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Belief Necessary for What?|
Q. You know what? I'm not so bad. In fact, I'm a good person - better than most anyway. I don't hurt anyone. I haven't killed anyone. I try to be good to my neighbor and poor people. I don't lie unless it's to protect someone from feeling bad. So why do you think God would send a person like me to hell? What do I need faith for anyway? (A.J.)
Good questions! Thanks for asking because a lot of people feel the way you do.
Comparing Yourself to Others
The problem with an argument like yours is that you compare yourself to other human beings. But, really…who gave you the authority to rate yourself on life's sliding scale by comparing yourself to other human beings?
People just do not have an ability or authority to set the gold standard for themselves. Comparing yourself with your neighbor or with the worst terrorist is still measuring yourself by flimsy, subjective rules - by men's standards.
This argument makes man into a "god" who defines the rules. But, we think there is more reason to believe God than to believe what mere men say about themselves. Don't you think?
How Good is Good Enough?
Besides, just how good is good enough? If you help ten orphans or twenty widows, does that get you into heaven? How about giving one million dollars to the local soup kitchen? Is that enough? Which commandments are the most important? Is murdering worse than gossiping? How do you know?
How would you even know there is a "heaven" without it being revealed by an authority higher than yourself? How would you even know if there is a "hell" to worry about?
Who makes the Rules?
We believe that the God who sustains trillions of swirling galaxies is the one who controls the universe. He makes the rules - not you or me. And God's standards far exceed yours or mine.
God gave us a Supernatural Book
How do we know this? God makes this claim in the Bible - which we believe is His book because it shows clear, supernatural elements. We believe it is His book because hundreds of fulfilled prophecies prove it. Hundreds of scientific statements from His book prove it. Archaeology and historical documents prove it. (The list of proofs is too numerous to list here).
No one does Good - not even One
We believe that God's standards far exceed your standards or mine because in His book you will read,"No one does good, no not one" (Romans 3:10). That means you and it also means me.
He tells us …"no one understands and no one seeks for God. All have turned aside - together they have become worthless. No one does good, not even one" (Romans 3:11-12, ESV).
According to God's book there is not one righteous person living on our planet - not one!
Controlling our Thoughts
Try reading the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew, chapter five, for example. In this chapter you will find that your thoughts are judged as well as your deeds. Have you ever tried to rigidly control your thought life? How far did you get?
Yet, Yeshua says, "everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire" (Matthew 5:22).
Have you ever called your brother or sister or husband or wife or kids a "fool?"
Uh Oh… Worse, did you call them "stupid?" Did you call them "idiots?" Ask yourself if they said the same about you? Is it right if they have done that? Should they get away with it?
Keep reading Matthew chapter five. It's pretty shocking…By God's standards we have all failed. None of us can get into heaven.
Genetic Misfits who need Help!
This is one reason why God provided the solution for all of our sins. It is because we are genetically-flawed creatures who cannot save ourselves from sin or death. When you raise up yourself from your own grave then come talk to me about your authority to set the rules.
God's provision to cover your (or my) inadequate standards, cruel behaviors, angry-outbursts, and other deficiencies, rest in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Chances are you already know this Scripture:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, ESV).
Atonement is as necessary as a blood-transfusion is to life itself after a fatal accident. We cannot save ourselves. That much is clear. God saves us. We cannot save ourselves from death or genetic sin.
If Right we win&if Wrong we Win
You might want to consider this scenario - it doesn't make it right or correct, but it may warrant your investigation:
If we are right, you and all unbelievers stand the chance of losing everything - forever! (That's a long time).
Once you have died you will never see your children or grandkids, a forest, a flower, or taste a hot-fudge sundae again. Ever. You will experience intense heat and thirst and be separated from God for eternity.
But, if we are wrong, then maybe we led a little bit better life than most. At death we will know and feel nothing. That's the worst we believers could experience.
Is this possible? Think about it…
Who else in History conquered Death?
Besides, who else do you know who could "clone" you - in a sense - to a forever life? Who offers you eternal life? Who can bring you back from ashes or the grave? Which great religious teacher has shown you he has the ability to conquer death itself?
As far as I know Buddha is still in the grave. Muhammed is gone. Mary Baker Eddy died. I know of only one human who has conquered death itself - Jesus Christ. His tomb is empty - and there are sound historical facts to prove it reasonably.
This is why we accept that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Only One person has conquered death and offers hope to you or me or to mankind.
So, "beam me up, Lord…I'm ready to move to New Jerusalem!" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Muncaster, Ralph. 2004. Examine the evidence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
Strobel, Lee. 2007. The case for the real Jesus.Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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