The Christ Story

My Pastoral Website: http://www.paulsgospel.org

This is the story of my Lord, my Savior and my Best Friend, Jesus Christ. Perhaps you have heard of Him? Do you know what He stands for? Do you know what He did for us on the Cross?

Backgrounder on God the Father and our Judeo-Christian World View

In order to understand exactly what Christ did for us on the Cross, we need to agree upon certain fundamental facts regarding the Universe around us. (a) That we were Created by the hand of God Almighty ---Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai, Elohim, God the Father of Christ (all names for the same God) --- that we came into being as a result of what God did: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” [Genesis 1:1] (b) That the God of the Old Testament: Yahweh, G-d is the same as God the Father of Christ Jesus of the New Testament, the God of the Bible. (c) That there are no other valid Gods. All other “so-called” Gods other than the God of the Bible are false or nonexistent. "Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." [Joshua 24:23] I would go so far as to say that no religions other than Judaism and Christianity are valid religions because they are not based upon the one and only true God: the God of the Holy Bible. Anyone who denies this fundamental truth, is in danger of the eternal wrath of God: “And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.” [Joshua 24:24-27]

What Judaism lacked, and why it took Christ to be born

Prior to Christ’s birth, the definition of right and wrong, good and bad, good deeds or sinful deeds, and whether someone would cease to exist at the time of their death or be “written into the book of life” was determined by how closely they followed and kept the Law handed down by God to Moses. The only problem with this was that it required absolute perfection and an absolute and strict adherence to the Jewish Law. According to the Talmud there are 613 mitzvot ("commandments") in the Torah. There are 248 positive mitzvot and 365 negative mitzvot given supplemented by seven mitzvot legislated by the rabbis of antiquity. Unfortunately, we are an imperfect people, full of flaws. As someone once said, “To err is human” and that we often “learn from our mistakes.”  Well, under the Law in the Old Testament, there was no room for mistakes; our absolutely powerful God could show us infinite mercy or crush us under his thumb for thinking a sinful thought or for committing a sinful deed. We had nobody to plead to God on our behalf for our iniquities; nobody to take the arrows for us; With the Birth, Death and Resurrection of Christ, if we believe, we have someone to plead on our behalf “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. [Matthew 10:32-33]

Now that we agree on these fundamental facts, let us go on to what Christ did for us on the Cross, and what it means to be a Christian.

Christ as the propitiation for our sin, and substitutionary atonement

God instructed man not to sin. However, very early in his being, man disobeyed God when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree which God instructed them not to eat from. Ever since this time, man has been disobeying God by all sorts of means such as idol worship, breaking of the commandments which God handed down to Moses, as well as turning away from God and engaging in such things as nature and earth-worship, engaging in fornication, sodomy and adultery, alcoholism, debauchery as well as many other sins against our Holy God. These and other sins incur the wrath of our Holy God. The wrath of God which deserves nothing less than death!!! We have all --- each one of us --- at one time or another in our lives --- sinned. We are all sinners. Whether the sin is a big one, being one of the ones described above, or a little one, such as looking at a woman in lust, coveting the neighbor’s Bentley, or speaking a little white lie, the fact is that we are all sinners and have fallen short of the Glory of God. “..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ [Romans 3:23] There is none who has not sinned. None except one --- Christ alone. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." [John 8:7-9]

So while we all deserve death, and there is nothing we could possibly do to appease, ameliorate, pacify or otherwise do to satisfy an angry God except by spending an eternity in hell, something so enormous has been done for us that we have not only been spared the death penalty, but have been granted a promise of life everlasting. That enormous deed was done some Two Thousand years ago when God sent His only son to die on the Cross for our sins at Calvary. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” [Philippians 2:8] Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a  human being (the unique God/man) to be the perfect sacrifice for sin and to make atonement --- propitiation for our sins. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” [Romans 3:24-25] To understand this a little better, imagine that you had committed a capital crime and were sentenced to die. You were blindfolded and tied to a tree, with a firing squad squarely taking aim at you, ready to shoot you to death. Terrified you hear the sergeant shout out, “Ready --- Aim --- “ then silence. In a minute, your blindfold comes off, and when you open your eyes, there is Christ tied to the tree and shot in your place. He has taken the bullet for you. He has died in your place. This, my friends, is what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did on the Cross, for those who believe in Him --- for those who have received Him as Lord of their lives. How can anything compare to this? How can any love equal this? Christ not only paid the penalty for the sins of His generation, but for all generations to come for those who believe in Him.

