Posts Tagged ‘Romans 3:23’

In my country (Canada), most classic rock fans will know a 1980s hit song called A Criminal Mind by keyboardist/songwriter/singer Larry Gowan.

In an episode of the ‘Behind The Vinyl’ video series, Gowan unpacks how the song came to be. It was cool to hear, for example, that A Criminal Mind was recorded in Ringo Starr’s home, which means if he was around, Ringo probably overheard the song dozens of times.

But what made me sit up and take notice was when Gowan pondered the lyrics — about an unrepentant, repeat offender — and said:

“I’ve come to believe everyone has this dark side in them, no matter how much [or little] of it has made it out into the world. And I think the song taps into that.”

Gowan is right. All of us have the ability to do wrong and fail to do right. Followers of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God) readily acknowledge that truth because one of Jesus’s earliest and most influential followers wrote “All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.”

There it is. Gowan knows it, Jesus followers like me know it and, perhaps, even you know it.

If you’re like me, you’ve tried to overcome your moral shortcomings. Occasionally you’ve even succeeded. But I bet that, like me, you’re like the world’s worst sharpshooter. You and I miss the target again and again and again and…..

This is important not just for today, but also for after this life ends. In one of the original-source biographies of his physical life on Earth, Jesus told anyone willing to listen that in order to hang out with Him and God, “you must be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

Yikes! I think it’s fair to write that none of us can meet that standard. So, on our own efforts, a bouncer will stop every one of us outside the door to Heaven.

Thankfully, you and I don’t have to rely on ourselves. Jesus did it for us, dying on a Roman cross to make up for ALL the wrong things we’ve done and ALL the right things we’ve failed to do. Consider it a life-changing gift. All you have to do is accept it.

Commit your life to following Jesus and God will see you like He sees His Son: perfect in every way. That means when you show up at the door to Heaven, the bouncer will welcome you inside for all eternity.

There’s something else to this gift, too. Accept it and Jesus will come into your life RIGHT NOW and start to make you more like the person God created you to be. Over time, you’ll come to see yourself and others in a new light. You’ll come to a new understanding of life and how this world works. Most important, you’ll become an ambassador for Jesus to a planet that desperately needs the hope only He can provide.

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

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Is there any truth to this viewpoint, which I found on an atheist Internet community? Unfortunately, yes.

Just visit some Christian or Muslim communities on social media and you’re sure to encounter a few “religious” people who believe they have all the answers to life’s questions.

But isn’t this the case for every group out there? I’ve spent time in atheist Internet communities and have encountered many, many people who announce their opinions — such as the assumption stated in this graphic — as if they were scientifically proven facts. It just ain’t so.

Most followers of Jesus of Nazareth that I know absolutely do not go around claiming to know it all. In fact, it just takes a few moments of mature, respectful conversation with thoughtful Jesus followers to discover they have all kinds of questions about the things they don’t know. And I’m one of them.

But here’s the thing: it’s not about what we don’t know. It’s about what we DO know. Here’s a brief summary:

1. God loves every person on this planet, no exceptions. How do serious Christians know this? Because one of the primary source documents about Jesus states God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.

2. God wants a living, breathing relationship with us. Consider these ancient writings, from prophets and Jesus followers:
Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. Notice the word “everything” in what we are to pray for?
I came to give life—life that is full and good (the words of Jesus).
I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.

3. The wrong things we’ve done, and the right things we’ve failed to do, have put a wall between us and God. Evidence? All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness (written by one of Jesus’ earliest followers).

4. God went to extraordinary lengths to knock down that wall, by offering Jesus — His life, his sacrificial death, His glorious resurrection — as a gift to anyone willing to accept Him. The evidence: Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us (written by the same early Jesus follower).

5. When you accept the gift of Jesus, God no longer sees the wrong things you’ve done and the right things you’ve failed to do. He only sees His Son’s perfection. And when you accept the gift of Jesus, He comes into your life and starts a process of change that doesn’t end until this life finishes and you spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

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



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Glass half fullIs the glass half-full or half-empty?

That’s the essence of what atheist blogger Staks Rosch is getting at when he wrote a piece for the Huffington Post called “Dear Pope, Atheists don’t need redemption”.

