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Choose Life That You Might Live

Part 14: The Warning of The Bible
The Bible tells us that no matter how well we live, we cannot live up to God's standard of holiness (which means no sin. Period). In other words, we are all sinners who are under the death penalty... God's decreed punishment for any sin.

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

List of Chapters
For a slightly longer description of each chapter, please go to the Main Index

Part 1: ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’. The question is how do you know that the spiritual path you are on will lead somewhere you want to be?
Part 2: Religious Pluralism. Anyone who doesn't have their facts straight cannot be trusted, and certainly not to show you the path to God.
Part 3: Faith and The Bible. Christianity is perhaps the only religion that does not demand 'blind faith' from its followers.
Part 4: God And His Bible. There is far more evidence in favor of the Bible being true, than there is for any of the other 'holy books.
Part 5: Differences and Discrepancies in the Old Testament (Pending)
  Part 6: Why Jesus Is Without Equal. Anyone can claim to be divine, be divinely inspired, or have mystical visions or experiences, but...
Part 7: The Reliability of The New Testament. Applying the same standards to the Bible as we do to other ancient literary works.
Part 8: Differences and Discrepancies in the New Testament. Most alleged 'mistakes' arise from understanding too little about the Bible.
Part 8 b: Alleged Discrepancies in the Resurrection Accounts
 Part 9: The Bible, Then And Now. The New Testament happens to be the best authenticated ancient document... by far.
Part 10: Historical Corroboration. Were any of the Gospel accounts substantiated by non-Christian sources?
Part 11: Does archaeology confirm, or undermine, the New Testament accounts?
 Part 12: Is The Evidence Insufficient or Too Obscure? A far more sensible way to look at it is... the more severe the consequences, the fewer risks we should take.
Part 13: The Message of The Bible. The Heaven Jesus was sent to tell us about is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there'
YOU ARE HERE001orange Part 14: The Warning of The Bible. We are all under the death penalty.
Part 15: Who Is and Isn't a Christian. Since the word originated with the Bible, only the Bible has the right to define what a "Christian" is. Part 16: Myths and misconceptions that stem from knowing too little about Biblical Christianity.

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ON THIS PAGE

The Human Heart
The story of humanity is the story of technological, medical, and artistic progress, but moral failure.

The Wrath of God... Against Sin
God doesn't blow a fuse, rant and rave, say foolish things, or put His fist through a wall. His wrath is a measured response to one thing, and one thing only... sin. If God can forgive sin and injustice without any form of punishment whatsoever, He would neither be a holy, nor a just God.

Moral Absolutes
Is it up to each person to decide whether it is okay to molest children or indulge in ethnic cleaning? Funny how, when faced with definite situations rather than empty philosophical arguments, most people do believe in moral absolutes... But who sets the standard?

Imagining A World Without Sin
Take a moment to do so... You might be surprised at how the world suddenly becomes an amazing place, and realize that perhaps the Bible has a point after all..

Each of Us Is The Problem
Anyone who takes a long, hard, and honest look at themselves will discover that they are very much part of the problem.

The Mercy and Love of the God of the Bible
God releases us from the demands of eternal justice on the basis that someone else paid our fine. While you are sure to hear many, many long and philosophical discourses, which religion besides Christianity will tell you of a God who willingly came down to earth to save those who would be His people, by paying the price of their sins? This by dying a horrible death.

Picking And Choosing Will Cost Us... Plenty

But Do We Really Need Jesus?... Maybe Not, Since There Is Another Way to God
Jesus Himself indicated that this was possible

The Kingdom Might Be An Gift of God, Given Without Any Merit on Our Part, But It Doesn't Come Without Cost
From the very outset Jesus made it clear that He did not want on-lookers, casual followers, or even admirers.

Why Would Anyone In Their Right Mind Invent The God of The Bible?

Summary and Conclusion
The Bible is very clear that we all have a choice to make in this life - the most important choice we will ever make. The doors are still open but they won't be for long. And there is warning to those who did not believe the truth... they will be judged and perish.

