Only One Path   32 comments

There are a lot of misperceptions about Christians by which the modern world insists on judging the Church.

Christians do not believe we’re going to go to heaven because we’ve been good. In fact, true Christians believe we’re going to heaven despite having failed God in all areas except one. The Bible teaches that no one is good enough to get to heaven on the basis of their good works. It is Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (disobedience of God) that saves us from God’s wrath.

This belief is what separates Christianity from all other world religions and worldviews. All other religions teach that there is some pathway to reconciliation with the divine that depends on human effort. Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism all teach human effort. In Christianity, because we cannot possibly be good enough to measure up to God, Christ’s sacrificial life, death, and resurrection are absolutely necessary. We are saved by grace, which is a gift from God, through the medium of faith, and not through our own merit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Frustratingly, no matter how Christians state the above fact, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Even many who call themselves Christians think “salvation” is about being a good person when in reality, there is no reason at all why I should go to heaven except for what Christ did for me on the cross. Christianity is, in many respects, not a religion, but a personal relationship with the Deity. God has reached out to disobedient mankind and offered a way to reconcile us with Him through Jesus Christ’s suffering and death. There is no path to God in Christianity. There is nothing we can add to Christ’s finished work on the cross as payment for our sins.

He did it.

We accept it.

That is all.

 

Posted July 24, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

Tagged with , ,

32 responses to “Only One Path

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “Christianity is, in many respects, not a religion, but a personal relationship with the Deity.”

    I agree with much of this post except for this part. People need to quit treating “religion” like a dirty word. Christianity can be a religion and a relationship both, without cheapening either one.

    Like

    • I tend to agree with you, but the world doesn’t understand the concept of religion. To them a religion is a set of rituals you do in a special place and then you can go back to your life and not have it affect you at all. Thus, they think it’s fine for you to have “freedom of religion”, but then they’re SHOCKED that your religion requires you to do anything (or not do some things) out in the real world. “It’s fine,” they’ll say, “for you to go to XYZ church. Nobody is stopping you from doing that. But you should pay for the abortificients of others and bake cakes for homosexual weddings because that’s got nothing to do with religion.”

      I want people to understand that I am a Christian 24/7 and I can’t set that aside and compartmentalize it to just Sunday morning and Wednesday night. It is a relationship with the living Savior not a cold sterile ritual I conduct in a special place.

      Like

      • Too true! Not a fan of the religion-as-a-hobby-for-the-weekends treatment.

        I… don’t follow what you’re saying about baking cookies for weddings, though. Nobody’s literally asking you to do that, right? What is it you’re satirizing?

        Like

      • Did I type cookies?

        I meant cake — referring to the bakery in Colorado that was found in violation of some law because the owner wouldn’t bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding. Masterpiece Cakes, is the store. He’s been very clear that he’s not discriminating against gay people per se. He’ll make birthday cakes, etc., for example. But he will not support (or be seen as supporting) gay marriage. At last news report, a judge had ordered he and his staff take reeducation classes and he’s decided he won’t. Neither will he make wedding cakes anymore, but he is planning to stay in business doing other sweets.

        It’s “freedom of religion” (to conduct rituals in special places) that is protected, not freedom of conscience (which would include faith) according to the Colorado courts. Of course, the Hobby Lobby case suggests the SCOTUS may have a different view.

        If I believed the courts could determine my public conduct in regards to my faith, it might matter, but I don’t think the Founders ever intended for the SCOTUS to make such rulings. Government was supposed to keep out of the faith business — period!

        Like

      • Hoo boy. Well, religion is something that does necessarily spill into “real life”, as you said, and government legislates our behavior in real life, so the two are naturally going to have to reckon with each other at times. The Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t make sense to me for a number of reasons. Anyway, if modern Christianity is going to be particularly concerned with sexual immorality, I wish Christians would put less effort into worrying about gay people getting married and put more effort into combating rapists.

        Like

      • It doesn’t make sense to you????

        Seems pretty simple to me. There are about 20 different “contraceptives” required to be covered by the ACA. Hobby Lobby objected to 4 (four) of them because they don’t prevent pregnancy. They allow conception to occur, but then abort the zygot. They are abortificients, NOT contraception. As it is morally wrong to kill babies, Christians ought not to pay for others to kill their babies. Hobby Lobby did not object to the other 16 contraceptives and will be covering them in their health insurance plan.

