Are You Alarmed Yet?! (Pt. 1)

I had the pleasure of going to an apologetics conference this weekend. (One of the blessings of living in a country that originally advocates religious freedom.) I’ve also been doing a lot of apologetics work in my speech club, so I’ve spent a good deal of time (I could probably safely say that I’ve spent quite a few hours over the past few months now) in researching what I believe. All of that to say, I’ve discovered something very alarming about what I believe, and that is this:

I don’t know why I believe what I believe.

There, I said it. No Christian blogger is supposed to say that, right? I mean, how could I admit to such a thing? The fact is, I profess to be a Christian. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for my sins, redeemed and reconciled me, etc., etc., but honestly, how much of the details to these things do I know? Am I just simply believing what I’ve been told? The horrendous fact is that I have. It’s true that I do know many reasons for why I believe what I believe. I’m not completely ignorant. But if I were to get into a conversation with an adamant atheist tonight, I’m not sure how well I’d be able to persuade them that Christianity is true. I’m pretty ignorant about the “why” of some key aspects of my faith. And more than likely, you are too.

We take our faith for granted. We’re willing to accept so much. Of course, I’m sure you and I have both done a considerable amount of research regarding certain aspects of our faith. I’ve been raised to think analytically (even skeptically) and to think things through, so I wouldn’t be quick to admit that I don’t know the details to what I believe.

It’s not that we don’t know what we believe. We do. It’s that we don’t know why we believe it.

That’s why I want to take a minute in this post and ask you to answer some questions. These are real questions we will face when talking about our faith with others – I didn’t make these up. Take a few minutes (or an hour…) and humor me. Don’t pull out your concordance. Don’t pull out your Bible. Don’t whip out Wikipedia or Google. Answer these questions with the knowledge you already have in your head, as a comment below. And see what observations you’ve made when you’re done.

 

  • Is the Old Testament a reliable historical document?
  • Are Scriptures and science in conflict?
  • How would you respond to the statement, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere”?
  • What evidence is there for the resurrection of Jesus?
  • Why did Jesus have to die to provide salvation for men?
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3 Replies to “Are You Alarmed Yet?! (Pt. 1)”

  1. I’ll take number 5, “Why did Jesus have to die to provide Salvation for men?”
    This isn’t a *very* complicated one to learn the answer to, but is a complicated one to explain. I’m going to try to break it down into four small parts: man’s fall, the result, Jesus’ death, and *it’s* result.

    1.) Man’s Fall
    While I’ve covered this more at my blog (https://amessageforthemessenger.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/bad-things-part-i/) and will cover it more in the future, I’m going to try to be real brief.
    Man fell in Genesis 3, due to the decision Eve made to eat the fruit. The result of that one action brought sin to all mankind. I’m honestly not sure what the results of that action alone might have been, but then, Eve (then referred to as “the woman”) persuaded her husband, Adam, to eat the fruit also. Why was the eating of a fruit important?
    Because God had forbidden the tasting, let alone *touching* of the fruit of the tree of life or the tree of good and evil in the center of the garden in chapter 2 of Genesis. Adam and Eve broke the commands of God for both commands. In technical terms, “sin” is breaking God’s law. Sin isn’t really used anymore except in religion terminology, but it used to be used in other instances. Disobedience to God is a sin. They clearly disobeyed God. But what is the punishment? Simply committing sin can’t be the punishment; there has to be some result from committing the sin.

    2.) The Result
    Romans 6 says “For the wages of sin is death…”
    The result of mankind disobeying God’s commands is death. Kind of serious, right? Yes, but just.
    Think about the medieval times: the most important thing then was status. You always wanted to have the most land, the most money, and the most resources. Another big “thing” to have was a status in the church. So, as a penalty for committing a crime, you were excommunicated from the church; that is, you were kicked out. This is often what the popes did to people like John Huss, who taught that the popes should not be the head in the church.
    So the result for committing sin, status wise, was very serious as well. But death is a lot more serious, right?
    But Satan was able to deceive Eve. He said she wouldn’t die, and guess what? She didn’t! She lived to have several sons (a great achievement of that day), and probably lived a good rest of her life. She probably doubted that she would ever die. But we still haven’t covered Jesus’ death, and we have to do that before we make any more of a conclusion.

    3.) Jesus’ Death
    Jesus was sent to earth with one mission: death. He knew that (in His human form) from the time He was born to the time He ascended into Heaven. But that doesn’t mean that He *wanted* to die. Jesus prayed that if it was His (God’s) will, that He would remove the “cup”, that is, the blood, representing the Crucifixion, from Him. But if He wanted to carry out His will, to do so freely. There’s a key statement that Jesus said that I want to use to discuss the next and the last topic, but first I want to cover something else: Jesus’ foreknowledge. Jesus knew everything that was going to happen. He already knew Judas was to betray Him (and how much He was betrayed for!), He knew the sign that was to be used to symbolize the one to arrest, the amount of times Peter would disown Him, and before when, and He knew that the mob was coming to seize Him. He knew all of this, yet He chose to remain. He could have done exactly what Satan said: turn the rock into bread, jump off the cliff and be saved by angels, or bow to Satan and own all of the land before His eyes. But He chose not to, in order to fulfill prophecies established hundreds of years in advance, given to the prophets by the ultimate foreknowledge of God.
    Jesus fulfilled everything He was sent there for; to fulfill prophecies, but also to fulfill the one mission mentioned at the beginning of this section: death. And before His death, He said the one statement I want to focus on: “It is finished”.

    4.) It’s Result
    What was finished? The eternal separation from God. It’s very clear. After He said those words, the veil separating the priests from the Holy of Holies was torn in half, breaking the barrier between God and man. Jesus accomplished many things in His death: breaking the eternal separation from God, removing all sins from mankind, and giving all mankind an example to live by.

    But I want to answer the question, not just lay down the foundation: why did Jesus have to die in order to take on the sins of the world? Couldn’t He just have said “It is finished” from the top of a mountain, His hands outstretched, and gotten the same result? No.
    Romans 6 says “For the wages of sin is death…”
    Let me ask you something: what was the barrier that was between God and man? Was it the veil? No. It was sin. God was sinless, man was sinful. Literally its meaning: full of sin. So if the wages of sin is death, Jesus couldn’t fully forgive all of the sins of the world without taken on the punishment of those sins. That’s why He died in our – in *your* place, to fully take on the sins as if the sins were His very own. He took on the penalty of your sins so that you could be with God.

    But Jesus didn’t stay defeated. Three days after His overcoming of sin, He officially overcame death, and threw the key to death into the ocean. Death can now hold nobody, as we will soon (I believe) see, for when Christ comes, all the bodies will be raised up, and restored to perfection. And we will be perfect, as God is – sinless, pure, and admirable.

    Is that kinda-sorta-maybe what you were looking for?

    Like

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