Dying to sin: Becoming a new creation; Being Born Again

As we have been saved from a certain eternity in hell, we have a responsibility as Christians not to sin, or at least to consciously do our very best not to sin. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins. This does not mean that we can continue sinning. .”...and Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” [John 8:11] When we choose Christ to be our Lord and Savior, we choose to die to sin and to begin a new life. We are figuratively Born Again. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." [John 3:3-7] "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." [2 Cor 5:17]

The meaning of life on earth and eternal life promised to us as believers

Non-theists, atheists and agnostics, as well as those who promote a different world view, often wonder, and have difficulty grasping the meaning and purpose of life because they do not know what happens once our life here on earth ends. We know that our time here on earth is very short and ephemeral. Many a philosopher has contemplated the brevity of life on earth. “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” William Shakespeare. Even the Bible talks about the brevity of life: ”For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." [James 4:14] We as believers do not have to worry about death, as we have been promised eternity as believers in Christ Jesus. It is the promise of life everlasting! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16] “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14] “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” [John 5:24]

Do you know that when God sent the ten plagues to Egypt to change Pharoah's mind and the last plague was to kill the first-born of all people, but the Israelites shed the Blood of a Lamb and painted their homes with it to signify their allegiance with the one True God Yahweh? What happened then? The angel of death did not touch them. To this day the Jews celebrate this on the Passover day. .Similarly when the Son of God Jesus shed His blood on the Cross for us, He prepared the way for us to have Eternal Life through HIM. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb of God who death could not touch. Just the way that death could not touch Him, He made it so that whosoever believes in Him would not die, but have life everlasting through Christ Jesus. When our time on this earth ends, we do not die, but live forever --- have eternal life through Him.

The meaning of Grace

Grace is the unmerited, undeserved saving work of God in Christ Jesus. It is by Grace alone that we are saved. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:8-9]
We cannot earn our salvation. It is given to us freely by the Grace of our merciful God, through faith in Christ Jesus. To illustrate Grace, we can turn to the story of the 8-year old child who does something wrong, but instead of being punished, is shown mercy and is taken out to the movies with his parents. He deserves to be punished, but is instead rewarded by the generous and kind heart of his parents. Grace is something akin to this: we deserve punishment for our sins, but instead, our Father who is in heaven, shows us mercy, and we are given a reward so great, that nothing can ever compare to it!

The significance of the Resurrection of Christ

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after crucifixion. He is the first man to have conquered death. By His resurrection from death, Christ proved that He had power over death, and therefore had the ability to impart eternal life. Apostle Paul put it best when he said: “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. [1Corinthians 15:12-22] In other words, what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden condemned us to eternal death for our sins, but the death and resurrection of Christ on the Cross promises us salvation, and the promise of eternal life!!! “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” [Mark 16:19-20]  From the Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. “ Indeed, Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead so that we may have life everlasting! “It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand — with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” [1 Peter 3:21-22]  We celebrate Easter Sunday: The day of the Resurrection of Christ two days after Good Friday, which is marked as the Day of Crucifixion. They are both very Holy Days in our Christian Holy week.

The Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit

Those just getting their feet wet in Christianity may get confused about the nature of the Trinity: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all God? Does this mean that there are three Gods? How could this be, when the Bible clearly states that there is only one God? Is my right hand a separate being than my left hand? Is my nose a separate being than my face? Clearly not. They are all parts of the same being: me, yet, my right hand could be doing something very different than my left. In the very same way, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three parts of the same Divine Being: The Lord God Almighty. They are co-eternal, co-equal and co-powerful. They are each capable of independent action, but they are all a part of the same Divine Godhead. We believe that there is one God who eternally exists in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. References from scripture to the Trinity include: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" [Matthew 28:19]  and "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all," [2 Corinthians 13:14]

The Holy Communion

We as Christians periodically take Communion, which signifies our belonging to the Body of Christ and in His remembrance until His return. It symbolizes the body and the blood of Christ which was shed for our sake, for the remission of sins as well as to impart life everlasting promised to those that believe in Him. In 1 Corinthians 11, Apostle Paul states: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” [1 Corinthians 11:23-26]

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” [Matthew 26:26-29]

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.[Luke 22:19-20]

The Holy Communion is something which is sacred to us, and we must prepare our hearts and minds before partaking in it. It must not be done casually, irreverently, carelessly or without thought: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.“ [1 Corinthians 11:27-29]

We are Blessed, Honored and Privileged to be able to receive remission of sins through the greatest sacrifice which was ever made for us: the crucifixion of the Son of God. We cannot take this blessing, honor and privilege lightly, for a great price was paid for it on the Cross. We are to humble ourselves, and prepare our hearts and minds to receive, and to partake of the Holy Communion. 

Partaking of the Holy Communion also reinforces to believers in Christ, the gift of life everlasting as promised by our Lord and Savior: “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” [John 6:48-58]

But....what about all those other “religions” out there?

Over the years I have met a lot of people with good intentions who lack a fundamental knowledge of the scriptures who have come up to me and said: Well, I believe in Christ, but I also believe that there are all these other ways to God prescribed by all these other religions which make a claim to know the path to God and to Salvation. How do we as Christians answer such a question? The answer is that while all the other religions may make a claim to their God, the only TRUE God is the one in the Bible, and the ONLY and I mean ONLY way to that TRUE God is through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for our sins. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.[John 14:6] There is no other true way to God but through Christ. He is the ONLY WAY. There is no other Fundamental Truth greater than this.

