Sunday, June 17, 2012

Be still, and know that I am God.



As a worshipper of Jesus Christ as the only way to God, I love everyone regardless of their opinions, ethnicity, language, and so forth. Jesus requires no less of me. I respect all my non-Christian friends and value them as men and women created in God's image.
But that is very different from saying other religions are as valid as faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said as much when he claimed, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). I consider myself as familiar with other religions as anyone can be, and I've never read or heard any of them claim that salvation is through them alone..

The religion today that is being visible in many parts of the world  adheres to the following belief: "Yes, Jesus is my Savior, but He's not the only one. Other religions are equally valid and accepted by God. Christianity is one way to God, but not the only way.
 God’s command is still relevant for us today. He has given us the work of telling all nations about redemption through Christ’s blood and resurrection. The world is filled with competing theories about God, religion, and salvation. Alternate views of Jesus vie for our attention at every turn. Different paths to different gods market themselves in the ever-changing desert of ideas. Yet in the midst of this world of contradictory claims, Jesus Christ made a bold assertion: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). 

The Bible reveals God as the Creator of the universe. He is infinite, eternal, all powerful, all-knowing, personal, righteous, loving, just, and holy.  He created us in His image, and for His pleasure. According to the Bible, God made us to have an eternal relationship with Himself. But Jesus also used “I AM” for himself on several other occasions. 

    “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)
    “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
    “I am the only way to the Father” (John 14:6)
    “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
    “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11)
    “I am the door” (John 10:9)
    “I am the living bread” (John 6:51)
    “I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
    “I am the Alpha and Omega” Rev.1:7,8)

God rescued us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). Jesus was fully human and fully divine (John 1:1, 18), a truth that ensures His understanding of our weaknesses, His power to forgive, and His ability to bridge the gap between God and us (Romans 5:6-11). In short, we are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).


Redemption is Christ’s act of paying the complete price to release us from sin’s bondage.  God sent His Son to bear His wrath for all of our sins—past, present, and future (Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In humble obedience, Christ willingly endured the shame of the cross for our sake (Mark 10:45; Romans 5:6-8; Philippians 2:8). Christ’s death satisfied God’s righteous demands. He no longer holds our sins against us, because His own Son paid the penalty for them. We are freed from the slave market of sin, never to be enslaved again! God’s command is still relevant for us today. He has given us the work of telling all nations about redemption through Christ’s blood and resurrection. 

The world is filled with competing theories about God, religion, and salvation. Alternate views of Jesus vie for our attention at every turn. Different paths to different gods market themselves in the ever-changing desert of ideas. Yet in the midst of this world of contradictory claims, Jesus Christ made a bold assertion: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

 

God rescued us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). Jesus was fully human and fully divine (John 1:1, 18), a truth that ensures His understanding of our weaknesses, His power to forgive, and His ability to bridge the gap between God and us (Romans 5:6-11). In short, we are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Two words in this verse bear further explanation:  justified and redemption. Justification is God’s act of mercy, in which He declares righteous the believing sinners while we are still in our sinning state. Justification doesn’t mean that God makes us righteous, so that we never sin again, rather that He declares us righteous—much like a judge pardons a guilty criminal. Because Jesus took our sin upon Himself and suffered our judgment on the cross, God forgives our debt and proclaims us PARDONED. 

Christianity is unique among religions because it addresses the fact that we can never be good enough to be in the presence of a perfect, holy God. In order to be perfectly good, we would have to be doing good all the time. If we do something wrong, we can't undo it, and we can no longer be considered perfect. Nor can we do more good to make up for our wrongs, for perfection requires doing the most good possible at all times - we can't be more than perfect to make up for when we're less than perfect. Other religions teach that we can somehow do enough good to earn heaven or nirvana, but they don't address the fact that we continually make mistakes. Christianity teaches that our sins were paid for by Jesus' death on the cross, and that by accepting his payment and believing in him we can be forgiven; we don't have to earn our way into heaven, which is a good thing, because we can't do it. Christ is the only way to God, because without the forgiveness that comes through his death and resurrection, there's no way for us to be able to stand before a holy God.


God’s command is still relevant for us today. He has given us the work of telling all nations about redemption through Christ’s blood and resurrection. Compared to Paul, we have an abundance of communication capabilities—including radio, television, Internet, and cell phones—which provide easy access into countries all over the world. We could make more disciples by better utilizing these technologies. But how tragic if we get busy and fail to obey God’s command.

We stand at a critical moment in history for the church. The door of opportunity is wide open for us to share the gospel through a variety of methods. As believers, we are obligated to carry out Christ’s Great Commission. Be careful that neither busyness nor apathy keeps you from obedience.

Blessings,  

For the Gospel, 
   
Raj Kosaraju

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