You may find this recent letter to a non-Christian friend of interest.
You said yesterday—perhaps somewhat
lightheartedly—that you sometimes wonder, "What is the meaning of life?"
Guess what, this Dave has that answer. May I share it with you?
(You might want to grab a cup of coffee. Sometimes, my letters grow legs!)
First, what is not the meaning of life. Life and happiness are not about:
1. Accumulating stuff.
2. Being a churchy person.
3. Chasing girls, etc.
These give no long-term satisfaction. Period!
Life and happiness are all about
resolving the God puzzle. Does God see us of value, and can we really compute that, so it makes sense?
This is North America after all, not never-never land!
To begin, we must accept that there is a
wide-awake God who created us, knows about each of us, and wants to
make personal contact with us.
We must accept that the Bible is inspired by
God. If the Bible is just another book, God is a strange joker.
Researchers and archeologists would have had
the so-called inspired scriptures for lunch centuries ago, dismissing them as a
collection of pious platitudes and musty history. It would not be the
best seller of all time.
Major roadblocks to belief in God are:
1. Wars waged in the name of God.
2. Religious leaders involved in public sin.
3. Conflicting religious beliefs.
4. The question of absolute truth.There
are too many personal points of view out there.
But where there is garbage, there is truth.
Truth is absolute, not relative.
The garbage and confusion we see all around us
are the direct result of sin.
God gave Adam and Eve a choice. They chose to
sin. Each of us is given choice or freewill, as well.
Under freewill, we can choose to be upright
citizens, con guys, or drug dealers.
We can choose to seek God, tell Him to hit the
road, or take the position that He might not exist, la de da de da!
The Bible points out that no sin is allowed in
Heaven. It says Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, and that He took care of the
sin issue when He died, shed His blood and rose again.
Therefore the question: Is everyone Heaven-bound because He died for everyone?
According to the Bible, the answer is, clearly, no!
Christ died for everyone, yes, but you and I
determine if we will go to Heaven upon death. And we determine that in this life. God has
wired us with a God consciousness. That, we cannot deny.
And that sin is inborn is quite evident. We
live in a good-versus-evil, God-versus-Satan world.
Many challenge the suggestion that we are born wired to sin.
The question is, then, why do well-scrubbed
kids have to be taught and disciplined to be good?
It's not necessary for parents to teach their
"darlings" to defy, toss temper tantrums, lie, or disobey. None of these things
are major issues, but they are significant pointers that we are all born flawed and
out of sync with God.
Even well-raised, "good" kids often wind up
doing major bad stuff when they erupt into their teen years and beyond. Of
course few kids turn into serial killers, but, nevertheless, we humans
do sin to some degree during our lifetime. Agree?
So, back to the big question: What's life all about, Alfie!?
Each of us is to enjoy life, under the rules
established by God. Which God? (I'll tackle that in a second.)
Originally, things were flawless until Adam
and Eve blew it and chose to sin.
The sin gene was inherited by all his offspring. God said that sin required a
blood sacrifice. Thereafter, animal blood was poured on the altar, the only
place of reconciliation between sinful man and holy God. Those stiff practices
were discontinued, however, when Christ volunteered Himself to be the sin offering, shedding His
own blood to provide eternal forgiveness for the sins of every man who ever lived.
The Bible states that the onus is on each of
us to personally respond to Christ's offer to save us. Underline the word personal!
Christ died and arose for everyone, but an
individual response is demanded.
We are not "saved" by being loyal churchgoers
or community do-gooders, despite these being admirable habits.
The Bible says, "All have sinned." Jesus Christ shed His blood to cover all our sins—past, present,
and future. That familiar verse, John 3:16, states,
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever
believeth (calls out to and puts their trust in) shall not perish but
have everlasting life."
Sealing the deal with God is just a simple
prayer away. We don't have to be in a church, and don't have to be bowed. But
we must ask God to save us!
We simply choose to believe, and in an honest prayer ask God to save us.
Specifically, what does that mean?