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” [Exodus 20:1-5.]

“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods. [Joshua 24:14-16]

Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. [Joshua 24:23-27]

Having said all this, must be very frightening to anyone who is not a believer in Jesus. Being a believer in Jesus does not mean that we treat people from other religions badly. Quite the contrary. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:35  Indeed we are called to witness to other people the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone,” Colossians 4:5-6

It is critically important to have wise conduct before outsiders (unbelievers) because the reputation of the gospel depends on you. You may be the only Christian a non-believer comes across. What would they think of you (and of Christianity) if you treated them badly? The world judges Christianity by what it sees in you as a representative of Christ. Are you representing Christianity well, with kindness, holiness, and love for each other? Are you faithful in prayer, and consistent in your thankfulness and reverence for the Lord?

Why is it so difficult to get people from eastern religions to come to faith in Christ?

It is extremely difficult to get people from eastern religions to come to faith in Christ for several different reasons. First, in most eastern cultures, there is no concept of sin. Sin was originally a Jewish concept and so was payment for sin. The propitiation of sin through Jesus is a purely Christian concept. In eastern cultures, as there is no concept of sin, there is no need for someone to pay for those sins. When a problem doesn’t exist, there is no need for a remedy to those problems. Yes, most eastern religions do profess a series of right and wrong actions and there are consequences for wrong actions, but there is no concept anything resembling sin.

Second, the promise of eternal life as promised by Christ to his believers is not unique to Christianity. Eternal life is promised to Jews whose names are “written in the book of life” and most eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation where your soul is reborn into another body in the next life. If you have lived a good and righteous life, you are reborn as a human being with better circumstances in your next life. If you have been a horrible person, you might come back as a bear or a snake or a donkey in your next life --- not a very appealing prospect. Not quite the same as the Christian view of Eternity in Heaven or hell, and not nearly as pleasing knowing you might come back in the next life born as a donkey!

Another barrier is culture and traditions. So many eastern traditions are intertwined with eastern religion that it is difficult to separate the two. Traditions permeate a lot of the eastern cultural scene and with it come religious symbolism and festivities. Every life event, such as births, graduations, weddings, deaths, etc are all celebrated with religious ceremonies hence making it difficult to disentangle religion from culture and hence life in general.

Regardless, it is difficult selling Christianity and the Christian world view to Hindus, Shintos, Buddhists, Jains, Daoists and Muslims.

What about believers who refuse to go to Church?

I have sometimes encountered believers who over the years have fallen out of the habit of going to Church. They make the claim: well, I believe in Christ, but I do not need to go to Church to believe ... I can pray right here at home ... I can commune with my God from home. The answer is yes, you can pray at home and commune with God from home, and you should! However, you should do this in addition to attending regular weekly Church services. The Bible specifically calls for us to (a) gather together as believers and (b) give the first fruits of our produce to the Lord God almighty. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. And having an high priest (Jesus) over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” [Hebrews 10:19-25] We are called to assemble together as a community of believers so that we might encourage each other in the faith, so we might assist each other in our walk of faith in the Lord. We are also called to assemble together so we might learn from the Pastors, Elders, Deacons and others in the Church. We are also instructed to tithe (give a tenth -- at least a tenth) of the first fruits of our produce (at least a tenth of our income) to the Church we call our home church. There are numerous other good reasons to attend Church on a regular basis, however these are two good reasons.

How should we treat those who do not believe in Christ as we do?

As Christians, we cannot live in an isolated world. Everyday we interact with others at the supermarket, at work, at the gym and elsewhere, from other religions, belief systems, cultures, and perhaps even nations. How should we interact with these people? With the knowledge that Him (Jesus) who is within us is greater than he which is in the world. “...because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” [1 John 4:4-6] Yet, with this knowledge comes awesome responsibility. We are called to be lights in this dark world. We are to shine the way to glory and to the truth. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-16] We are also called to go forth and to make disciples of all nations and of all peoples. ”Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:18-20] We cannot therefore reject those around us who do not believe. We can and should reject their disbelief or their belief in some other religion or way of thinking, however, we cannot and should not reject them. The goal must always be to make them see the truth that there is only one way to God: Only one true religion, and only one way to connect with God, and that is through Christ Jesus. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[John 14:6]

Now that you believe, which Church should you attend?

There are so many Denominations to choose from! There are so many Churches out there! Which denomination, or whose doctrine is correct? How to know? Believing the correct doctrine can be important, as the Bible is the authoritative guide to life and those who believe and live according to the Word of God are Blessed richly, not only in this lifetime, but also in the life hereafter with Him.

