Saturday, September 20, 2008

"One Way” It really IS offensive!

I ran into it again yesterday. Someone posted that when they hear, “We” have the only way to God" it's tremendously offensive to those who have a different view of life.

Anyone who has read my blog certainly knows that I struggle with being offensive. Or more correctly, being offensive comes all too easily for me. It’s a mighty struggle for me to say what I want to say in a manner that is not a club. Still, isn’t it true that there are some things in life to which there really is only one answer? Mathematics comes immediately to mind. On the other hand, I think these people are absolutely correct if they've heard us say things like:

. Christianity is the only way to be spiritual - That really is offensive!

. Following Jesus is the only way to practice religion - That really is offensive!

. Christianity is the only religion with wise sayings - That really is offensive!

. Following Jesus is the only way to teach your children about morality - That really is offensive!

. Christianity is the only way to worship - That really is offensive!

. Christianity is the only way to approach life’s problems - That really is offensive!

. Following Jesus is the only way to be a good person - That really is offensive!

. Christianity proposes the only realistic way to deal with atonement for sins - That really is, offen . . . umm, wait!

“Christianity is - the - only - way - to - deal - with . . . Hmm. I wonder.

Jesus taught that we have a sin problem of eternal proportions. “Those who do not believe in Me stand condemned already.”

What if Jesus is right? What if we really do come into this world already pre-loaded with sin? What if rebellion against God really is our default setting? Sure you can say that’s not true. And it really would be offensive to tell someone "You don’t have the right to believe Jesus was a liar." But IF what Jesus said is true, then all the contradictory beliefs out there can’t all be right. In fact, there may very well be only one correct way, only one right way, only one “Just” way to deal with the problem that Jesus says exists. Let me give you an example.

What if someone came into your backyard, stole your child, raped and killed your child and then dumped your child’s body in the ditch like a piece of garbage? What would you deem sufficient justice for a crime like that?
. Should the killer have to wash his hands a certain number of times a day?

. What if he promised you, “From now on I’ll be as good as person as I can be.”

. Should the killer have to pray a certain number of times a day?

. Or what if he said to you, “Ya I killed your kid but from now on I’m going to meditate every single day.

. What if he said, “Ya I killed your kid but from now on I’m going to place food and incense in front of the Buddha that I’ve got in my living room. Are we square?”

Would any one of those things satiate your need for justice? Would it?

Someone has brutally killed your child and justice needs to be served. In the same way, our very nature is an offense of enormous proportion to a perfectly Holy Creator God. Because of us, His Son had to die. It was our sins that had Jesus tortured to death.

God says that the wages of, the consequence of, the result of, the justice demanded by sin is death and eternal separation from a perfectly Holy God. According to God’s plan, atonement for OUR sin, the forgiveness of OUR sins, the restoration of OUR broken relationship with God required the death of God, in the form of God the Son -Jesus. Our sin did that to God. My sin did that to God. Your sin did that to God.

Certainly there are many, many ways to be good and to be religious and to “do” life. But reason dictates that there is only one Just way to deal with sin, murder, rebellion and hatred toward a perfectly Holy, merciful, gracious God. And because we cannot possibly fix that ourselves (we’re the problem, NOT the solution) God has decided to provide the solution for us. He took the penalty for our sins upon Himself. Jesus really is the only solution to our dilemma and instead of being offended by that, an attitude of gratefulness and thankfulness seems much more appropriate.

In reality, truth must exclude that which is not true. If what Jesus says is true about eternal life then anything that opposes the claims of Jesus must of necessity be false.

In our world, there are roughly 300 gods from which to choose within several dozen belief systems. Our job is to try to figure out if anyone of them is correct. Atheism says that none of them are correct but that only atheism and atheistic science have the answers to our questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny.

Jesus said that only He has the answer to those questions because He is our Creator, “Before Abraham was I AM.”

For any given mathematical problem one could easily have 300 or 3,000 or 3 bzillion wrong answers. But there will always only be one right answer. Our spiritual problem is unique and it requires a unique answer. Jesus really is the answer to the problem of sin, the only solution to our broken relationship with God and the only way by which we can avoid eternal separation from our Creator God. Jesus is the Truth regarding these things.

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