1. We must confess that we are a sinner.
Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of
God." Proverbs 16:25 states, "There is a way that seemeth right unto
a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
2. We must be prepared to stop doing
stuff we know is wrong. Luke 13:3 states, "But, except ye repent, ye shall
all likewise perish." We must ask Christ to save us. Asking is the same as
believing. We must actively put our faith in what Christ did for us to become
members of God's family.
The Bible states that Jesus is the only way to
Heaven. Narrow minded, narrow road. Uh huh!
John 14:6 states, "Jesus says, I am the
way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Is this really a believable proposition? Yes!
John 1:12 states, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
So, what do you pray? Something like this:
I am a sinner.
Others have sinned greater than
I have. But, nevertheless, I stand before you now as a lost sinner, deserving of Hell.
I choose to believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God who became a man.
I choose to believe He allowed
Himself to be put to death, arose again on the third day, and is alive today.
The Bible says our sins are
washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, and I believe that.
Father, I want to be cleansed of all my sins right now.
I know I am not right with God,
and I want to be. I want to go to Heaven when I die.
Right now, at (date
and time) , I bow at the foot of the cross of Jesus
Christ, and I am dumping all of my sin there. All of it!
I ask that the blood of Jesus
Christ wash away all my sins—past, present, and future.
I am sorry for my sin, and I accept your forgiveness.
Right now I declare that I am a Christian.
I ask, Father, that you will
make me aware of when I want to sin, and give me the courage to say no.
I ask, too, that you will help
me understand the Bible, and to make the rest of my days on earth count for eternity.
I pray all of this in the name
of Jesus Christ, my new Lord and Savior. Amen.
Anything else? Yes. Tell someone that Jesus is
now your Lord. Start attending a church where the Bible is clearly proclaimed.
Get baptized by immersion as a public profession of your new life in Christ.
Read your Bible. Pray regularly. And continue—or start—doing good stuff as a
witness that you care like Christ cares.
If you are sincere, the Bible says you are now
a Christian and you will spend eternity in Heaven.
Sounds too simple, right? It is so simple a
kid can understand it and respond without churchy classes or strict sacraments
to weigh him down.
Why is Christ the only way to the Father when
other major religions claim that they have the way? Good question.
First, Christianity is the only "religion" (hate that word) where God came to earth and
completed our salvation.
All other religions require loyal followers to
struggle all their life doing religious stuff in the hope that they will appease God
with their efforts. Biblical Christianity promises eternal life now to those who will reach out and accept Christ.
Second, Christ and Christianity do not force
anyone to accept what is freely offered. There is eternal Hell to pay if we reject, yes.
Islam, with its mammoth (and scary) following
of 1/5th of the world's population, is a ruthless religion. If a Muslim converts
to Christianity, the penalty may be death.
Islam preaches war against the non-Muslim and promises castles and
70 virgins to a loyalist who will kill others in the name of Allah.
Christ is all about love. Other major
religions are about rule-keeping with a wobbly chance of a blissful afterlife.
Can I prove there is an afterlife? Hmm,
toughie! It is declared loudly by Jesus Christ and the Bible.
We do see examples of an afterlife in a couple
of ways we can all relate to.
Consider an unborn fetus.
The "kid" might defend that life was
only what could be physically seen—a motherly hot tub and a food tube.
Telling the future toddler that he was gonna
blow out of there in a month and grow up to drive a train or operate a computer
would bring mocking laughter. Yet, that's a fact, jack!
Tell a caterpillar it was going to spin a
cocoon, drift off to sleep, and grow wings, emerge, and fly a mile high over
the city as a beautiful Monarch Butterfly and winter in Mexico. If a
caterpillar could laugh, it would roar! Yet, that's the truth of the matter; an
ugly worm takes flight.
The big picture is—and the Bible supports
this—our life is a stubby hallway, which is a door slam away from a wide-awake eternity.
Life is a brief flash of a match, a candle in
the wind. (A bow to Elton John!)
For some, life here is a horrible ride. For
others, it is a charmed walk in the park.
We will each be judged by God as to how we
respond to the cards we have been dealt.
As woeful or delightful as our life is, we
each will be judged by God on how we respond to what Jesus Christ has done for us.
He died for us. He arose from the dead. He
shall return soon for those who have put their faith in Him. Are you ready to face God?
Settle the matter now before it's eternally too late.