Typically, when one thinks about what it means to be a god, concepts of power, strength and might are prevalent. A god is something so far beyond the concept of humanity, and the world is there for them to rule as they please and perhaps they occasionally may offer a sliver of their time to talk to us lowly humans and offer some insight, but surely wouldn’t bother with us much beyond that.
Of course, the ultimate goal of this thinking is to earn one’s way up the ladder to reside with the gods and perhaps even become a god. The very concept of the religions of man is to find out how to get into heaven, or reach enlightenment or be fused into Brahman.
For some, these goals are sought after by submitting to certain laws and tasks in an outward expression of piety; for others, constant meditation, or in some cases with the checkbook. In the end, it all comes down to hoping that one did “good enough”.
Yet there is one faith that never seems to fit in with the others, and makes very little sense to base an institution on. Why tell people there is nothing they can do to secure eternal life, for it is already done? How will that motivate them to be “good people” and form a moral community? How do we expect that not to result in essential anarchy?
The eternal life in this faith is offered freely to imperfect human beings, but the price was still paid for it. By righteous blood, all the unrighteous of the world are atoned for and absolved.
When one thinks of the concept of heaven, one should know that it is perfect. What is perfect must be maintained perfect. Therefore, just as you pour out spoiled milk rather than mixing it with the new gallon, the unrighteous cannot attain the glory of heaven or enter such a kingdom by their own power or strength.
The second we fall into sin, we are severed from any path leading to heaven by a chasm too wide to cross. When we breathe our last on this earth, we are only left with one destination and one path: that is, into the eternal sorrow of the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And this is where we all stand as humans judged by our works: you, me and all others. No matter how much “good” we have done, it never is enough to counterbalance our sin, for all fall short of the glory of God.
And this is the place where the religions of man falter. They can strive and strive for the kingdom, for the peaceful and blissful eternity; but in the end, none of us are good enough. We cannot possibly earn it and not one of us deserves it. Our damnation is just, and truly our own doing. Damnation is not so much God punishing us as it is us saying no to His gift and bringing it upon ourselves.
What then? We cannot do anything about it, for that bridge is irreparably broken. To whom shall we look?
We have a God, we all do whether we currently acknowledge Him or not, who looks with compassion on his creation. We wage war against Him every day as we live in our sin, but He does not turn away from us.
Our God had a plan set in place from the foundation of the world. When the serpent deceived Eve and Adam willfully ate of the forbidden fruit, God wasn’t surprised. There was no shock. Though the sin was not His will, He knew it would come and planned for it. Over the next several thousand years, God spoke by His prophets and constantly left hints as to what was to come.
The flood cleansed the unrighteous world and the parting of the sea made way for the Hebrews to be saved from their Egyptian rulers. Melchizedek broke bread and drank wine with Abraham, through whom all nations would be blessed according to God’s Promise. Priests made sacrifices, shedding the blood of the lamb. Abraham did not need to sacrifice Isaac as God provided a replacement. The descendant of David would rule and the prophet like Moses would come. One would come, be brought out of Egypt, be pierced for the transgressions of the people, bearing our sin and making our intercession.
And we have seen the fulfillment. These texts were written hundreds to thousands of years before the man Ιησους walked the Promised Land. Yet that man fulfilled all that was written in the Scriptures. This is not a coincidence, but the clear origin of the texts being God Himself, who gave these signs and prophecies to us that we may know this to be true.
Of His twelve apostles – excepting Iscariot who betrayed Him – all were put to death for professing His Gospel. If the Gospel was not true, these men would have known that it was not true. They had nothing to gain financially, but made less money for themselves in spreading the Gospel. These men would not have been put to death still confessing this Gospel to be true if it were merely a lie. At least one of them, and more likely all of them, would have renounced the false faith if only it were false, rather than suffer horrible deaths.
With this Gospel, the bridge we burned in our sin has been replaced, and we can cross that chasm by way of the Cross. Unlike the religions of man that seek to reach God by works of the hands and mind, salvation in the One True Faith comes by the work of God.
God, the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, orchestrated the greatest redemption in history. The Father so loved His creation, that He sent the Son into the flesh to become man, entering the realm of the created. The purpose of the Son’s coming was consummated at Golgotha. The leaders of the Jews, the chosen people of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, handed over their king to be put to death.
As when Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac and God provided a replacement, God again provided the sacrifice. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, true man and true God, died so that we may live eternally, giving us the Holy Spirit to sustain us.
What other religion speaks of their God dying? What other religion has a God who loves us more than Himself, so much so that He would become our sacrifice?
Christ confirmed the validity of His sacrifice when He rose on the third day, and He appeared to many before ascending to His Father in heaven. He conquered death. The deed is done. Through faith in Him, we live eternally.
The One True Faith is set apart from the religions of man. We have no system to achieve our salvation, but our God sacrificed Himself that we all may live.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17 ESV