Christians Need to Stop Over-Simplifying The Gospel
The 'believe in Jesus or go to hell' scenario as so many Christians put it, without any further explanation is an oversimplification.

 

The crucial difference between Christianity and almost every other religion is, in the words of Harry Ironside

    “All the different religions in the world may well be studied comparatively, for at rock bottom they are all alike; they all set men at trying to earn his own salvation. They may be called by different names, and the things that men are called to do maybe different in each case, but they all set men trying to save their own souls and earn their way into the favor of God. In this they stand in vivid contrast with the Gospel, for the Gospel is that glorious message that tells us what God has done for us in order that guilty sinners maybe saved”.  H. A. Ironside.

However, if it is up to us to save our own skins and earn God’s favour, we are up a creek, simply because the story of humanity is the story of technological, medical, and artistic progress, but moral failure.


The Human Heart
We have made great strides in technology, Most of us have witnessed dramatic developments... commercial airline travel that permits us to travel around the world in a matter of hours, while most of our immediate ancestors rarely journeyed a hundred miles from where they lived. We've seen the dawn of the computer age in which data transfers and unbelievably complicated calculations are literally made at the speed of light. The information super highway brings the knowledge of the world to our desk tops at the click of a few buttons. The science of DNA has made unbelievable contributions to crime investigation. We can remove tumors from human brains and repair defective heart valves and knee and hip joints. The list is endless.

But, in spite of all our progress, the ugly specters of famine, war, violence, and genocide still raise their heads. In fact, the twentieth century has been the bloodiest in history. Countless numbers die of AIDS every week. Our prisons are overflowing. War has taken a new and sinister turn. Today terrorists walk among us, nameless, faceless men that are willing to kill themselves and innocent civilians for yet another cause. On an even larger scale, the other side of our technological advances has resulted in our world being threatened with a nightmarish catastrophe of our own making.

We can cry "peace and safety" for short periods of time until the next megalomaniac rises on the world stage with greed, lust, and the desire for power and control in his heart. Until the next serial killer leaves a trail of blood behind him. Then we are back to square one.

While there is little doubt that an incalculable number of people have (and do) battle tirelessly to fight for basic human rights, all their efforts are akin to a man trying to stem the leak in the dyke with his fingers... He only has ten fingers, but the dyke springs new holes every minute.

Why is this?

Simply because technology and human courts can do nothing to alter the heart of man. Modern spirituality's insistence that we are spiritual beings whose purpose is to awaken to our true nature is a problem in itself, because much of humanity's 'true nature' is more than a little scary. Think about it for a moment, natural disasters aside, virtually all the problems of the world spring from the hatred, greed, or lust in the human heart. All of humanity's economic and social problems find their origin in the human soul. In Analysis Of Our Real Problem, Dick Tripp, an Anglican minister in New Zealand (cited earlier) writes...

    "What is the greatest problem we face? The Buddhist would say that it is our suffering, and Buddhist teaching is primarily a response to this. The Bible does have a great deal to say about suffering. However, it tells us that we have a greater problem still, the problem of our wrongdoing. The common word for this in the Bible is 'sin'. Indeed, it is sin which is one of the major causes of our suffering". [01]

And God is going to do something about it. And, no natural disasters are not God's judgment on a sinful people. Not yet anyway. As an aside, the question of how tragedies that derive from natural phenomena can be reconciled with a good God is a far more involved topic than many are aware of. I suggest you read Natural Disasters and a Benevolent God?


The Wrath of God... Against Sin
Over and over again, the Bible emphasizes the point that God is good to those who trust and follow Him, and terrible to those who do not. Both Testaments emphasize the reality and terror of God's wrath. From cover to cover, the Bible has shown that He is also a God of great wrath who will bring a final and terrible judgment down on sinners and evildoers. The unleashing of His wrath will also bring an end to this world, as we know it but, after this horrendous period, God will descend to earth to establish His kingdom. (And that is the extremely abbreviated version... See End of The Age)

But let us be absolutely clear about one thing... when the Bible speaks of the wrath of God, it is not speaking of an emotion similar to the one we think of when we talk man’s anger. The wrath of God is completely different inasmuch as He doesn't just fly off the handle, He doesn't blow a fuse, rant and rave, yell, say foolish things, or put His fist through a wall. His wrath is a measured response to one thing, and one thing only... sin[Also See The Wrath of God]

Note: The very word 'sin' means missing the mark, which in the Bible means the absolute standard set by God. So the question is not whether I'm a 'Mother Teresa', or a 'Ted Bundy', but whether I have fallen short of God's standard, and have no possibility of being saved from the death penalty. [See What Is Sin?]

