Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

One of the things about the Christian faith that people are most bothered by is Jesus’ death on the cross. Why did Jesus have to die? Could there have been another way?

Actually, before we can answer that question, we have to understand sin and sinful nature. Without going into a long theological discourse, let me give a quick overview of sin. When Adam and Eve were created by God, they were created to be in relationship with God. They were given everything that they needed. The Garden of Eden was a wonderful place to live, with choice foods. They were given the responsibility of caring for the animals and the garden.

However, there was one thing that was forbidden for them, and that was to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were deceived by Satan into thinking this fruit would be good to eat, and when they ate, for the first time, they knew good AND evil. In knowing evil they were now tempted to do evil. With this act sin was brought into the world.

Since God is a holy God, and cannot be in the presence of sin, this meant that human beings were cut off from God’s presence (which had been enjoyed so well by Adam and Eve up to this point). Through sacrifices of animals and their spilled blood, the penalty for our sin was paid. This happened on a daily basis.

God determined that through His Son Jesus Christ, the One who was perfect, a sacrifice once for all would be paid. As we are told in Romans 6:23, “For the penalty of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus gave His life so that we could be free from our sin, and be made holy in Him. Through this imparted holiness we are again able to fellowship with God while on this earth, and have entrance into heaven when we die.

This, in short, is why Jesus had to die. Let’s us be thankful for this gift and receive this gift, today and always. Blessings.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The title of our blog group this week is an interesting one, because it implies that God “needs” others to apologize for Him, as if God has done something wrong. The truth is, we only need to apologize when we have wronged another.

So why is it that some people think that God has wronged them? I can think of a couple of reasons: first, people feel entitled to a life of happiness. This is because our nation was founded on the principle of “the pursuit of happiness” for all. So, when life doesn’t bring happiness, they ultimately blame God, since God is supposed to be a loving God. So many think that a loving God is one who only allows good things to happen in our lives. The truth is, more often than not, we learn from our struggles and failures more than our successes. We also are made stronger through our trials. Just like a parent would be negligent if they gave their child “everything” they wanted, so God would do us a disservice in this as well.

Second, people feel wronged by God when a loved one dies. For some reason, even though we all know that we will die one day, people feel wronged by death. Why is it that people blame God for not keeping their loved one alive? All too often we are short sighted in this regard, not understanding life and death in eternal terms. We are told in the Bible that this earth is not our “home.” Our home is in heaven, where we will one day go to be with God for eternity. This world is our time to learn how to love others, and love God! When the time comes, death with come.

Third, people feel wronged by God in thinking that the way to heaven is so narrow. People have trouble accepting that only through faith in Jesus Christ can we get to heaven. “How narrow is this?” they ask. The truth is, God took on flesh, in human form, as the man Jesus Christ, to ultimately die for our sins. He paid the price for us. He made it so what was impossible (dwelling with a holy God) could be possible by making us holy through the shedding of His blood. He has given us a ticket to heaven. All we have to do is accept it. As Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” We have not been wronged, but blessed with this wonderful gift.

So the next time you feel “wronged” by God, or feel like you have to “apologize” for God, remember who God is, how much He loves us, and all that He has done for us. Blessings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Table Before My Enemies

Have you had enemies in your life? I can remember when I was in seventh grade, an eighth-grader would follow me home and threaten to beat me up. That was pretty scary. I had others who disliked me in high school. And once while working at a church, there was a couple who was trying to get the congregation turned against me. These are all examples of having enemies in life.

What are we to do with our enemies? The Bible is clear that we are to pray for them. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-44, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” That is hard advice, because our tendency is to hate our enemy; to get back at our enemy. Why would Jesus tell us to pray for them? Because Jesus believed our enemies existed because they were misguided, and by prayer they could be brought back to God.

Even more, to seek evil against others, or to harbor hatred in your heart will make you a bitter and angry person. When we carry these feelings around in us, we cannot enjoy life, we cannot love others, we cannot fulfill God’s call. Instead, we are governed by our hatred and bitterness.

We see this ultimate example with Jesus, who on the cross was forgiving all who put Him on the cross. Jesus understood that their actions were due to their sinfulness; their shortsightedness. Jesus’ prayer for His enemies was this: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

You might struggle with the thought: But it isn’t fair that they get away with it. The truth is, they won’t get away with it. God will judge those who deserve judgment; those who have not given themselves to Christ. In Psalm 23:5 we are told by the Psalmist: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Our enemies will see the wonderful blessings we receive from God, while their actions and dark heart keep them from these blessings.

Next time you are wronged, instead of seeking revenge, pray. Pray that God would show them the error of their ways. They may humble themselves before God, ask for forgiveness, and tell you they are sorry. But even if they don’t, you will be able to enjoy God’s blessings here on this earth, and in heaven. Amen.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Liar, liar pants on fire is something that kids learn as a taunt to other kids. This statement shows us that even kids know that it is not a good thing to lie. Not only do they learn it from their parents, but they learn it by the consequences of their lies. More often than not, they will get caught in their lies.

We too learn in life that lies are not good. There are several reasons for this which I would like to propose to you. First, when we lie, we cannot be trusted. Psalm 58:3 tells us, “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.” A liar is considered wicked. When someone lies, they begin to create this as part of who they are. It then becomes difficult for them to tell the truth, and it is difficult for others to believe them. In Isaiah 45:9, God says, “…I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.” The Lord always speaks the truth and lets us know what is right and wrong. But a liar has trouble distinguishing between right and wrong. If it is good for them, then it is right.

Second, lying makes a person proud. Why? Because they are going against the God of truth, and in essence establishing what they believe is true and false in their lives. Liars have trouble seeing the truth of God because their lies create their own false truth. When we lie, we in essence will hear the words God spoke to Job in Job 38:2, “Who is it that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?”

Third, lying shows our sinfulness. In our lies we show that we only care about ourselves, and not those we hurt with our lies. Our lies lead us to deny that we have done wrong, and in our denial, we neglect the love we are to have for others. In our lies we are seeking to protect ourselves from harm, all the while we are harming our very being itself.

Lying and truth-telling are topics that books have been written about, so I do not propose to have expressed all there is to say. But hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought. Blessings.