Read The Awesome Angels Of The Apocalypse Authored By Ben!
In the darkness, there is a man hanging upon a cross. His hands and feet are pierced with nails nine inches thick. Pain sears his body as he gasps for breath: he is dying. Blood trickles from his head, from a crown of thorns that mocks all he claims to be. A royal robe hangs from his shoulders, veiling the strips of flesh that have been torn from his back; covering over the bloodied trails of the whip. A multitude stand before him: mourning and wailing, mocking and taunting. And there he dies the death of a criminal: the creator of the world.
This is my reason to live.
I live because Jesus Christ died for me. This is my glory and my boast: that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. There is no greater love. However, all this would mean nothing if Christ were not the Son of God. If Christ is not God, then my claims are empty, and should not be believed: I am a fool. Therefore, I write what I know, in the hope that you might believe and be saved. I dont get brownie points for doing this; neither can I claim credit for any results that may be produced. I just want you to know and understand the hope I have in Jesus Christ, and maybe, someday, to share in it. This is my argument.
Jesus Christ was the most influential man ever to walk the face of the earth. No man ever spoke with more authority and power, or changed more lives. His teachings are regarded by all religions as being morally correct, and he is a popular part of new age thinking. Many people believe that Christ was a good moral teacher, and that his ideals and principles were good; but that is where it ends. However, the very fact that Jesus claimed to be God shatters this view. C. S. Lewis, who was a professor at Cambridge University, wrote: "I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: Im ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I dont accept His claim to be God. That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -on a level with the man who sincerely believes he is a poached egg- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse."Once, Lewis was confronted by an atheist, who claimed that Jesus Christ was a good man, but nothing more. Lewis replied: "You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Okay, so Jesus Christ isnt just a great moral teacher. He is either a fool, a liar, or the Son of God. Was he a fool, then? Was he mistaken in believing that he was God? Just as C. S. Lewis said, a man who believed himself to be the Son of God today would be like a man who believes himself to be a poached egg. He would be deluded and deceived, and would probably have a nice white jacket to help him keep his hands to himself. However, in Jesus' case, there are no abnormalities recorded; no imbalance or lunacy. The poise and composure of a man like Jesus would certainly be remarkable for one who was insane. Indeed, the rationality and strength displayed in his arguments against the Pharisees and Sadducees (the teachers of the day) are remarkable, and indicate a person who is, mentally, totally sound. In fact, the theological teachings of Jesus Christ are so deep that they cannot be satisfactorily explained except under the presumption that he is God. As a result, non-Christian hypotheses succeed one another with the restless fertility of bewilderment. Philip Schaff, a Christian historian, writes: "Is such an intellect -clear as the sky, bracing as the mountain air, sharp and penetrating as a sword, thoroughly healthy and vigorous, always ready and always self-possessed- liable to a radical and most serious delusion concerning his own character and mission? Preposterous imagination!" Jesus Christ was not a lunatic.
Was Jesus then a liar? Did he deliberately deceive his followers by claiming to be God, leading them astray? If so, then he was also a hypocrite: living a false, pretentious life, while urging his followers to live lives that were honest whatever the cost. More than that, he must have been a demon, because he also convinced these people to trust him with their eternal destiny. If Jesus Christ was unable to back up his claims and he knew it, then he must have been unspeakably evil. Lastly, he must have been a fool, because it was his claim to being God that ultimately lead to his death. Again, if Christ was a liar, then there is no possibility that he could have been a good teacher, as he would have knowingly misled people on the most important point of his teaching - his very identity. None of these views, however, coincide with the results of his teaching. Wherever Jesus Christ has been faithfully proclaimed, lives have been changed for the good, nations have been radically reformed, thieves have been made honest, alcoholics have been cured, hateful people have become kind and loving, and drug users have become people with reason and purpose. William Lecky, a famous historian and opponent of Christianity, writes: "It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive to its practice... The simple record of these three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists." It cannot be logically concluded that Jesus Christ was a lunatic or a liar. This leaves only one alternative: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
So then, Jesus Christ is God, and he died for me. Why is this worth living for? We live in a world that is drowning in its own sin. This is, perhaps, the easiest of all biblical points to prove. We only need to look around ourselves to see the depraved state that man has reduced himself to. Because God is perfect, he cannot allow sin to go unpunished. God is just. The bible clearly states that the punishment for sin is death. As a result of this, both you and I deserve to die. We sin constantly, and are, without Christ, slaves to our sin. The bible goes so far as to state: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
However, the great Truth of the gospel (good news) of Christ is this: that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus said: "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."
"Who are you?" they asked.
"I am who I have been claiming all along. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life."
Jesus Christ is God, and on a day almost two thousand years ago, he hung upon a cross, dying in pain and agony. In this sacrifice, the one person who was both man and God, the only man ever to live a perfect life, took upon himself all the sins I have ever and will ever commit. I dont understand the agony, and I dont fully understand the reason. But this I know. He did it all because he loved me. And now I live with a hope and a promise. I live in the hope of heaven: that one day, I will be with my Lord and Father in paradise, enjoying the banquet feast of Jesus Christ. And the promise? The promise is this: that Jesus Christ will return, to call me unto himself. That is why I live. There is no greater love.
Oct 26, 98
Bound by invisible chains -- longing to be free. These fetters hold you -- back ---and tie you to this-- momentary--melancholy... "sinner." Sometimes, when things are good you fool yourself,--- believing that these chains of guilt -- are gone. Until-- with painful reminder you step--too --far.-You know--exactly--what you want to doand who you want---to be- But somehow, you stagnate, step back--- and sink----------- down---------into apathy.
Spiritual apathy is a problem that faces many Christians. For years, I tried to break the chains that were holding me back. I knew exactly what God demanded of me, and, to some degree, I was complying with his will. However, it is only recently that I have realised what has been holding me back. Recently, I read a book called 'No Compromise' - the Life Story of Keith Green. It was with great interest that I noted one of Keith's journal entries:
"Can't sleep. An angel wants to burn my lips with the coal. I must count the cost. Isaiah 6:7,8. Here am I. Send me!
Prayer is the key. Make me a man of prayer! I want to be God's voice, full of love, mercy, and fire! But I must be dead! I am ready for death! Kill me, destroy me, burn me beyond recognition! I don't want greatness. I want you to be great! Lower me down, humble me. Teach me to humble myself, oh Lord! I love you so much-but not as you love the Father. I want to love you that way!"
This entry really struck me. Only two days before, I had written a poem along similar lines... What God required of me was obvious. He wanted every part of me to be dedicated to Him. It was then that I realised I could never do this myself. I had to humble myself, and ask God to forgive me. My whole life, I had loved him, served him, and honoured him less than I should have. We spoke for what seemed like hours, and finally, I realised what I had to do. I told God that I could never truly follow him without his help. I said, "God, I want to love you more, serve you more, and know you more."
It was a wish that God would not deny.
"If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed."
Are you stagnant Spiritually? Only God has the answer.
Ephesians 2:1, 4-9
"As for you, you WERE dead in your transgressions and sins... But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus... for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this NOT OF YOURSELVES, it is the GIFT OF GOD."
You are free because of what Christ has done. Doubting this fact is sin. "Therefore, go, and sin no more." If you are bound to spiritual apathy, repent of your sin... confess to God that you have not worshipped him as you should have... and be free. And if the Son sets you free, YOU SHALL BE FREE INDEED!
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