The God of the Bible is not exactly concerned with rituals. In fact, as said by more than one of the Old Testament prophet, He actually hates prescribed ceremonies if they are unaccompanied by justice and righteousness. He asks people to practice kindness and compassion, administer true justice, defend, protect, and take care of those who cannot do it for themselves, avoid bitterness and anger, and speak the truth. The things that people do which God hates, and which will cause His wrath to rain down on them, are violence, injustice, murder, malice, lies and slander, oppression, robbery, evil and unrighteousness.

And, if there is something wrong with that, I would certainly like to know what it is.


Moral Absolutes
And yes, there are many, many people who believe that everyone has the right to define 'right' and 'wrong' for themselves shaped perhaps by the traditions, customs and practices of their culture and/or their own convictions. Something is wrong only if the person concerned thinks or feels it is wrong. Unfortunately, like the 'all paths led to the same god' bit, they have taken this position without really thinking it through. Let me ask them a question straight out of a terrible situation that has arisen in the Middle East.... ISIS. The question is whether or not you believe that, regardless of what the members of ISIS think and believe, they have to be stopped from slaughtering people.

Is there a single sane person in this world who will not answer this question in the affirmative? 

Which means there are moral absolutes. You don't go around killing people, regardless of your ideology. Nor do you molest or abuse children (or any one else), hack people's identities, or steal from shops.

However, whether you believe it or not, whether you choose to live by it or not, the final decision as to what is right and wrong is in the hands of the God of the Universe and, no matter how much we kick and scream, nothing is going to change that.

What we really need to do is understand His point of view but, in order to do that, we need to take a few minutes to envision...


A World Without Sin.

Let us visualize what our lives would be, or would have been, like without transgression of God's laws. How liberating would it be to never have to worry about the safety of our children, and never have to lock the doors to our homes or cars. A young woman could walk home in the late evening and know she would get there safely. Pornography would not exist. There would have been no Enron and no Watergate. What would it be like if politicians and used car salesmen told nothing but the truth? Children would be raised in the security of two parents who are committed to one another.

While there is little doubt that some crimes arise out of need and desperation, the vast amounts of funds we would save on our police force, judiciary, armed forces, jails, and related organizations would ensure that no one would be in want. Are we getting the picture yet?

Perhaps the Bible has a point after all.

However, perhaps the Bible seems too harsh when it says that all sin merits the death sentence. After all, how can a tiny infraction deserve death? Lets look at it this way... Where does one draw the line between a 'big' sin and a 'small' one? If I as a 'friend' of yours, walked away with a paper clip from your desk you probably would not consider it theft. If you thought about it at all, you would probably conclude that I needed a paper clip for some reason and dismiss it. If I took a quarter from your desk, you would assume I was probably short one coin for the vending machine in the hall and never give it a second thought. If I walked away with a ten-dollar bill you would, in all likelihood get very uneasy, and wonder if your friend was a thief but, due to the smallness of the amount, you may just look the other way. However, your reaction would grow in direct proportion to the value of the object.... if I walked off with $100 you would probably jump up and down.

So where shall we draw the line between a paper clip and a hundred dollar bill? At a penny? A dime? A fiver? And how much are you willing to bet that, since individuals and cultures across the globe have different standards, if asked, ten people would give ten different answers. So whose standard shall we judge by? (Also, how much more would you be willing to bet that (sooner rather than later) some one would decide the criminal was 'dysfunctional' and should see a psychologist instead of paying for the crime)

God made it simple. He set the standard... He said 'no sin'.