So, which denominations have the most sound doctrine? The ones that come to mind right away are Catholicism and Mainstream Protestant Bible-believing Churches. The Catholic Church was the original Church. They were responsible for carrying forth the knowledge of Christ and the Bible through the ages. The head of the Catholic Church is the Holy Pope who resides at the Vatican in Rome and is the Spiritual head of the Catholic Church. Now, the term Protestant is used loosely to describe any Church or denomination which came about as a result of Dr. Martin Luther’s split from the mainstream Catholic Church in 1517. On the eve of All Saint's Day, October 31, 1517, Luther posted the ninety-five theses, which he had composed in Latin, on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. It was a day which made history and altered the course of Christianity forever. The Protestant Reformation, brought about by Dr. Martin Luther, John Calvin and others, gave birth to a large number of Bible-believing denominations, which include the Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, the modern Protestant Evangelical Bible Church, the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Pentecostals, the Adventists, and others. The Anglican Church (Church of England) which split from the Catholic Church in 1537 is considered a middle ground between Catholicism and Protestant beliefs. Most of the fundamental Biblical doctrine of these Denominations is sound, and varies slightly one from another. They may have vast differences in how the Church is governed and the Corporate structure, organization, rules  and bylaws of the Church, however their fundamental Biblical doctrine is almost identical.

Denominations which seem to have a slightly different view of the Trinity and interpretation of the fundamental Biblical doctrine are Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) also known as the Mormon Faith. As I do not know much about their faith, I will not pass judgment on the soundness of the doctrine of these denominations, but only say that they are somewhat different from the rest in what they believe in some ways. I am attempting to understand some of these differences and do not completely understand all of the differences myself at this point in time. When I understand the differences, I will list them here.

Now that you have professed faith in Jesus, what will happen?

Welcome to the family of God. You are now considered a child of God. “But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." [John 1:12-13] You are also now considered a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17] Now, this doesn’t mean that life will be all roses after you accept Jesus into your life. However, it does mean that you will walk with God through all things. He will be with you and go before you to clear your path. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will never be the same again. Remember however, that this is a double-edged sword. Becoming a Christian is a big first step to gaining salvation and eternal life, but it also means that you are now held to a much higher moral standard than you were in the past. Also remember that things will not change overnight for you. It will take a very long time (sometime years) before you actually begin to see and experience the fruit of belonging to the Christian family. I was first Baptized in 2009 but did not begin to see any fruit until at least five years later and in some instances, even ten years later. 

Caution: Christianity has the potential to completely wreck your life. You see, true Christian belief will pit you against the world. It is a strange phenomenon. You will suddenly find yourself with the Holy Spirit and at first this will feel as though someone was invading your privacy. Nothing you say or do will be completely private any more. Your right to privacy and liberty will be taken away from you. You will completely lose your right to privacy. Once you are used to this, God may turn you against your own family if they are not Christians. Your dating life may be in shambles. Once you become a Christian, God can and will do things to completely turn your world upside down, sometimes even ruin it. He may even bankrupt you or make you completely alone, isolated and broken in order to test your faith. If you persevere you may be rewarded. He may take your wife away from you or maime your kids as a test. Remember, to Christians, this life here on earth is just preparation for eternity with Him in Heaven. Or you may become fabulously wealthy and rich beyond anything you have experienced in the past, if you believe in the Prosperity Gospel. Everyone’s experience with Christianity is different. A Pastor who is on my Wall of Honor once said: God is not Fair. He does not distribute His generosity evenly among His people. I know this to be true. Some Christians I know keep getting Blessed abundantly with Blessings which pour out in terms of money and favor and wives and homes and kids and riches. Others like me live a very lonely life devoid of the love of a wife or kids, and pray for many years with absolutely nothing resulting from their prayers. Your experience with Christianity will be different and unique, but whatever you do, do not take the step into this faith lightly because it will completely change your life.

   

Grace, the essence of Christianity

The essence of Christianity is Grace. Grace is a term not only used to describe what God bestows upon us, but what we must as Christians show each other. The opposite of Grace is “an eye for an eye” or “tit for tat.” Grace is just the opposite of that. It is showing kindness, compassion and love even when others do not deserve it. It is very easy to react to negative people or negative situations with a bad attitude or a negative reaction. The Bible calls for us to show Grace under these circumstances. We are to be an example to the world of how we are to treat one another. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Notice Jesus does not say “Do to others what they have done to you,” that would be an eye for an eye, a cheek for a cheek mentality. Instead he says “Do to others as you would have them do to you” In other words, show mercy, kindness, forgiveness and compassion. Do not seek revenge. 

Called to Give: Time, Talents and Treasure

The Bible calls on us to give to the Church, and to give generously. We are called upon to give our time, our talents and our treasure to the Church. Our time includes time we spend in ministry, at the Church, at home, in Bible Studies, in prayer and in study of the Holy Bible. Our talents mean our Spiritual Gifts. We are to apply those to the furthering of ministry. Our Treasure means our money. We are called upon to give (tithe) the first ten percent of our income to the Church. We are called to tithe a minimum of ten percent, but I have known people to tithe upto thirty percent of their income to the Church. I began tithing in 2007 and since I began, I have tithed upwards of $160,000 to various Churches and Christian Charities. Each year my tithe adds up to roughly $15,000 or more.

