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Christianity in a Nutshell
Here it is: For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God...
1 Peter 3:18
This is the good news in as few words as is possible. But this is not all there is to Christianity.
Some of you may be familiar with the concept of hierachical trees. Well, here is one:
It is a crude tree, but it shows what I want to illustrate - a concept or a fact can be directly or indirectly related to, be dependent upon or support any number of facts or concepts. As far asChristianity is concerned 1 Peter 3:18 can be taken as the root node to which all other nodes (facts, concepts) are related and through which a relationship can be found between every concept/fact with every other concept/fact, even if seemingly unrelated.
1 Peter 3:18 also takes some explaining; why did Christ have to die for sins he didn't commit? How can one pay for the sins of millions? Why did God not just forgive our sins without someone dying such a revolting death for it? Now that Christ paid for all our sins for ever and ever, can we sin for all we are worth? I mean, Christ did pay the price, didn't he?
First, something to get out of the way.
This clearly shows us that God reasons on a much higher plane than we do. The way God sees things is very different from the way we see things. One's point of view is related to one's experiences and knowledge. We think in terms of a human lifetime seen against the background we are familiar with. If one suddenly comes into contact with a very different culture one is out of one's depth - and this still on the same planet at the same point in time. When we talk about death we think of the terminal event at the end of our seventy odd alotted years. When Jesus spoke about Lazarus's death he said Lazarus was asleep. For Jesus death meant something eternally permanent from which there will be no resurrection. In fact, the big death takes place after the second resurrection and is the eternal punishment of the lost.
Jesus repeatedly said that he and God were extremely alike.
Therefore we can be sure God views death the same way Jesus does. If what we view as a catastrophic final event is seen by God and Jesus as maybe not even a minor inconvenience, it is clear that we do indeed see things very differently. Obviously, God and Jesus have points of view not constrained by time and locality as we have. They indeed see the"big picture."
What the previous paragraphs boil down to is that we must not even think to try and figure God out and put motives behind what we think are God's actions. We can have some understanding of God, but God is further removed from us as far as intelligence and insight are concerned than the most insignificant insect is from someone like Stephen Hawking.
Now, back to the kernel of Christianity. What is so bad about sin?
Am I affected by this?
That sure does seem to include every one of us. Unless we can find a way out of this we seem to be in for the big Death.
How do I get past this sin thing leading to the big death?
Remember 1 Peter 3:18? Christ already paid the price for our sins. This is where we just have to accept that
God reasons differently from us. God accepts Christ's earthly death as full payment for the sins of humanity.
Even Satan has to acknowledge that the full price has been paid. But you still have a choice, you don't have to
accept Christ's death as payment for your sins. You don't even have to believe in a God.
Maybe you subscribe to the religion of evolution. If so, obviously you have done no investigation into
the factual basis, or rather, lack of it, that underlies your "religion". And at the same time you do not
know of, or have ignored, all the facts that make evolution so much poppycock. Your "faith" is indeed great.
But, if you do believe in a God;
OK, I'm truly sorry about my shortcomings and wickedness and have asked the Lord's forgiveness, keeping in mind that
Jesus paid the price for my sins. What now?
You know what that means, do things that show you have changed. If you have truly repented and want to follow the example set by Jesus (you will often not succeed) you will WANT TO do the right things. OK, sometimes your human nature will predispose you to what is not right, but we are to fight that, even if we don't always win every battle. Note that the right things you want to do are a consequence of your truly redeemed state, not the cause of it. This is what Jesus said about how doing the will of God made him feel:
John 4:34 (Revised Standard Version)
It is clear that if we are in a right relationship with God, doing His will will give us the pleasure and strength we obtain from good food. We won't see doing God's will as an onerous imposition to be done so we can get on with other more pleasureable pursuits.
Now what are the things God wants us to do?
Now that Christ has paid the price for all sin for always, I suppose we can live it up and really enjoy a hedonistic life? This viewpoint is prevalent in many Christian denominations. No more obeying the Ten Commandments, no Sabbath keeping. Grace wipes words like "transgression" and "law" from the vocabulary.
Let's see what the Bible says.
Have a look at the page dealing with The Ten Commandments
For those of you who have a problem with the numbers - I mean, how can one person, even if it was the sinless Jesus, pay the price for millions?
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.
That only makes sense, doesn't it? The first man was of course Adam. His mistake was that he listened to his wife, and not to God. God demands absolute obedience. So, if billions can suffer as the result of the actions of one man it is only right if all these billions can be redeemed again by one man - Jesus this time. He was absolutely obedient, even though it meant suffering a degrading, painful death.
There you have it. Now it is up to you. Of course this is not all that can be said about Christianity and religion. If you have questions, I may have some answers. Click the link below and e-mail me.