Jesus, Forgiveness, Healing, Grace, Mercy, Redemption are all words that are associated with Christianity but the understanding of them is being lost today's world.
Why I'm a Christian
I could go on at some length and write why I am not a Muslim, Hindu or a Buddhist but it is easier to point out the uniqueness that Christianity has above all the other World Religions. Christianity does contain some new teaching from Jesus but I chose to follow his way, not because he proposes a better set of rules than any of the others, but because of his fundamental shift of emphasis.
As written earlier but worth repeating here, all Religions have as a foundation some sort of ‘Laws’ that have to be followed. In practice they soon become some sort of ‘merit system’ where followers believe they have to prove somehow or other that they are ‘worthy’ of God’s favour. 'Second-hand Christianity' is the same, it’s just another version of a ‘merit system’ with people trying to impress God by their good Christian behaviour.
They are not aware that God doesn’t think the way mankind does - he sends the sun and the rain upon both the good and the bad people, something (if we are honest) we don’t like. God doesn't divide mankind, as we so often do, into who is good and who is bad, in his eyes we all have faults - and yet he still loves us. This is because God doesn't love us because we are good but because he is good!
There is a verse in the Bible that says this -”But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans Ch5 verse 8, Living Bible). I find that to be quite amazing, God didn’t say to mankind sort yourselves out first by following the Laws I have given you. No, Jesus came to show us an entirely new way for us to approach the Law.
As written earlier, the problem with any ‘Law’ is this - while it shows us what we should do, it gives us no more help than a traffic speed limit sign does. All it does is tell us that we are doing wrong.
St John mentioned this fundamental change from that of the other major Law following Religions, when he wrote this - “For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well. (John Ch 1 Verse 17. Living Bible)
Jesus confirmed this new approach to gaining everlasting life in the following conversation - “One day an expert on Moses’ laws came to test Jesus’ orthodoxy by asking him this question: “Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?” Jesus replied, “What does Moses’ law say about it?” “It says,” he replied, “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbour just as much as you love yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you shall live!” (Luke Ch 10 Verses 25 to 28)
In what he said above, Jesus was trying to show us a new ‘Law of Love’ which asks us to - “Love our neighbours as ourselves” If we do this then we find that the earlier ridged demands of the Law are automatically met. So instead of having a negative approach to life, trying our best to avoid doing wrong by breaking the Law, we can now develop a loving and positive outlook in our everyday activities.
But alongside this new approach we must not forget the problem with all Laws, even this new Law of Love - it is that we can’t do it on our own, we need help. Remember my earlier point about 'the bottom line in life being a choice between our own efforts or seeking help from God' - When we attempt any task in order to become worthy, we are likely to fail unless we seek help from a higher source.
St Paul, when he wrote a letter to those Christians that lived in Galatia at that time, confirmed the assurance and help that becomes available to anybody who invites Jesus to share their lives - “And that is the way it was with us before Christ came. We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals, for we thought they could save us. But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons. And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons.” (Galatians Ch 4 Verses 3 to 7)
In this we have what is a scandal to both the Jews and the Muslims - Christians daring to consider and even call God ‘Our Father’ and yet, as the above verses confirm, if we accept him ( rather than reject him) then we can each become an adopted child of his. This is something, Reader, that you will be invited to do later in the Web site.
Meanwhile let me continue with 'Why I choose to be a Christian'
At his Last Supper, Jesus made a promise to his disciples that - “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matthew Ch 28 :18 to 20 Living Bible)
At that time the disciples could not understand how Jesus could be with them always - this was only revealed to them 50 days later during the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. Here God’s Holy Spirit entered into their hearts with accompanying gifts of Wisdom, Discernment and many others. This is the uniqueness of Christianity - a scandal to the Jews and Muslims - God humbling himself to live in the hearts of men and women to give them a First-Hand experience of his love, forgiveness and acceptance.
So, the reason why I choose to be a Christian is due to God’s presence, and the help available from the Holy Spirit, living in my heart every day.
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