Prayer: A Pillar of our Faith

Prayer is a pillar of our faith. We are called upon to pray unceasingly. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God” Philippians 4:6-7. “Have faith in God, Jesus answered. I tell you the truth. If anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:22-25. As you can see, prayer is a bedrock of our faith. I have known disciples to be prayer novices, or prayer warriors. Some  prayer warriors I have known over the years pray so powerfully, that they are able to move mountains with their prayers. Others like myself, not so much. My prayer life has been sadly lacking over the years --- something I have been working to rectify. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,
 

Forgiveness: Another Pillar of our Faith

As Christians, we are called to forgive others when we are wronged. Jewish law required Jews to forgive each other until three times. There was no forgiveness after being wronged by the same person thrice. Jesus however, put almost no limit on the times we are to forgive each other. “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

In fact the Lord’s prayer also calls us to forgive others. Forgiveness is therefore a very essential and critical part of our faith.

Is my Church Right-Leaning, Neutral or Left-Leaning?

Every Church is either right-leaning, neutral or left-leaning, politically. How can you tell if your Church leans to the right or to the left?

1. Does your Church emphasize social programs benefitting the community at large over programs for it’s own congregation (in other words, is it inward looking or outward looking?) If it is inward looking, it is very likely a right-wing Church; if it is outward-looking, it is very likely a left-wing Church.

2. Does your Church approve of the second amendment right to bear arms? If it does, it is likely a right-wing Church. If it doesn’t, and doesn;t believe that men and women of God should have anything to do with firearms, then it is very likely a left-wing Church.

3. Does your Church support Israel or Palestine in the Middle-East conflict. If it supports Israel, it is likely a ring-wing Church. If it supports Palestine, it is likely a left-wing Church. Conversely, all right-wing Churches support Israel whereas left-wing Churches may or may not support Palestine.

4. Is your Church suburban, small and mostly white? Chances are that it is a right-wing Church. Is your Church large, diverse and urban? Chances are that it is likely a left-wing Church.

5. Does the Senior Pastor at your Church have political affiliations of any sort? (Bill Hybels was spiritual advisor to Bill Clinton) Other Pastors and elders at the same Church had connections with right-wing politicians.) A lot can be determined by what these sort of connections are, but the proportion and mix of these connections at the very top can sometimes determine the leaning of a Church in one direction or another. 

Make no mistake, tithe, like every payment or bill due, has a left-leaning, neutral or right-leaning element, and has the potential to impact your life accordingly. The Church is an organization just like any other organization, and it is not exempt from the influences of politics. In fact, the Church has the potential to be a bigger political animal than any Corporate or Governmental entity you may have witnessed. Disunity, disarray, warmongering between rival denominations and even maligning members of rival Churches is not only acceptable practice at most Churches, it is even encouraged. I am a first-hand witness to this. Oh will Jesus be upset when He returns and finds out what mankind has done with His Churches. The modern-day Church, is a human creation, and thus fallible and while a lot of things have gone wrong with it, it is still our last best hope of reaching out to the fallen world to bring them into the fold of God for the sakes of their eternal salvation.

Christianity and Singles

Christianity is really a religion best suited for married couples, and anyone who is not currently in a traditional marriage (singles, divorcees, widows and widowers) can feel very out of place at a Church. Most services at Churches are centered around married couples because they typically comprise a very large percentage of Church congregations. Generally singles, widows and widowers, and newly divorced people can feel very unwelcome, alienated and disenfranchised at Churches if the Church is not careful to make them feel welcome. Certain Churches and Pastors do this better than others. I have been to Churches which were very welcoming to singles, and others which were downright hostile to single people.

Churches can also have vastly different views on dating. I have been to Churches which downright discourage dating and have taken draconian steps to separate dating couples. Their views and actions towards dating singles have been extremely cruel, evil, discouraging, draconian, and generally dictatorially anti-libertarian. If you ever experience the cruelty and wrath of one or more of these Churches or Pastors, you will be emotionally scarred for life, as I have been. They will have to answer to God for their unloving ways, not to me. There are several people over the course of my years as a Christian single who were bitterly cruel to me and have scarred me for life. I have forgiven them all, but will God forgive them? 

Other Churches I have been to, have encouraged dating among singles, highlighting singles events, even hosting singles parties around Valentines Day, and encouraging singles to date and even marry, not just among their own congregation, but also throughout the Church community. These Churches and Pastors need to get a special round of applause for their efforts in understanding, recognizing and catering to the needs of singles at their Churches. These Churches and Pastors will always have a special place in my heart. Bravo, and well done!       

Regardless, if as a Christian you attempt to date outside the Christian community, or someone marked by the Church as being outside the Christian community, you will face severe negative repercussions. Keep this in mind.  