        As for gay marriage, from a civil libertarian position, I would like to see government get out of the marriage business altogether and allow people to shack up with whomever they like, but I would be one of the people going to jail in protest if government tries to force my church to sanctify homosexual marriage or force Christian businesses to do the same.

        Christians very much need to be concerned about encouraging sin, including sexual immorality. It is one thing to allow society to do what it will and not try to legislate morality. It’s another to encourage it through our tax dollars or our civic or business behavior. If we look pretty much like the world, we’re doing something wrong.

        Like

      • “As it is morally wrong to kill babies, Christians ought not to pay for others to kill their babies. Hobby Lobby did not object to the other 16 contraceptives and will be covering them in their health insurance plan.”

        Hobby Lobby is not a Christian; Hobby Lobby is not a person and cannot practice a religion. If Hobby Lobby were a Christian, though, then it’s being a hypocrite by objecting to some morally wrong things and engaging in others, like supporting child labor and paltry wages for unsafe working conditions. If you’re going to make the argument they have, I say, you’d best make sure you’re actually complying with Christian ethics.

        “As for gay marriage, from a civil libertarian position, I would like to see government get out of the marriage business altogether”

        Same here! Marriage shouldn’t be a legal status or rewarded with tax benefits. That’s just one way that amatonormativity manifests, treating romantic/sexual relationships as if they deserve a default position at the top of a relationship hierarchy.

        “I would be one of the people going to jail in protest if government tries to force my church to sanctify homosexual marriage or force Christian businesses to do the same.”

        …A church sanctifying a marriage is quite a different from a bussiness “sanctifying” a marriage. I’m not sure what the latter even means.

        Anyway, aren’t we supposed to be against pre-/extra-marital sex? Aren’t two people who want to have sex doing the right thing by getting married?

        Also, by “homosexual marriage”, I’ve been presuming you mean same-sex marriages, but would it be different for you if two people of the same gender who aren’t homosexual got married? Or is your objection dependent upon them being both allo & gay?

        Like

      • Wow! You evidence a huge misunderstanding of understanding of the Bible, Christians, the Constitution, corporations and Hobby Lobby. Where to start?

        There are multiple types of corporations and your argument should probably apply to large corporations that are publicly held. The stockholders of a big corporation (let’s just use GE for example) can legitimately say that they have no idea about the daily operations of the corporation. They are many and their investment does not buy them a seat at the management table.

        HOWEVER, Hobby Lobby is a family-held corporation that is not publicly traded. It is not unlike my friend Jon’s feed store (all stock owned by family members and all board members related to him) or my church (which is held by the members of the congregation. The SCOTUS decision applies extremely narrowly to this sort of corporation.

        The members of the Hobby Lobby board and management team, like my friend Jon’s company, are directly involved in the business. It is their money that is going to pay for insurance. They directly make the decisions about what plans to use, what coverage to provide, etc. By requiring the company to pay for abortificients (NOT contraception, but abortion-causing chemicals), the ACA is requiring the members of the Hobby Lobby board and management team to participate in the murder of innocents OR go out of business, which creates a whole other set of problems because small businesses in the S-corporation class make up about one-third of the economy and Christian-owned businesses of that sort are a sizeable minority.

        Like

      • “HOWEVER, Hobby Lobby is a family-held corporation that is not publicly traded. It is not unlike my friend Jon’s feed store (all stock owned by family members and all board members related to him) or my church (which is held by the members of the congregation.”

        Hobby Lobby is not unlike your church? Did I read that right?

        “The members of the Hobby Lobby board and management team, like my friend Jon’s company, are directly involved in the business. It is their money that is going to pay for insurance.”

        Health insurance is effectively part of an employee’s salary, and an employer doesn’t get to dictate what their employee does with it.

        Anyway, I still find it curious that this is the sort of thing the Church prioritizes.

        Like

      • Really? You find it curious that Christians prioritize obeying God over obeying society?

        Exactly what do you think Christians are? A social group akin to the Rotarians? We should obey God rather than man.

        If employees want to do whatever they want with their health insurance, they should pay for it themselves and not expect their employers to violate their consciences by authorizing and paying for abortificients.

