Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Christianity affects everything

"... the Christian gospel is about facts of history. It is not a “religious” message that just floats in the air. It is not just a set of ideas that nobody could ever test or prove. It is not something just offered for discussion, as we please. It is about real events, which happened in the real world. It is to do with real times, and real places. It is a message which is either true or false, but not somewhere in between. It must be either true for all, or not true at all. It cannot be good for some, but not for others. It claims that the Son of God came in the person of Jesus and that he is the Lord of all. It tells us that he was promised from the start, that he really lived, and really died. It claims that the tomb is empty, because he really rose again. It claims that he, and he alone, is our final judge and that he alone can and does offer us the forgiveness of our sins.

With all these claims, there is only one real question that can be asked in response. Is the gospel true, or is it not? Jesus is not offering us some good suggestions to help us get on in life. He is claiming to be the Son of God and the only Saviour. His first preachers were witnesses (Acts 1:8), who testified and insisted that these things were true. They had seen them, had touched, had spoken and had heard (1 John 1:1). It was true for them, and so true for everyone.

It cannot be correct to call the Christian faith “one of the world religions”. If it is any kind of path to God, then it is the only one. If it is not the only one, then it is not one at all. Either Jesus is alive, or he is dead. There is no middle ground! We live at a time when we are told to keep our faith private. Religion, people say, is personal and should not become public. The early Christians knew nothing about that idea! Their faith affected their whole lives – because it was real and true. If Christ is risen on Sunday, then he is on Monday too. Sacred and secular cannot be two different worlds – there can only ever be one. We must never forget that. If Jesus affects anything, he must affect everything. Do you believe that?"

(From some Bible reading notes on Acts 10:34-43).

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