I must confess that after hearing Meryl Streep's Golden Globes acceptance speech yesterday, I was tempted to write a political blog about how it is time to stop perpetuating devision. The election is over, we need to pull together for the good of the country, blah, blah, blah. I scratched that idea after feeling a nudge (the Holy Spirit maybe?), reminding me that no one is listening. On either side. At this point I don't really feel like I have value to add to the conversation. Nothing new that hasn't been said by someone else - and probably more eloquently. And...I felt a calling to write to you on a much more important matter. Salvation.
Before you close this link and possibly unfriend me, let me say that I realize religion is just as popular a topic these days as politics. Especially if the religion you want to talk about is Christianity. But I don't want to talk about religion. I want to talk about Jesus. More than 2,000 years after His death, Jesus is still a very polarizing figure. Why? Because He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me." John 14:6 NASB By many, it is considered arrogant, bigoted and narrow-minded to believe there is only one way to inherit salvation (and therefore, heaven). And it's certainly viewed as ALL those things, plus PUSHY to tell others about Jesus. Let me share with you, though, in the words of an atheist, how sharing how God's plan for your salvation is the most loving thing I can do.
Magician and comedian Penn Jillette, has been very vocal about his disdain for faith - for anything that he cannot see or touch. And although he thinks he has no use for God, he told a story once about a man who gave him a Bible after one of his shows. Jillette said the man was very kind and complimentary of him. And although to this point, the entertainer's mind is unchanged, he respected the man because he was shown respect. And he said these words, which I cannot get out of my mind, "How much do you have to HATE somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" Although he disagreed with his fan, the atheist saw the evangelism for what it was - an act of love. Someone who doesn't believe in God has convinced me that the most loving thing that I can do for you is to tell you about Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:23 tells us that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God created a perfect world, but when Adam and Eve committed the first sin it separated all of humanity from God. Because He has never sinned, God cannot associate with sin. This not only separates us from Him here on earth, but keeps us out of heaven because He is there. But God loves each and every one of us so very much that He doesn't want to be separated from Him. 1 Timothy 2:4 "But God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." So he made a way. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 God didn't want us to die an eternal death, but death is the natural consequence for sin. We have all committed sin. Everyone, that is, except Jesus. God's spotless son. He sacrificed His perfect son to death - a death that we deserve. Jesus satisfied God's judgement for us all. Acts 2:21 tells us to "Call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved." That's it. If you believe you are a sinner and that Jesus can save you from that sin, all you have to do is call on Him in prayer. Tell Him that you believe in Him and want to accept His Salvation.
That's a pretty simplistic explanation, but you don't have to understand the whole Bible to come to Jesus. For most of us biblical literacy is a life long pursuit. You don't have to clean up your life to call on Him. He will do that for you. You don't have to stop anything you are currently doing or start doing something you aren't. There is no way for you to earn salvation. Just ask for it. Anything that God wants to change in you, He will. In time.
it is impossible for me to thoroughly describe such a big, mysterious, powerful God in a blog post. But I would love to continue this conversation with any of you. Online or on the phone if you are long distance, or over a cup of coffee if you are in close proximity. Really. I share this because I love you. But more importantly, the creator of the universe loves you.