Forgiveness of Sins

As mentioned above, the forgiveness of others, as well as the forgiveness of sins is a pillar of our faith. However, remember that we are Christians who live in the world and the world doesn’t always respect Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, or communion for the same purpose, for that matter. The Lord may forgive and forget our sins, but sometimes the world gets a hold of it and makes us feel bad about something we may have done many years earlier.

The LORD forgives us of our sins:

“For I will forgive their iniquities and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 
“I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
“Then he adds, I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” Hebrews 10:17
“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

In Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7
“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
 

The truth is that “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” Romans 3:23-25

As Christians we remember this. We remember how much we have been forgiven by God for our own sins, and therefore it is very easy for us to forgive others. It is not so easy for the world to forgive us, or others. They hold onto resentment, bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. As they say, unforgiveness is a cancer that can eat you alive from within.

Reminder of Sins:

The LORD not only forgives us our sins, but forgets them altogether. On the other hand, Satan keeps reminds us of our sins in order for us to trip and fall again. Even though it may be something we may have left many years behind us in our past, Satan keeps reminding us over and over and over again because he doesn’t want Christians to succeed. In Christian Circles, Satan is known as “The great accuser”
Do I believe there is such a being as Satan? Absolutely. Do I believe that he tries to trip us up? Yes, absolutely.

Do you get the feeling every day that certain people are working behind the scenes to pull you up? To give you a job? To promote you? To make your business flourish? To increase your health, wealth and happiness? Those are the people of God. Do you also get the sense every day that there are people who are working behind the scenes to pull you down? These are the people that Satan has appointed to do his bidding.

How can we fight off Satan? Read the Word of God and mediate on the promises of God in the Bible every day.

Will my life as a Christian be easier or more difficult?

The life of a Christian is definitely much tougher than the life of a non-Christian. Most Christians follow a certain code of ethics and standards, live by certain morals, whereas the world does not. It is much easier to lapse into the ways of the world. As an American and a Christian, I have been denied jobs that were given to people from other nationalities and religions. I have also seen a lot of non-Christians gain tremendous amounts of wealth while some genuine, sincere, God-loving and God-fearing Christians not do so well financially. So don’t think that Christianity will solve all your problems here on this earth, because it may not. On the other hand, you may be discriminated against because you are a Christian. Jesus said: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours." John 15:18-20

Once you become Baptized and become a Christian, I can offer you firsthand knowledge of this:

1. The world will harass you and persecute you. Your patience will be tested beyond your limits to endure it.
2. The world will crave to find fault with you.
3. The world will try to drag your sins and any wrongdoing you may have committed prior to Baptism out into the open and try to shame you. Remember, the world is controlled by Satan. (See section above titled Reminder of Sins)
4. The world will essentially try to bring you down every chance they get.
5. The world will shame you even more if some of your closest friends or relatives are not Christian, trying to impute their sin, wrongdoing and values on you.
6. The world will take advantage of the fact that you have a pure heart and try to fool you into making unwise decisions in a hurry or to trap you in no-win situations. You will pray for guidance from God in Jesus’ name, but none will be provided. In these circumstances you will have to walk by faith alone with the confidence that Jesus said he will never leave us or forsake us. 
7. The world will try to drag you kicking and screaming backwards in time. (One of Satan’s oldest tricks to try to destroy you) You’ll figure this out when it happens to you. It is not a joyous occurrence when it happens to you. You will want to cry and weep and mourn but nobody will listen to you. You will wish you had died before all of this happened, and you will want to know the source --- who is doing this to me?
It is none other than Satan himself. If you had a tough or a bad childhood that you don’t particularly care to remember, Satan will drag you through it, just to make you miserable. If you had a painful separation or divorce or death of a spouse that you are trying to put behind you, Satan will drag you through it. If you had a terrible illness you overcame, and don’t want to think about it, Satan will drag you through it. Many questions will come to your mind during this ordeal: Where is God through all of this? Why is He not stepping in and protecting me through all of this? Is he not strong enough to withstand the assault of Satan? The answer my friends, is that He is. Not only is He strong enough to withstand the arrows of the enemy, he is more than able to protect you. He will give you the strength to withstand the arrows of the enemy. Remember, the enemy cannot take anything away from you,  because you have the armor of God on. Remember, you will always win the battle, and the war, because Jesus won it on the Cross for us.

Backdragging through time is SATAN’s work. It is not God’s work...!!!

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19

Regardless, it is not your place nor mine to keep score or keep count. Our place is to remain humble, remain true, remain faithful and remain loyal to the One True God of the Universe and His Son Jesus Christ, and leave the rest to Him. He promises to be our provider. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory,that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:7-8 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-30

...but, how should I make my desires known to God? How do I communicate with God?

There are many ways to communicate with God. The most direct way is through prayer. I could pen 60+ verses in the Bible regarding the necessity of prayer, I am penning just a few here: “Have faith in God, Jesus answered. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-24

...but, now that I am a believer, I am not a part of the “in” group. I am no longer considered a “cool” guy or gal.

