9/24/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian: Conclusion

I hope that you have found this little series to be helpful.  I have outlined the reasons that I have chosen to be a Christian and to remain in the faith.  I have shared much of my own personal intellectual and emotional journey.

The reasons given are not persuasive arguments for everyone. I pray that if you are a person who does not find them convincing that you will at least be motivated to explore other arguments and approaches.

Some places to look on the internet are: www.str.org, www.ligonier.org, www.carm.org, and www.4truth.net.  

Some helpful books include The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, Reasons to Believe by R. C. Sproul, Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham, and I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.  These men differ on many theological issues, but their arguments for God’s existence and the truth of the Bible are sound.  

Some other names to research include Greg Bahnsen, Cornelius Van Til, Alvin Plantinga, John Frame, and Craig Blomberg. 

The ultimate aim of this blog is to point others to Christ as the great Lord and Savior. He is the one Person who has walked the earth who is worthy of true worship and lavish praise. May His glory be over all the earth.



9/17/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian: Christianity Has Changed My Life

I was raised in a Baptist church in a small, West Tennessee town. Many times, I have heard the testimony of a person who has been radically and completely delivered from the awful, evil sins they once committed.

I have often questioned the miraculous deliverances purported in these testimonies, especially when the speaker implies that my life must assuredly be changed in the same dramatic way if I truly repent of my sins and come to Christ.

I do not intend to discuss a long, rambling account of my personal sins and the way I have tried to set them aside. I have found in my own experience that my besetting sins have persisted after I became a Christian, even though I am better than I once was.

The difference in my life I want to discuss is not a dramatic reversal of my behavior. The Holy Spirit has helped me to get better over time, but I have not been made perfect, and I have not been radically and instantly delivered from sin.

The change in my life that I want to focus on is the freedom I have found in God’s forgiveness. I have found freedom and power to change in the knowledge that my sins are forgiven because of Christ. I have the encouragement I need to get up when I fall down.

Jerry Bridges describes this well: 
Gradually over time, and from a deep sense of need, I came to realize that the gospel is for believers, too. When I finally realized this, every morning I would pray over a Scripture such as Isaiah 53:6," All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all," and then say, "Lord, I have gone astray. I have turned to my own way, but you have laid all my sin on Christ and because of that I approach you and feel accepted by you.
[Christians] stand before God today as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed us with the righteousness of his Son. Therefore, I don't have to perform to be accepted by God. Now I am free to obey him and serve him because I am already accepted in Christ (see Rom. 8:1). My driving motivation now is not guilt but gratitude.

To use an expression of the late Jack Miller, we must "preach the gospel to ourselves every day." For me that means I keep going back to Scriptures such as Isaiah 53:6, Galatians 2:20, and Romans 8:1. 

It means I frequently repeat the words from an old hymn, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." The success of our struggle with sin begins with our believing deep down in our hearts that regardless of our failures and our struggle, we have died to sin's guilt. We must believe that however often we fail; there is no condemnation for us (Rom. 8:1).

I find freedom from my sin in Christ’s power. I do not find a perfect freedom. These are always sins that I am prone to commit. If I fail, those are the ways I am going to fail at most of the time.

Am I worried about losing my salvation or making it null and void because of a “habit” or “continuing in sin?” Sometimes I do doubt, but in the end I know that I am forgiven in Christ. I repent of my sin and enjoy Christ’s forgiveness.

Will I earn rewards for the good things I have done on earth? Yes, God will graciously reward the results of His power because He sees my ‘good works’ through the lens of Christ’s righteousness credited to me.

He will reward the works He has brought about. But the rewards I earn will not be for me. They will be cast at the feet of Jesus in His honor.


Our next post will conclude our little series about why you should become a Christian.

9/10/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian: Christianity Leads to Joy

Psychology, the way people think, has always been a fascination of mine. Great care must be used by a Christian in this area, but the concepts can often be redeemed. One of the most fascinating areas of psychology is temperament theory.

Temperament theory can be traced back to Hippocrates. It is undeniably imperfect, and some have even rejected the theories altogether.

