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Archive for July, 2015

BuyingIntoHeaven 7.15No doubt about it; Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist and uber-billionaire Bill Gates has done a lot of amazing things in his years on this planet.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he’s given away $28 billion (almost half of his total wealth) since 2007.  That money has gone to improving education, providing medical aid for millions of children, upgrading water/sanitation in the developing world and much more.

Along the way, Gates has persuaded other billionaires, such as Warren Buffett, to similarly dedicate massive amounts of their personal wealth to charity.

In short, this guy ROCKS.

So what about the graphic (found in an Internet atheism community) that inspired me to write this essay?

I did some research; after reading several interviews, it seems Gates can best be described as agnostic. That means he declares that he simply doesn’t know if there’s a God.

So, is Bill Gates going to hell, as this graphic suggests? The simple answer for me is: I don’t know.

As a follower of Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is God’s Son), I DO know that giving $28 billion or $280 billion to charity is not the ticket to Heaven. No one can buy eternal life with God. It’s not for sale.

Indeed, a section of the Bible called ‘Ephesians’ says “Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it.”

On the other hand, having faith in Jesus and doing nothing about it isn’t going to go over well, either.

A section of the Bible called ‘James’ put it this way: “Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”

I don’t know where that leaves someone like Bill Gates. After all, despite his “God-acts” he is not (and never will be) anywhere close to perfect.

For example, under his direction the United States government took Microsoft to court over anti-competitive business practices. Despite Gates’ testimony, the company lost. In addition, while Gates was chairman and chief software architect, Microsoft lost another major anti-competition court case, this time to the European Union.

Meanwhile, Gates still has more than half his massive fortune and will almost certainly finish his life a very, very wealthy man.

But never mind Bill. What about YOU? You can’t buy your way into Heaven, so how does your behaviour stack up? Examine it with cold, hard realism. Can you defend and account for every wrong thing you’ve done and every right thing you’ve failed to do?

If you’re like me, you can’t. But by believing in Jesus Christ and following Him, you don’t have to. He’s the gift that gives you eternal life. How about giving Him serious consideration?

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Terribleness Of The CrossMy first reaction when I read this graphic on an Internet atheism community?

Yes, it is TERRIBLE that Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is God’s divine son) had to die on the cross for me and everyone else who believes in Him.

In fact, I’ll go further: absolutely HORRIBLE. Totally AWFUL. Overwhelmingly WRETCHED.

And for us humans, any parent that would send their child to be killed IS a terrible person.

But if you have any belief in a Creator, I think you’ll also agree that there’s a *universe* of difference between us insecure, greedy, self-centred, violent, lying human beings and the Maker of time, space and the cosmos.

Consider this:

Christianity teaches that this Creator hates “sin” (an out-of-fashion word, but it best suits what I’m writing about). Yes, *hates* it. Christianity also teaches that when this life ends, every one of us will be called on to account for all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do.

I guarantee you, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will NOT be able to explain everything away. You will not have reasonable, viable excuses. It simply isn’t possible.

The thing is, God knows this. And because the God of the Bible is a just and loving God,  He sought a solution that wouldn’t force Him to deny every person passage into Heaven (i.e., spending eternity in His presence).

The solution is hard, but Jesus Christ accepted it. He paid the penalty for the wrong things I’ve done and the right things I’ve failed to do. And He paid the penalty for every other person who believes in Him and follows Him.

Now, when my life is finished and I appear before God, He won’t see my sins. All He will see is the perfection of His Son.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that we can all do whatever we want, declare we accept Jesus’s sacrifice and now follow Him, and simply get off penalty-free. Our Creator has no trouble seeing through this kind of cynical, arrogant thinking.

In fact, a section of the Bible called ‘Romans’ addresses this point: “So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there?”

If you’ve truly, honestly and seriously accepted the gift of Jesus, then your life will begin to change. You’ll want to be worthy of that gift; you’ll want to live your life so that you become an ambassador for Jesus.

You can be that ambassador because you don’t have to do it alone. In a mysterious way, Jesus comes to live in your heart and soul. Furthermore, you’ll want to surround yourself with other Jesus followers who will pray for you, encourage you and keep you accountable.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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