Remember, you are a cool guy or gal to Jesus. You are in the ultimate “in” circle and no human being has the power to throw you out of it. Not your parents, not your boss, not your co-workers, not your siblings, not your children, not your true friends and neither your false friends or enemies.

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:9-13    

That is correct folks, once we believe in him, are Baptized and born again, we are the Children of God, and the brother of Christ Jesus, his Son, and nothing and nobody can take that away from you. .

“The Holy Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are God’s children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. If indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:16-17

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

...but, why can’t I keep all my friends after my conversion?

This is going to be one of the toughest things which is going to be asked of you as a believer. Sometimes, God will remove certain people from your life, supposedly for your protection. It may not seem fair or reasonable or even a loving thing to do. However, I have been told that it is for our benefit. I have still not been able to fathom why this is necessary, but it may happen to you. I have lost dozens of friends since I was Baptized over ten years ago. I have even lost women I loved dearly because God deemed it fit to take them away from me. In my experience, when God asks you to give something or someone up, he generally replaces it with something or someone much better for you over the long run. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 When you are called to make a sacrifice for God, remember what Abraham did with his only son (Genesis 22:1-16) You will be well rewarded for it. Obedience is a small price to pay for eternity in Heaven with the Lord.

Is it from God or is it from man?

One of the toughest things to come to grasp with is the question of whether something is from God or from people supposedly acting on God’s behalf (ie. Pastors etc, who are sometimes as fallible as the common man) acting on behalf of God. This is why it is so important to (a) Know your Bible and (b) question everything. If you know your Bible, you will know that anything which doesn’t jive with the Word of God is not from God. It is from fallible men wearing Godly robes and therefore may or may not be what God wants you to do. Reading the Word of God will give you the authority to know whether an edict, a nudge or a message is from God or not.

Remember, God gives you freedom while Satan enslaves you. This is why cults (Christian or non-Christian) are often Satanic in nature. They want to hold onto you and not let you escape from their grip. God on the other hand, gives you freedom. If you get the feeling that you are being enslaved, or trapped in a particular location or by a particular group, or by a particular Church, chances are very high that it is from Satan, not from God. A genuine Christian fellowship or Church will never say or imply that you remain with them or else!!! I remember Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek repeatedly saying “The local church is the hope of the world.” He never said attend Willow Creek or else your salvation is doomed!!!

True Friend or Conditional / Superficial Friend?

You’re going to meet a lot of people on this earth as you pass through life. Some are going to be your true friend and some conditional / superficial friends. Here are five litmus tests to determine who is a true friend and who a conditional / superficial friend:

1. A true friend will always treat you with love and respect regardless of their circumstances or your circumstances whereas a conditional or superficial friend will only love you when things are going well for you.
2. A true friend will always put your needs ahead of their own.
3. A true friend will always seek to understand you and try to figure out why you do what you do, and say what you say, instead of jumping to conclusions about you.
4. Do they encourage you in your faith? Do they uplift you, give you courage, boost your confidence and motivate you to achieve even greater heights, or are they downers who pull you down, discourage you, and tell you that you are worthless? The former are true friends while the latter are not.
5. What do they say about you behind your back when you are not listening? A true friend will always protect and defend you, while someone who is not may not always speak well of you. Do they speak well or ill of you?

Are certain foods prohibited to eat in Christianity?

There are certain foods prohibited to eat in Judaism or in Islam or in Hinduism or in Buddhism. Are there certain foods prohibited to eat in Christianity? The answer is a resounding NO. You are permitted to eat whatever your heart desires.

“The next day at about the sixth hour, as the men were approaching the city on their journey, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven open and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, as well as birds of the air. Then a voice said to him: Get up, Peter, kill and eat. No, Lord! Peter answered. I have never eaten anything impured or unclean. The voice spoke to him a second time:Do not call anything impure that God has made clean. This happened three times, and all at once the sheet was taken back up into heaven.” Acts 10:10-17

Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen and understand. A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it.” Matthew 15:10

“Once again Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, All of you, listen to Me and understand: Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him; but the things that come out of a man, these are what defile him. After Jesus had left the crowd and gone into the house, His disciples inquired about the parable. Are you still so dull? He asked. Do you not understand? Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him, because it does not enter his heart, but it goes into the stomach and then is eliminated. (Thus all foods are clean.) He continued: What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him. For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.” Mark 7:14-20

Will what I eat change my race, or my ethnic origin, my denomination, or the group I belong to? Will it negatively impact my standing with God or with Jesus?

Absolutely not. Does eating Pizza or Spaghetti or Lasagna automatically make you an Italian Roman Catholic? No. Does eating French Toast automatically make you a Frenchman? No. Does eating fish and fries (chips) make you an Englishman? No. Does eating Flaming Greek Saganaki or Greek Baklava automatically make you a Greek Orthodox? No. Does eating Polish sausage automatically make you Polish? No. Does eating Sauerkraut or Hot Dogs or German sausage make you Protestant German? No. Does eating Hibachi food or Sushi make you a Japanese or a Shinto? No. Similarly, eating Chinese food doesn’t make you Buddhist or Chinese. Eating Thai food doesn’t make you Buddhist or Thai, eating Indian food doesn’t make you Indian or Hindu, and eating Middle Eastern food doesn’t make you Middle Eastern or Muslim. A Christian is allowed to eat whatever the heck they want without offending God or Jesus or impacting their standing with God.

