Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why Do I Need To Believe In God?

It's time to get real about why we believe there is a God. We are losing an entire generation of believers because we are not willing to be honest about why we believe. We market our churches with the fine programs we offer, only they are not enough to keep people's interest. We become entertainers in a world of entertainers. The church is becoming background noise in a world filled with background noise. Our nicely designed churches with our multimedia presentations and our great talks that sound more like psychology than the Word of God, are not enough to convince the world that they need to believe. In all our modern methodology where is the reason why people need to believe in a world moving further away from the need for faith?

Why do I need to believe? Perhaps I should introduce myself. Hi, I'm Paul and I'm a sinner. Yes, I am a man who has been trapped in my dependence on sin. I was unable to escape and didn't even realize I needed to escape. It wasn't until I encountered Jesus that I realized my condition but thankfully Jesus had the answer. Now I am able to say that I am a sinner who has been set free from my dependence because of the unmerited favour of God. We refer to this as God's grace. Without my belief in God I would be stuck being no better than I am today. With my belief and the release of God's power in my life because of it, I am being changed, being improved, being transformed into something more than I am today.

I had no idea how badly I was trapped by things I did not even realize were part of me. I was greedy, self-centered, callous, mean, a user of people which led to things such as stealing, pornography, lying, abandoned relationships, manipulation. Even on my very best days, when the world thought I was a great guy, I was a terrible, wretched man. It did not matter how much I wanted to change, how many New Year's resolutions I made, what help I sought from the world, I could not escape the state I was in because it was knit into the very fibers of my being. Yet, I was blind to what I was. There is a proverb that states it nicely:

All a man’s ways seem right to him, 
   but the LORD weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2)

I thought I was living a good life. I thought I was the master of my own destiny. I thought I was in control. I thought it was all good but my heart was all wrong. It is the heart that matters to God. We look at the difference in Cain's and Abel's sacrifices. One was accepted and the other wasn't because God knew the condition of the heart. We can live what appears to be a great life, in great service and we can conform our behaviour to be accepted in the church but God does not measure any of this when he looks at the heart. This is why it is silly to complain about the actions of the lost.

The issue is not behaviour. What does it matter if a person is living with someone outside of marriage and what does it matter if someone is homosexual? What does it matter if a person is using the Lord's name in vain or is prostituting themselves? What does it matter if a child is disobedient or that a parent is a drunk? Without Jesus they are lost anyway and it is only Jesus who can transform the heart to be in the right condition. It is only this transformed heart that produces actions that are more honouring to God. The message of the Bible can be understood from this proverb:

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, 
   but victory rests with the LORD. (Proverbs 21:31)

When we turn our hearts to God, when we seek his face, we are recognizing our wretched condition but we are still unable to make any changes. We desire to be changed, we ready the horse for the battle, but it is God who does the work, he does the transforming, he does the changing, he saves us from the trap of sin because we couldn't save ourselves.

I need to believe not because I need to believe in a bigger purpose for my life, not because I need explanations for the unexplained, not because I need to escape from reality, not because I need a crutch. I need to believe because I need to be rescued from the sin that is propelling me to my destruction. I need to be transformed from the wretched state to which I was born into what God always intended me to be. A polished church is not going to do it for me. A list of rules is not going to do it for me. Preaching psychology at me is not going to do it for me. Only a real and vibrant relationship with Jesus will change me in the manner in which I need to be changed. Only a relationship where I understand who I really am and who Jesus really is will change me. Only realizing that I can do nothing for myself and Jesus can do it all will allow him to transform my heart, to transform my life and eternity. I need to believe because it is the only way to life in the present and life for eternity. The world needs to believe for one simple reason: to be saved.



somethingrandom said...

Why do I need to repent for being human, if that is what I was created to be? Why would god give me the "gift of life" but still require me to pay for it? How can a fair god give you a "gift" that requires payment without making EXPLICIT the terms of payment BEFORE you enter that agreement? It's like giving someone a present and then requiring them to pay it back after they've accepted it. How's that fair to the other person? If the person doesn't want to pay for the gift then they should be able to kindly decline accepting that gift. However, god does not allow me to decline this so called "gift of life". If god gives me free will, then why didn't god give me free will to choose whether I wanted to exist as a human or not? The idea of "salvation from the consequences of sin" is an artificial need. God punihsing all of humanity for what Adam and Eve did is illogical. It's like sentencing an unborn child to life in prison because its parents were murderers. How does an unborn carry the consequences of what it's parents did if that child did nothing except be born to criminals, which it had no say in choosing. Why am I made to believe that I need salvation for a transgression that I didn't commit? How does being born human make me subject to the consequences of sin if I had no real say in whether I wanted to become human or not? Moreover, if death is a consequence of sin then why are animals subject to death, too? Did they commit a transgression against god, too? Are they also subject to the consequences of hell should they choose not to accept god? Or what about plants? Plants also die, so do they also need salvation for being created plants?

Michael Paul said...

The whole premise of your argument is based on misinformation. We are not being punished for something Adam and Eve did. God created us for and in a certain relationship with him and he gave warning to Adam and Eve to prevent them from ruining that relationship. When they disobeyed God they brought about a fundamental change in this relationship and in our spiritual make up. We were transformed from what God had created. We became a ugly enemy of God. This was not God's choice but was a direction result of the choice of the disobedience.

Because of this choice our make-up became one of slavery to sin. It became our nature and we could not get out from under it. Rebellion was our constant state of being. Sin unfortunately results in death. God had warned them that it would lead to death but he was speaking of the race of man not just to Adam and Eve.

Now our God is loving and merciful. Instead of just starting over he decided he was going to rescue us. He had to lay down some plans, arrange some teaching, raise a nation to represent himself and bring his Son in through them in order to rescue us from destruction. This is a free gift he has offered to us. He was under no obligation except to his own character of love.

In no way will he force this upon you and it is a shame that it is perceived that his servants try to force people. But when you know the answer to someones troubles you can get pretty excited about telling people.

So, let me re-cap. You were born with this condition of slavery to a nature that was changed by the rebellion of Adam and Eve. God in his mercy and love has set up a rescue plan that he has paid the price for. He didn't need to do this but he wanted to because he loves us.

In your ignorance you insult and accuse the Creator of all things, the one who paid the price to rescue you, the one who desires to see you safe above everything else. But even in this insult he is willing to love you, forgive you and rescue you. If you want to ignore him and go head first to your destruction that is the free will that you have but understand this, he weeps over you.