I write this post on a Sunday. A day God instructs Christians to set aside for worship. After a blissful, post-church nap I started thinking about why I do what I do.
Why Do I Do What I Do?
Why do I set aside a full day to go to church, Sunday School, and contemplate the goodness of God. Why do I read the Bible and pray daily. Why am I taking four years in seminary to learn more about God and His word? Why do I try to remind myself that I’m not saved by what I’ve done or what I’ve failed to do when I sin? Why do I try to tell other people about this man Jesus? Why? Why? Why?
The reason I do what I do is simple. I believe. I believe in a story so counter-cultural, intricate, yet simple that no human being could have made it up.
GOD– I believe there is a God who is three persons in one. He is a trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17). These three are one–perfectly equal in being, power, and authority.
ADAM & EVE- I believe in a historical Adam and Eve , the first human beings and the earthly parents of us all, whom God created and placed in a paradise called Eden. I believe that when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit they showed that they wanted to be God instead of obey God and committed the first sin (Genesis 2-3). Sin is disobedience toward God arising from unbelief. And I believe that in Adam, as the representative head of the human race, we all sinned (1 Corinthians 15:22).
SIN– I believe that every human being is now born spiritually dead because of sin. And what can a dead person do? Nothing except lay there and rot (Ezekiel 37:3-4). He certainly can’t bring himself back to life. And because we are all spiritually dead we are inclined to disbelieve and disobey God by nature. We sin because we are sinners (Romans 3:23).
I believe that our entire world from creation, to women, and men feel the results of sin. This is the cause of suffering, injustice, and every imperfection on the planet (Romans 8:19).
HELL– I believe that because of humankind’s rebellion against God, He is right to punish us for our disobedience (Psalm 7). The most severe punishment we could ever receive is to be separated from our Creator. And the destiny of all humankind apart from God’s loving intervention is eternal, conscious separation from Him, what the Bible calls “Hell” (2 Peter 2:4).
LOVE– I also believe that God loves us so much that He doesn’t leave us in our sins (John 3:16). He doesn’t abandon us to an eternal existence without Him. Instead, in a plan worked out from before creation, He sends God the Son in the form of a human being, Jesus Christ (John 1).
JESUS CHRIST– I believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human. He never loses one iota of His divinity or humanity when He takes on flesh. This is a mystery, but it is true. Because Christ is both God and human, He did what no other ordinary human could do. He lived the perfect life of obedience to God we should have lived and He, the only truly innocent man, died the sinner’s death we deserved (Romans 3:21-26).
THE CROSS– I believe that Jesus Christ’s crucifixion is the central event of human history because on the cross, Christ reconciles humanity to God and God to humanity. On the cross, God pours out His wrath against sin on His own Son instead of on us. Jesus, by His own willing submission to the Father, accepts the punishment for sin that we earned (Acts 2:32-33).
I believe that on the cross God displays both His justice and His mercy. He displays His justice by punishing sin, and He displays His mercy by absorbing sin’s penalty in our place. I believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose on the third day. And that He ascended into Heaven and will come back to judge sinners and reclaim the world for His name (Revelation 19:11-16).
FAITH– I believe that anyone who believes in the person and work of Jesus Christ becomes spiritually alive and will live forever with God in Heaven. When we put our faith in Christ we experience a new birth. We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are no longer enslaved to our selfish passions and desires but we now live to glorify God and enjoy Him forever because we are forgiven in Christ.
THE GOOD NEWS– I believe that God did not send His only Son to die on the cross to provide simply another way of salvation or even the best way of salvation. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation (John 14:6). While this seems exclusive, Christianity is staggeringly inclusive. In Christianity you don’t have to be anyone special or do anything extraordinary. You don’t have to clean yourself up or achieve a certain level or righteousness to come to God. Forgiveness of sins and a new life is open to anyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
I believe that because this message is so good, because this message is lifesaving that Christians must tell others the Good News. We must proclaim the Gospel to all kinds of people and present to them this person, Jesus Christ, through whom they can find a spring of living water for their souls that will never run dry (Matthew 28: 18-20).
What Do You Believe?
This is what I believe. It is the message and the man that controls me. I know this message is foolishness to those who don’t believe (1 Corinthians 1:20-21). It is a myth or idiocy to those who are still in rebellion to God. But if God can change a sinner like me, then He can do the same for anyone.
The question is what do you believe? What story compels you? Why do you live the way you do? What is the purpose of your life? Are you willing to stake your entire life on your beliefs? What do you believe?
Do you have questions about Jesus and Christianity? Feel free to write them in the comments section. Or contact me personally. I’d be happy to hear what you believe and tell you more about the Jesus in whom I believe.