I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act, the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness. –Rick Warren
I had Dr. Clay Jones as a Professor for several classes when I was studying at Biola. He has researched the problem of evil for over twenty years and his insights into human behavior are, I believe, very accurate if we are honest. I recall a lecture where Dr. Jones addressed this question: “Why do people commit such atrocities and inhumane things like we see in the Crusades and the Holocaust?” His answer, “These things are not inhumane but human. Humans do human things and left to their own devices are capable of committing all kinds of cruel and merciless acts.” And then he presented study after study to support this assertion.
So many people I know will claim that the purpose of life is to be a good person and that being a good person should be enough to get you to heaven. But we have to stop and ask ourselves, what is the definition of a good person? How much good is good enough?
Think of it this way: A person commits a serious crime against his fellow man worthy of imprisonment. He goes before the Judge for sentencing and then reads off a list of all the good things he’s ever done. Will the Judge forgive his crime? If you or a loved one were the victim of his crime would you want the Judge to let him go? Of course not, we want justice.
We have all broken God’s laws so many times that reading our list of ‘good things’ before Him will seem just as ridiculous! A righteous and loving God also wants justice. He is the final judge of all of us and He must find us guilty. But what if our righteous and loving God, after sentencing us, takes off His robe and comes down where we are and receives the sentence in our place?
Jesus said, in Luke 18:19 “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Jesus seems to support the idea that we are not good people. This is why we need to ask Jesus to forgive us and be our lawyer on that day we face the final Judge. Is it possible that this was the rescue plan a loving God had in mind when He sent His only Son into this world to die for us?
All of us want somebody to love us. Well, I want to tell you that God loves you. He loves you so much that he gave us his Son to die on the cross for our sins. And he loves you so much that he will come into your life and change the direction of your life and make you a new person, whoever you are. -Billy Graham
This question of good versus evil was one that changed the course of two lives in the last century. One, a man named Charles Templeton, the other, Billy Graham. Charles Templeton, a close companion of Graham, was supposed to be the greatest evangelist of the 20th century but he abruptly left the ministry citing his decline in belief that God existed because of such evil and suffering in the world. He walked away from his ministry and his faith—God did not leave him, he left God.
In contrast to Templeton, in a time of doubt, Graham went out to a quiet place in the woods and laid his Bible out on a tree stump and asked God to guide him. This is where his central focus remained…
Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word. –Billy Graham
Where Billy Graham got it right:
- Honest with God about his doubts
- Put God’s Word and prayer first
- Understood Jesus’ teachings and life example as truth
- Allowed Jesus’ sacrifice as sufficiency for grace
- Persevered with God through trials
Jesus said: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” -John 12:48-50
For further reading I highly recommend: The Case for Faith, by Lee Strobel
Let me know what you think:
- Is it too harsh to say that humans are basically ‘not good’? Why?
- Is it OK to tell God that we have doubts? Why?
Join us next week as we start a new topic in our Case for Christianity.
In these posts I am going to continue to present logical reasoning and sound scientific evidence not found in the public school textbooks.
This blog is part of a series. You can start the series by going back to the September 1, 2014 Introduction called A Case for Christianity: Why do we need one?
Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15