Each of Us Is The Problem
There is no doubt that most religions have their own version of a moral code. Over and above which, most human beings have an in-built sense of right and wrong. The problem is that none of us fully lives up to what we believe. As the Old Testament prophet so succinctly expressed it... "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).

We do not have to look at the Hitlers or Pol Pots of this world to prove what is being said here. Anyone who takes a long, hard, and honest look at themselves will discover that they are very much part of the problem. Have you ever taken, or even coveted, something that wasn't yours. Have you ever slept with someone that wasn't your spouse, or even thought about it (Matthew 5:28)? Have you lied, harbored evil thoughts towards someone, or cheated them in any way? Have you scorned or despised someone less fortunate than yourself? Have you been less than kind or generous to the needy?

As Dr. Philip G. Ryken, eighth and current president of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, asks

    Have you ever taken a serious look at what is inside you? Have you done one thing today entirely for the benefit of another human being, without any thought of your advantage? Isn't it true that your whole approach to life is essentially selfish, that you spend most of your time thinking about your own food, clothes, music, work, and entertainment?... [02]

Think of it this way... If a person commits one small sin a day for fifty years of their adult life, it totals 18,250 sins over a span of fifty years. And note, I am not talking about rape and murder, just the so called "small sins". Lies, cheating, dishonesty, greed, selfish 'me first' attitudes etc. etc. etc. In other words.... the lack of righteousness and goodness.

Dr. Ryken goes on to so rightly say... (Emphasis Added)

    The mortal failure of the religions of the world--Christianity excepted--is that they do not take sin seriously enough. Other religions teach that people can become better on their own. Somehow, someway, they can work their own way back to God. People can observe the eight fold path which leads to nirvana, or follow the five pillars of Islam, or become one with the universe, or offer good deeds to be accepted before God. Yet Christianity insists that everyone is a sinner through and through. Paul puts it like this: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). [03]

And I certainly understand the person who protests that "it was only a paper clip". However, God has set the standard, simply because (think about it for a moment) a perfect world cannot exist as long as sin does. If one person commits a crime, we are pretty much back to square one. So the Bible is not being melodramatic, not particularly harsh, when it so emphatically states... You sin, you don't get to be part of His kingdom. In other words... you die!

Whether or not your church preaches it, whether or not you know very much about it, whether or not you choose to bury your head in the sand and pretend that God cannot possibly render judgment on this planet, the wrath of God is real, and when He unleashes it on this planet, it will be, by far, the most terrible time in human history.

    "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 NASB)

    Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. (Revelation 22:14-15 NASB)

And... it is very near at hand.

If you are pinning your hopes on a God who will forgive sin and injustice without any form of punishment whatsoever, you have a very large problem. God is not, as some have chosen to believe, a kindly old gentleman in the sky that wouldn't say 'boo' to a goose. [For Details See The Wrath of God]. Look at it this way....

If God forgave sin and injustice without any form of punishment whatsoever, He would neither be a holy, nor a just God.

And He is both.


The Mercy and Love of God
The message of the Bible is, initially, unbelievably good... we can all live in a perfect world here on earth, in bodies that will neither age nor deteriorate. In fact, the heart of Jesus' preaching was the good news that the kingdom of God was on its way, and that we could be part of it.

It then throws a spanner in the works by saying that sinful people cannot get there.

After which it hits rock bottom when it tells us that no matter how well we live, we cannot live up to God's standard of holiness (no sin period), and we are all sinners who are under the death penalty which is God's decreed punishment for any sin. Again, it is vital to remember that even we demand justice for the victims of crime, the only difference being God's punishment is more severe. However, not only is our God a God of justice, but He is also a God of great kindness and mercy, seen by the fact that He sent His own Son to pay the price of our sin, i.e. to be put to death in our place. In other words...

God has released us from the demands of eternal justice on the basis that someone else paid our fine...

