Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

02 (2)

 

I was standing on the field at Laguna Beach High School, it was halftime, and Costa Mesa was losing a football game.  It was about 100 degrees on the field.  I had sweat through my shirt and knew the players were giving everything they had.  Therefore, it was odd to hear someone from the crowd yell out the N- word.  I was completely shocked.  The head coach of the Freshman team was African American and the comment was meant for him to hear.  Obviously it was not enough for the home team to be winning, they had to stoop to new lows in order to intimidate or rather get under the skin of the Mustangs.  The game had gotten out of control and the referees allowed much to happen.

I will never forget the play before half time.  One of the Laguna players made a great play, but then decided it was appropriate to do a dance of some kind in front of the Mustang bench.  I am still trying to figure out why he felt the need to do it, because he only made one tackle.  We lost that day, despite a courageous comeback.

However, afterwards I went to my car and I thought how in the world can people attempt to demean others with such hateful words in the day and age that we live.  My rose colored glasses had been knocked off.  While the football game was many years ago, it has left an impression on me and the way people think.  It saddens me.

We all come from some place.   Everyone’s place is different, which is what makes us unique.  I grew up in the MidWest and by all accounts in a sheltered environment in Zionsville, Indiana (by the way it was a great place to grow up).  Yet I did not have the experiences others might by growing up in a different one.   I write this because it took a book to change my thinking about race and how I viewed things.  I grew up Christian, yet when I was in college I knew nothing of my faith.  I discovered a book by Ken Ham called One Blood, which got my mind thinking.  In the book he says that we (the human race) are not that different in fact we are very similar.  What we see on the outside is only a fraction of the difference.  Yet people make a big deal of fractions.  We fear the differences rather than embrace them.

When God looks at us, He does not see the definitions we give ourselves or others give, but rather He sees us as who we really are.  He loves that person.  God does not see in color, but in love.  Religion today can be a hot button topic.  However, it was religion or in my opinion a relationship with Jesus, which taught me how to look at people and how to live better.

Due to a scheduling glitch, we had to return to Laguna Beach the next year and this time we won on a last second play.  It was very gratifying walking off that field again with a win.  I was more happy for the head coach, knowing what he endured the previous season.  I was proud of our guys who fought for the victory.  Our victory on the field that day did not whip out what happened in the past.  It serves as a reminder of what happened and how with each day I am blessed with I can live to be a difference.

After all we are all bleed the same.  There is really not that much difference if any at all.

02

Recently I have been having a conversation with an individual who did not believe in the freeness of the Gospel.  This gentleman tried to tell me that while salvation is initially free (meaning we had to just believe), in order to keep or have it we also had to Remain in Christ, obey, love Him.  All of these conditions were necessary in order to go to heaven.  It was as if he wanted it both ways.  He wanted to merit his salvation.  We are not required to prove to God that Jesus did not wasted His blood for us.  All Christ asks us to do is believe in Him (John 3:16, 6:57).   I have no problem with the things his man proposed for Christians to do, they are things Christians should be doing.  However, our eternal destination is not based upon them, rather it is the finished work of Christ.  To add a list to Christ’s work is to say what He did on the cross was not enough.  John wrote his Gospel so that people would believe in Jesus and that by believing we have life (John 20:31).  If other conditions were necessary then when the jailor asks Paul in Acts 16:30 what must he do to be saved, the response should be “Well believe, but then if you must remain in Christ, obey and love Him.  If you fail in these things then may be you never really believed to begin with or you needed to strive harder to merit eternal salvation.”  It was a simple, straightforward question Paul was asked and he gave a direct answer.  Believe in Jesus, that was all he had to do.  For the jailor this was different than what he grew up with there in Philippi.  There he had to please and appease the gods.  He was used to continually doing something in order to stay in good favor with the gods.  Nothing was free.  Yet salvation is.  Still today man strives to do something for his salvation.  All Jesus asks is to simply believe.

The gentleman I spoke with also referenced the Gospel I spoke of as “Cheap Grace.”  I thought it was interesting he used the term because it is “cheap grace,” because it is Free!  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) and all the world has to do is believe in Him.  It is simple and easy.

Some might say, “Hey where is the accountability here?”  I’m glad you asked the question because we will judged according to our works the things done in our bodies (2 Corinthians 5, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).  We are accountable for how we live.  We should be laying for ourselves treasures in heaven.  Our focus should be on eternal things, not the here and now.  The things of this earth will pass away.

Salvation is free.  There is nothing I can do to merit it.  Nothing I can do to prove to God I am worthy enough.  He has done the work, all He asks is for us to believe.  In a world where religions and churches demand so much from people.  True Christianity stands in stark contrast.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  I like the use of the word “have” in this passage because it implies that we “have” everlasting life the moment we believe.  It’s free.  Will you believe in Jesus today?

We live in a crazy world.  A world where people feel in some twisted way that they need to place bombs at a marathon.  A world where very few if any politicians actually stick up for what is right.  The word “right” does not even have the same meaning any more.  Anything is “right” if the majority of the people believe it to be true.

When I read Revelation 4, I am in awe of the glory of the Lord. John describes the majestic scene, “And He who sat there was like a jasper and sardius stone in appearance…Before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal…”  There are four creatures continuously say, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come.”

I was reminded of how wonderful, and marvelous our Savior is when I read those verses this morning.  No matter what I see on the news or read on the Internet, God is still God.  He is holy.  I love the phrase, “Who was and is and is to come.”  It reminds me that God never changes.  He was the same when He created and even before.  He was the same God who called Abraham.  He was the same God who stood in the midst of the burning fire with Daniel’s friends.  He closed the mouths of the lions.  He died for my sins.  He rose again.  He will come back for us.  God sits on the throne today and has and will.  He is worthy to be praised.