Many of us are very reserved in temperament.  We were just made to be calm and quiet.  
It might surprise those who know very little about people like us that we want to be happy. Not just happy-go-lucky, smile all the time, laugh at everything type happy, but truly happy.

We want to be happy in the sense of being “blessed” or “delighted.” It might help to remind of the old adage, “Still waters run deep.”

John Piper has been a great help to me in many ways. His teaching has reinforced much of what I have learned about the way my heart works.

God made us to live a moral life, and we should not be surprised that moral living gives us joy. God forgives us of our sins in Christ, and we should not be surprised that the love he has shown for us results in joy.

This joy is at a profound level that can even motivate us to give our lives over to suffering and death on Christ’s behalf. The idea is not that our happiness is the greatest good; it is that we are made for God’s glory.  Living for His glory gives us joy.


I have not found a worldview or religion that can come close to Christianity in providing joy. This joy has led to great positive changes in my life, and I will describe those changes in the next post.

9/03/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian:Christianity Gives a Certain Promise of Heaven

I have mentioned before that the ideas Christianity holds make intuitive sense to me. This idea is true of the central message of the Christian faith: what most call “the gospel,” or the good news.

The gospel is intuitive in that, once I was made aware of it; I knew “in my gut” that it explained my experience. Of course, it is not intuitive in that I would never have thought this up without someone telling me about these truths.

The gospel is the fact that God offers eternal life as a free gift. Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As a gift, eternal life is not earned or deserved. I will return to this idea latter. 

The law requires perfection. Jesus Himself said, “Be ye perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect.” We cannot avoid the knowledge that we have fallen short of this obviously true ideal.  (???)

No one obeys the law perfectly or obeys the law with perfect motives: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The old prayer of confession in the Anglican Church reads, “We have sinned against [God] in thought, word and deed. By the things we have done and the things we have left undone.”  It’s not just about what we do; it’s also about what we don’t do.

This conflict leaves us inadequately prepared for God’s judgment in and of ourselves. We are not perfect. We do not meet God’s standard.

The gospel comes into sharper focus when we understand what the Bible says about God. God is holy, or separate from sin. God is also just, that is, He is the perfect judge who must punish sin.  

The Old Testament reads, “... yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.” God also loves: “God is love.” And since He loves His people, He must act.  

In human terms, this tension leaves God with a problem. On the one hand, He loves us and does not want to punish us. One the other hand, He is just and must punish sin. God solved this “problem” for us in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is God who came to earth as a man. As a man, Christ was able to follow the requirements of perfect morality. He was able to live a perfect life, always doing what is moral from perfect motives.

He also was able to take our sins upon Himself. He took credit for the things we have done wrong. 

He suffered a death He did not deserve as a substitute for us. He suffered the wrath of God for our sins.

As Isaiah wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way, but God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all … it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and he has put him to grief.” As Paul wrote, “For [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” 

God has made it possible for Christ to take credit for our sins and suffer infinitely in His soul for them. We take credit for all of this by faith.

Faith does not just understand the good news of what Christ has done for us.  It does not just believe that these facts are true.

Faith is a confident trust that what Christ did He did for us. It trusts what He said about how to live our lives and what He said about having eternal life.

This is what the Bible means when it says, “Believe on [not just in, but on] the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” It is what Christians mean when they say that they accept the free gift of eternal life from Christ.

Why then do we do good works? If eternal life is a free gift, why should we strive to be moral? One answer for this is that we are grateful for the free gift we have received.

The gospel frees us from having to search our motives, which are often impure, and to live for the God who made us. We do not have to agonize over our motives because Christ died for impure motives as well as impure thoughts, words, and deeds. We do not perform good works out of desire to avoid punishment because Christ took our punishment for us.

Christ offers an abundant life to all who would turn to Him in faith. There is nothing outside you that keeps you from accepting His free gift of eternal life today. I pray that all who read this can find the hope of heaven that God has revealed to us in Christ.

Many people find that this simple message leads them directly to belief in God.

We should pray that the faith of Christians will be strengthened by the message of the gospel. Our next post will look at a practical reason to embrace the God of the Bible.


(Note: D. James Kennedy provided the general outline for this article.)

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