In the most momentous event in human history, Jesus Christ saved us from the death penalty by offering Himself in our place. Sent by the Father, Jesus came to offer all those who choose to put their trust in, and follow, Him safety from the wrath of the Father Himself. If that sounds a little odd to you, look at it this way.

    God Himself said the penalty of sin is death.

    Perfect judgment means He doesn't break His own laws.

    Infinite love means He has given us the opportunity to escape the death penalty by sending His own Son to die in our place.

He offers us the gift of eternal life. And, in one of the best known, and best loved, verses in the Bible, He has told us how to avail of that gift... "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NASB). Which, by implication, says that those who do not believe in Him, will perish.

The message and the hope revolve around Jesus. If, for example, you took Buddha out of Buddhism, Mohammed out of Islam, and Guru Nanak out of Sikhism, but could still access their teachings, little or nothing would change. But if you were to take Christ out of Christianity, there would be nothing left, but our destruction.

All other religions in the world trust, to some degree, in human effort for salvation. Christianity alone teaches that we cannot meet God's demands, and if Christianity is true, it is not "intolerant" to tell our fellow human beings that it is folly to trust in their own efforts to get to heaven. Much to the contrary it is the kindest thing we can do for them.


Picking And Choosing Will Cost Us... Plenty
But here is something that I find both very interesting and indicative of how people can see and hear just what they want to see and hear, and how anything that disagrees with their world view is simply discarded or ignored. Regardless of religion or creed, many non-Christians consider Jesus a "great man"... an amazing philosopher, one of the most 'enlightened' beings to ever walk the planet, a truly good man, a prophet etc. etc. etc. Over and over again, they speak about how He not only preached love, but commanded us to love one another.

And where do they get all this about Jesus?

The ONLY source for ANY information about Jesus' teachings is the Bible. Yet, this same Bible has Jesus Himself saying "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me". (John 14:6 Emphasis Added). But since that particular statement of His doesn't fit into their way of thinking, it is relegated to the dust heap.

And for those that happen to believe that everyone, or at least most people, will get to Heaven.. He also said... [All Emphasis Added]

    "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18 NASB)

    "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36 NASB)

And, what is worse, people seem to go their merry way, apparently quite comfortable with this kind of picking and choosing. Which calls to mind something Einstein is reputed to have said, Only two things are infinite... the universe and human stupidity, and he wasn't sure of the former.

And, by the way, those who believe that Jesus only came to preach love and unity should also read Luke 12:51-53, which has Him saying... "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. "They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (NASB)


But Do We Really Need Jesus?... Maybe Not, Since There Is Another Way to God
And before you jump down my throat, I would like to point you to the fact that Jesus Himself indicated that this was possible. The nineteenth chapter of the gospel of Matthew relates the story of a rich young man who came to Jesus and asked Him what he had to do to obtain eternal life. Jesus' answer was very explicit. He did not tell the man to believe in Him, but simply told him to "keep the commandments" if he wished to "enter into life". (Vs. 17)

At which, the young man told Jesus that he had kept all the mentioned commandments, and then asked what he was still lacking (he had apparently not noticed that Jesus had listed all but one of the commandments. The one Jesus left out was about greed, or not coveting any of our neighbor's possessions). The Savior then turned the man's attention to this last commandment, telling him

    "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:21-24 NASB)

The point of this exercise was very clear... to get the rich man to see his own weakness. Jesus knew that he loved money and possessions and was quite unwilling to let them go, and was simply showing him that it was impossible to keep all the commandments, without stumbling over a single one. As Jesus' said in verse 17... " if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." Which means, in order to live, you have to keep ALL of God's laws... ALL of the time. Something that no one can do.

That His disciples understood the ramifications is obvious from their question...  "Who then can be saved?"

If you are confident that you have never sinned against any of God's laws then you certainly do not need Jesus. He came to save sinners, not the righteous.

However, we need to also remember that....


