state to persist? Because the world’s condition is a result of a gift that He gave us – free will. We have the ability to choose between good and evil.

Given that God knows evil is persisting, why did He give us free will? Because God loves us; He created us and the only thing He asks of us is to love Him back. Of course, real love must be expressed voluntarily.

We love, because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19 AMP

The problems occur because of those who choose not to love God, but instead to deify themselves – a lesson that they learned from the devil himself. There is no peace or happiness in the end for them.

We were created to consist and coexist with God:

“I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:5 AMP

God spent centuries driving these messages home to His children, but evil persisted and many people were (and are) headed for death with no escape. Because He loves us so much, He sent a part of Himself, dressed up as a human, to deliver His children from themselves.

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.