Here’s a key excerpt:

I don’t believe humans are evil sinners in need of redemption. I don’t see the glass as half empty. I think people are more nuanced than that. We do good things and we do bad things.

First of all, let me write that I would dearly LOVE to agree with Staks. In fact, for many years I was onside with his main points. And it’s hardly a stretch to say that yes, we do good things and bad things.

So what happened?

Simply put, I came to ask these questions: what do we do about the bad things we do? And what do we do about the good things that we FAIL to do?

I’m not talking about destroying skyscrapers or failing to stop genocide – for most of us, such “sins” are as relevant as contemplating life on Mars. I’m talking about when I’m blatently insensitive to my wife or find an excuse not to help a friend in need because it makes me uncomfortable.

What does Staks Rosch do about these things? Apparently, nothing except writing that “I have come to understand that people generally try to be the best they can.”

And to that point, I have to sadly disagree.

In well-off North America it’s easy to be distracted by shiny things (oooh, a new iPad! And look what dumb thing that politician/movie star did today!). But if you and I pay attention to what’s really happening in this world, we would have to admit that people generally DON’T try to be the best they can. I can think of no other explanation for:

  • Thousands of child soldiers in Africa;
  • Rampant sex slavery in southeast Asia (supported by western ‘sex tourists’);
  • Massive corruption in developing nations (aided by North American companies like engineering giant SNC Lavelin);
  • Cash-strapped western governments cutting social services, but propping up banks.

When I think about these things, I have no trouble believing this quote from one of the earliest and most influential followers of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God): “All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.

Staks Rosch doesn’t face this truth in his blog. But lots of people do face it. And some of them, like me, decide to follow Jesus because we need REAL, PERMANENT good news.

The good news is by believing that Jesus sacrificed his life to wipe out the bad things we’ve done and the good things we’ve failed to do, we also welcome Him to change us. To make us more like Him.

And, if you believe life goes beyond 70 or so years on this planet, then that good news is permanent. When I’m done with this life, I’ll face God’s judgement. And I’ll come through that judgement scott-free because of what Jesus did for me.

He can do it for you, too. So, what do you think? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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GlassOfWater“Why can’t you just be good?”

That was the question a frustrated relative posed during a faith discussion at a social event. The question was aimed at me because I was the only person at the event who followed Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God) and the topic was getting to Heaven.

Just be good and you’ll be welcomed inside the pearly gates, right? As far as I can tell, that’s the point of view held by most people in our culture.

So why isn’t it true? Well, consider this: the residents of Walkerton, Ontario — a small town in central Canada — thought their water supply was good. You could pour a glass, hold it up to the light and it looked perfectly fine to drink.

But it wasn’t. In 2000, many residents began to experience bloody diarrhea and infections. Local officials insisted the water was drinkable, until the skyrocketing number of contamination cases caused the region’s medical officer of health to issue a “boil water advisory”.

It turns out the water was infected with deadly E.coli bacteria and by the time the crisis ended, 2,500 people (half the town’s population) became ill and seven died.

This may seem like an extreme case to you, but trust me, there isn’t a particle of water on this planet that is absolutely pure. No matter how clear and clean it appears.

And that’s the case with human beings. No matter how good some of us seem to be, no matter how generous, no matter how well-adjusted, every one of us has defects.

Looking for evidence? Consider this excerpt from a letter written by one of the ancient Jesus followers: “All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.” Sadly, nothing has changed since those words were written about 2,000 years ago and that’s why you can’t “just be good” and get into Heaven.

But there is a solution. Most Jesus followers believe what the ancient prophets wrote and they claimed God did something about our inability to become truly good. He gave us the gift of Jesus.

Here’s what Jesus did:

  • He lived with us;
  • He taught us who God is and how we can welcome Him into our lives;
  • He allowed government authorities to put him to death, so that ALL the wrongs committed by anyone who believes in Him and follows Him would be paid for and wiped out of existence;
  • He came back to life to defeat the power of death, prove He is the Son of God and provide a way for all humanity to live with Him forever in Heaven.

I see this as incredibly good news. How about you? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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