The Kingdom Might Be An Gift of God, Given Without Any Merit on Our Part, But It Doesn't Come Without Cost.
From the very outset Jesus made it clear that He did not want on-lookers, casual followers, or even admirers. He wanted dedicated disciples, who were aware that discipleship came at a very high price. He did not want anyone to commit themselves to a course they would never complete. He gave us more than one illustration to show how important it is to count the cost before embarking on the difficult road of Christian discipleship, because the consequences of not doing so are far more serious than we realize. Sadly, as the Rev. Dick Tripp says,

    it is possible to adopt Christian beliefs, seek to live by Christian standards, take part in Christian religious observances, and still not be really Christian! [04]

We are usually inclined to interpret the English word believe as that something we think is true. However, this is not how the Bible uses it. Biblical "belief" means obedience to God's commandments. We will eventually be judged according to our deeds, because what we do is clear evidence of what we really believe.

    "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. (Matthew 7:21 NASB)

    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB)

Obedience? Obedience to what?

What demands does our Lord make of us? Is His idea of obedience some kind of intolerable military regime, or does His kingdom resemble one of the more disciplined boarding schools with their rigid adherence to rules and procedures, all rigorously enforced on a daily basis? In other words, will there be any pleasure or enjoyment left in life?

Be assured that God is not a celestial version of the consummate killjoy. In fact, Jesus told us to come to Him, for His burden was "light". Aside from loving the brethren, about the only command that is repeated over and over again, in different words in the New Testament is to stay away from sin. For example..  "abstain from wickedness." (2 Timothy 2:19), and from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Dwell on whatever is right, pure, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8). In other words to be holy. 

Why?

Because a perfect world cannot exist if its inhabitants are sinners... which takes us in a complete, and very logical circle.

And yes, living a righteous, sin-free, life it is not exactly the easiest thing to do... in fact it is virtually impossible. Luckily, He did not leave us without help. However, if you have come this far, then I strongly advise you go on to read the Biblical meaning of Sin, Repentance, the two part article on Salvation, and being Born Again.  (The Bible says "Ye Must Be Born Again." [John 3:7], simply because human nature has to be changed to make it fit for the kingdom, because without that transformation there will never be serenity, security, or harmony in the world, amply proved by the six thousand years of man's history).

Which brings me to one question you really should ask yourself...


Why Would Anyone In Their Right Mind Invent The God of The Bible?
Atheists commonly claim that humans invented God to satisfy some of their deepest needs and fears. And certainly, it is quite possible, probable even, that if God did not exist, people might find it necessary, or just plain comforting, to invent him. After all the idea of a 'superior being' is useful for any number of reasons... such as to add a layer of depth to life, to hope rather than despair, to codify morality and behavior, to find an escape from the complexities of the world, to share in rituals that help strengthen community bonds, to explain things we have no rational explanation for, and even to have someone to blame for everything that goes wrong in our lives.

However, who in the world would be quite dumb enough to invent the God of the Bible?

A God who is so holy that no human can stand before Him. Worse, He not only demands we be as holy as He is, but even the most moral of human beings are not righteous enough to escape His death sentence. As pastor Greg Koukl so aptly says,

    If I were inclined to invent a religion and a god, the God of the Bible is the very last God I would ever invent. I rather like the pantheistic god myself, the monistic god of eastern religions. Eastern religions are high on individual freedom and low on personal responsibility. I like the notion that god is in all of us and we are god, and we are a law to ourselves. Life would be a lot easier if that were the case.

    I certainly would not invent a holy God whose perfect moral character becomes the absolute law of the universe. He is utterly demanding, encroaching on every corner of our life. Who would invent a God like that? That isn't the kind of God that would make me feel more comfortable. That God makes me feel uncomfortable because His demand is so much greater than my ability to deliver. [05]

The fear of death alone would probably be enough reason to invent god. However, in this case, why would anyone invent a God that has His arrow of justice pointed squarely and unwaveringly at you. A God that warns that being more morally upright than most other people is not sufficient to escape His punishment, and that you will die, not once, but twice... the second time after you face His judgment.


Summary and Conclusion
In winding up an article on The Spiritual Personality, Behavioral Neuroscientist, Todd Murphy (cited earlier) says he prefers to

     "support spiritual people in their beliefs", because although he "might be right" in his views, "spirituality is one area of human experience where being right doesn't really count for much". [06]

I do not know how more wrong someone can be.

