Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The implications of being a Christian

I was just thinking that it would be worth listing some of the implications of identifying yourself as a Christian.
This is not in order of importance, nor is it exhaustive.
Being a Christian means
That you love Jesus
That you believe that someone who was killed and buried came back to life
That you are willing to be mistreated and not retaliate
That you forgive others
That money is not your main goal
That when you hear Jesus name being used as a negative word, it hurts
That you are committed to helping others, especially if they are also Christians
That you value and respect chastity and marriage
That you think the best of others, and give them the benefit of the doubt
That you highly value the Ten Commandments
That one day, maybe soon, you expect Jesus to appear again
That God allows suffering in our lives, and uses it to our great benefit
That when you answer a question, you are honest
That you are willing to give up what is rightfully yours, if called to do so
That you may be killed for no other reason other than for loving Jesus
That you want to live a holy life

to be continued

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Depravity of Man

Traditional Christian faith includes as a fundamental understanding, that mankind is in a fallen state.
What this means is that all human beings, from their moment of birth, are sinners. The term "original sin" is used to relate us back to Adam (and Eve), who first sinned in the garden of Eden as described in Genesis chapter 3. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God had clearly commanded them not to eat, not only did they bring judgements including death, but they also passed onto us, almost like a genetic mutation, the desire to sin.
I have heard it put, that when Adam sinned, we all applauded.
We are made of the same flesh as Adam, and are similarly tainted with the effects of that first sin.
I could point out, as many have that you don't have to teach children how to "be bad" it seems to come naturally. But we do have to teach them how to be good.
The understanding of original sin implies that even if we were somehow able to live sinless lives, just being a child of Adam is enough to make us stand guilty of sin before God. Now we know from our reading of Genesis that God cared for Adam and Eve even after they had sinned, he also cared for the first children, Cain and Abel. And God even cared for Cain after he killed his brother Abel. (God put a mark on him so that if any other person came across him, he would not be killed). So original sin does not take away God's love that he pours out on us, but what it does not remove is death. We all die, and we all die because of original sin.
If the effect of original sin were somehow removed, we would live forever. In fact, in the Garden of Eden there was a tree of life, which would cause us to live forever, and that was one reason that Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden.
 Apparently Walt Disney's body is frozen somewhere, waiting for the scientific discoveries that will at some point allow us to revive frozen bodies and cure incurable diseases, and reverse ageing.
Were this possible, and Walt Disney were revived, say in another 200 years, would he still be the rightful owner of his estate? would he he need nursing home care? Would any of his great great great great grandchildren wish to care for him?
Putting these silly issues aside,  people who ask and pay for their bodies or brains to be frozen soon after death are putting their faith in science.
Christians are putting their faith in one man who, miraculously, was born without original sin, lived a sinless life, and after dying for the sins of others, showed that he was able to defeat death, and rise again, whole and now forever immune from the effects of death.
This man has promised his followers that he will raise them up, alive again, with actual bodies, made new (not the old body) to live forever with Him.
Our hope rests on the truth that he actually rose from the dead. The truth of the resurrection is what christians, past and present, put their faith and hope in.
If Jesus never rose from the dead, then our faith is simply an interesting way of life.
If Jesus did rise from the dead, we'd be crazy to ignore his teachings.