Will talking on the phone, or visiting my relatives or friends in a different country change my religion, my race, or my ethnic origin, my denomination, or the group I belong to? Will it negatively impact my standing with God or with Jesus?

Absolutely not. In fact we are called to spread the gospel in all the different parts of the world. “And He said to them “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues, they will pick up snakes with their hands, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be made well.” Mark 16:15-18 Notice Jesus does not say that you will be condemned, He says that they will be condemned. Your salvation was guaranteed when you believed upon Jesus. If someone else does not come to faith because you shared the gospel with them and tried to talk them into it but they refused to listen or refused to believe, then it is their doom, not yours.

The Association Fallacy (See Wikipedia: The Association Fallacy)

The definition of Association Fallacy according to Wikipedia is: An association fallacy is an informal inductive fallacy of the hasty-generalization or red-herring type and which asserts, by irrelevant association and often by appeal to emotion, that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another. Two types of association fallacies are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association.So, what does this have to do with Christians? A lot as a matter of fact. While Jesus sees what is in our hearts, the world does not. The world often sees us according to who we associate with. Associate with a good person, and we are granted Honor by Association. Associate with bad people and we are considered bad as well. Even Jesus in his time suffered through the same Fallacy. “And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? But when he heard it, he said, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-12

When you associate with your non-Christian friends, or relatives, or with people who are not as established in the Christian Faith as you, the world may look down upon you. Shrug it off, because Jesus knows what is in your heart. Indeed, scripture says “ For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Our identity in Christ; Walking with and in Christ Jesus

We enter this world alone, born of an earthly woman, and while we enjoy the illusion of companionship of others, we are truly alone in this world. Nobody is ours and we belong to nobody. After suffering many losses in this world,  I have come to the conclusion that we truly live alone in this world. We are all of the dust, and all turn to dust again. (Ecclesiastics 3) Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The life we enjoy on this planet is extremely brief compared to eternity with Jesus in Heaven. So live for Eternity, not for this life here on the earth, which is brief. An acronym for this comes to mind: ALIVE (Always Living In View of Eternity) The one who can fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts is Christ Jesus. In Him we can find our all, our best friend, companion, mate, and treasure. Walk daily with Jesus, in His Word and meditating upon His promises, and I promise you will not feel alone any more.

Are my 2nd Amendment rights in conflict with my Christianity? What is the truth?

Q: My liberal pastor frowns upon parishioners who are armed while my conservative pastor encourages parishioners to be well-armed. Who is correct?

A. The fact is that ever since Christianity was born there were deeply religious men who were set apart to protect the faith from it’s enemies. Early in it’s infancy, Christian pilgrims to Holy sites in Israel were attacked en-route by the Muslims and the Roman Catholic Church formed the Knights Templar which was a Catholic Military order, in 1119AD in order to protect and defend the faith. This order lasted until 1312AD. Many other Military orders (Catholic and Protestant) have been created in order to protect and defend the faith and carry combat arms in order to do so. The Knights of Columbus is one such order. The US Military is another, wherein over 80 percent of the organization self-identifies as Christian (Catholic and Protestant) 

Is Grace a silver bullet that can overcome anything?

The simple answer to this question, in my opinion, is, NO. Grace is NOT a silver bullet. Grace may be able to give you time to rectify your past, or deficiencies from your past, but it will never ever be able to compensate for gaps in your own life. For example, Grace will never be able to wipe away a criminal record or a civil bankruptcy or a debilitating illness or the lack of a formal education. These are things Grace can do absolutely nothing about. The non-Christian without a criminal record will always do better than the Christian with a criminal record. The non-Christian without a bankruptcy will always do better than the Christian with a bankruptcy in his record. The non-Christian who doesn’t have a debilitating illness will always do better than the Christian who is suffering from a debilitating illness. The non-Christian with a Master’s degree will always do better than the Christian without a degree. A non-Christian child born of Billionaire parents will always have a leg-up in life over a Christian child born in an average household. These are the facts of life. Those who lean on Grace for everything better be aware that while they are in this plane of existence, unfortunately there are things that Grace can and cannot do. However, what Grace can do is bring us closer to God in the everlasting plane of existence. We are all given roughly eighty to a hundred years to live. Once we die, our successes here on earth or lack thereof, matter little. What matters is that we were obedient to God and followed His Son Jesus Christ. In the afterlife it matters more how you lived in this life, and the Grace and Mercy you showed others. 

Promises of God: (This section is being completely revised and will be posted when it is complete.)

 

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