What we believe is a matter of life and death.

God has provided the way for us to be saved from the consequences of sin, but few have heeded the call. and we only have a limited time to respond. When that time is done, He will descend once more onto the earth... sword in hand. He will destroy and then rebuild. At that time the one question we will not be able to ask Him is "Why didn't You tell us? Why didn't You give us any warning?"

He has!

The Bible is very clear that we all have a choice to make in this life - the most important choice we will ever make. The doors are still open but they won't be for long.

    "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31 NASB)

If, in the end, there is no God and the Bible is simply a book of fairy tales, I have lost nothing. I will, like everyone else, be buried and soon forgotten. On the other hand, if you are wrong, in the not so distant future you are going to have to stand before a God who sent His Son to die for your sins, and you are going to have to explain why you did not accept His unbelievable sacrifice. You are going to have to explain why you chose other gods, who did nothing for you, and offered you nothing but long and complicated discourses on how "good" they are, without doing the first thing to show it.

And there is warning to those who did not believe the truth... they will be judged and perish.

    "Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.  (24)  "Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;  (25)  And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; (26) I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, (27) When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.  (28)  "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,  (29)  Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD.  (30) "They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof.  (31)  "So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. (32) "For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.  (33)  "But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil." (Proverbs 1:23-33 NASB)

    In his letter to the Romans, Paul said that the wrath of God was directed "from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18).

    and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 NASB)

    For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26 NASB)

Finally...


Christians Need to Stop Over-Simplifying The Gospel
It is not a question of 'believe in Jesus or go to hell' scenario as so many Christians put it, without any further explanation. This may be true to some extent (hell as most Christians understand it... does not exist DETAILS), but is an over-simplification of the issue.

Either the vast majority of people deny that God exists at all, or deny that the God of the Bible is the Sovereign God of the universe. This in spite of the fact that there is ample evidence for both. Instead, they follow other false gods and spiritual paths that are based on unsubstantiated claims made by mere people, or they come up with ridiculous and far fetched theories for the universe and everything in it. Therefore, the question is why in the world should God allow people who willfully deny Him of His rightful place into His kingdom. Especially since, these people would have exactly the same nature as they did in this world and be just as sinful as they are now. It wouldn't take very long for "heaven" to deteriorate into the same mess we are presently faced with.

The kingdom of heaven can only be populated by people who have chosen to trust that Jesus will do what He promised  ie. save them from the wrath of the Father, and have chosen to acknowledge Him as Lord. As a result they have been 'born again, adopted as "sons" by God and given the gift of God's Holy Spirit, which enables them to fight temptation in the here and now. And, while they might not be perfect in the here and now, as God's children, they will live in His coming kingdom.


Continue on to Part 15: Who Is and Isn’t A Christian
Christianity is rooted in, and inseparable from, the Scriptures. Everything a Christian knows about God, everything he believes and practices, is based not on human knowledge, insight, or experience, but rests solely on God's word to man, recorded in the Scriptures. Therefore, any group that appears to be Christian, but significantly, and consistently, deviates from what the Scriptures teach concerning the key doctrines of the Christian faith, cannot possibly be genuinely Christian. CLICK HERE

 

Endnotes (Chapter 14)

[01] Dick Tripp. Exploring Christianity. The analysis of our real problem. http://www.christianity.co.nz/religon4.htm

[02] Dr. Philip G. Ryken. How Can Jesus Be the Only Way?
http://solochristo.com/theology/Salvation/PhilipRyken_HowCanJesusBetheOnlyWay.html

[03] ibid.

[04] Dick Tripp. Exploring Christianity. The kind of commitment it asks of its members. http://www.christianity.co.nz/religon8.htm

[05] Greg Koukl. Religious Stew. Stand to Reason Ministries.. www.str.org/articles/religious-stew#.U6iTGdLn9cY

[06] Todd Murphy. The Spiritual Personality http://www.shaktitechnology.com/traits.htm

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