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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 5:8’

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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HeavenAndHellReady to take the world’s briefest psychology test? Okay, here goes: which would persuade you to become a person of faith – the promise of Heaven or the threat of Hell?

According to the results of a 32-country study by researchers at universities in Spain and Israel, it’s no contest.

“When heaven and hell are considered valid final destinations, researchers find the notion of eternal bliss is three times more powerful than that of eternal damnation in shaping church attendance and frequency of prayer.” This is from a story in the Windsor Star, a Canadian newspaper.

Is this surprising? When I read the article, I was taken back to the beginnings of my own faith journey. I’ve always believed in a creator, but I decided to follow Jesus in 1990, mostly because I started listening to spiritual rock and pop music and, through that, discovered a positive, loving, closer-than-close God.

Since then, the trip has had rocky moments, primarily because I had faith issues which I didn’t think I could bring to anyone without them wondering about my “salvation”.

In other words, I thought someone was going to tell me if I kept asking hard questions, I could end up in Hell. So I went from embracing the ‘carrot’ (the attraction of a loving God) to running from the ‘stick’ (the threat of God’s damnation).

The story didn’t end there, of course. (If it did, I wouldn’t be writing this essay.) After a long time and many discussions with intelligent, compassionate, non-judgmental followers of Jesus of Nazareth – there are more of them around than you might think – I came back to Jesus.

If I had returned to the faith because those discussions centered around the ‘stick’ – avoiding Hell – I would likely be the poster boy for judgmental, unpleasant religion. I’d be following Jesus only to appease an angry God who doesn’t love me – or anyone else, for that matter – and doesn’t have my best interests at heart.

But he does. One of Jesus’ earliest followers wrote God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death [to pay for all the bad things we did and still do] while we were of no use whatever to him.”

It’s this love, plus the promise of a life-long, day-by-day relationship with Jesus, and a future in Heaven, that brought me to this place of faith.

I’m not about to deny the truth and suggest there isn’t a Hell and that it doesn’t influence people’s faith journeys. But more importantly, there is a God who wants every single person on this planet – including YOU – with Him in Heaven.

Does that suggest it might be time to rethink your priorities?

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