        Like

      • “You find it curious that Christians prioritize obeying God over obeying society?”

        Huh? *reads back to figure out what you’re talking about* …Okay, I’m not sure what you’re equating “obeying society” with, but (this is a guess, correct if wrong) you seem to be equating “obeying God” with opposing/rooting out evil. So far, so good.

        What I was trying to get at (and failed to communicate, apparently — sorry about that) is that there are many different evils to fight, and to some technical extent, spending time on one means not spending time on another, and so on, and naturally, we have to prioritize. That doesn’t mean they’re not all worth fighting, just that we can’t pay attention to everything all at one time, and sometimes I think it’s worth reconsidering what things we’re already paying a lot of attention to and what things we’re neglecting. Does that make sense so far?

        “If employees want to do whatever they want with their health insurance,”

        Um… yeah, that seems like it should go without saying. People should get control over how they use their own insurance, yeah.

        “they should pay for it themselves”

        …You may have noticed that’s not economically feasible for the grand majority of Americans right now, through no fault of their own. You don’t seriously believe certain rights should be only given to rich people, do you? Doesn’t seem very Christian.

        Like

      • I’ve read the Constitution pretty thoroughly and there doesn’t appear to be a right to health insurance.

        Currently society wants to say that homosexual behavior and abortion are societal goods so Christians are wrong to stand against them – or in your dad, Christians should concentrate on social justice rather than Biblical standards. The message s that standing against Chinese labor is more Christlike than standing against abortions by refusing to pay for them.

        But again, that is society trying to dictate our beliefs as if there is no God to caremif we obey Him or man. This discussion is the same one the first Christians were having with Rome. In thosemdays it was leaving babies exposed to the elements. The Gentiles saw it asmamsocietal good. God sawmit as morally wrong. And Christians died for obey God rather than man.

        Like

      • “I’ve read the Constitution pretty thoroughly and there doesn’t appear to be a right to health insurance.”

        So?

        “or in your dad, Christians should concentrate on social justice rather than Biblical standards.”

        …”In my dad”? What? Normally I would try to guess what typos are, but haven’t the faintest idea with that one. Anyway, are you claiming that Biblical standards don’t call for justice and righteousness?

        “But again, that is society trying to dictate our beliefs as if there is no God to caremif we obey Him or man.”

        Right, it bothers me too.

        Like

      • The Constitution is there to acknowledge our preexisting heights, else our rights could be set has we by the government whenever it chooses. If you grant the ability to create “rights” whenever society changes it mind, you essentially grant the government and society to set aside long established rights at any whim. Freedom of speech, religion, fairmtrail, private property – gone with the societal wind. We’re there now.

        “Dad” – no idea how the tablet came up with that. Should be “case.”

        Like

      • “If you grant the ability to create ‘rights’ whenever society changes it mind”

        As in, the ability to change preexisting law? The ability to go back and modify previous decisions? …Isn’t that exactly what you’re rooting for in some cases? The law doesn’t have to be set in stone. Until humanity achieves perfection (haha) it’s better for it not to be.

        Like

      • There is a difference between Constitutional law that should only be changed with extremely careful thought andnstatutoy/legislative law that should probably notmexistm at all. If we were to set aside all of the legislative law that modifies the natural law found in the Constitution and simply return to the Constitution as written circa 1830 before the politicians got hold of it, we’d be a much freer country.

        Like

      • The Bible is pretty clear about how Christians are to live. Flee immorality! It doesn’t matter if it’s sexual immorality, cheating on our business partners, or killing our offspring. We’re supposed to not participate in it and stand up and say so. That’s why Christians died in the coliseums in the first few centuries of the Christian era, because they would not be conformed to the spirit of the age that was in rebellion to God and they were public about it. They did not hide their light under a mattress in an attempt to please the world.

        All Christians are guilty of sin and are, therefore, hypocrites. It’s impossible not to sin because we’re humans and we bent that way. That doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to strive not to sin, so that we are distinguished from the world around us. The impossibility of perfection does not mean you give up trying to be the best Christian you can be.

        Since the subject is sexual immorality, I’ll deal with that because sin is a HUGE topic.

        Christians definitely do need to examine themselves about their attitudes toward sexual immorality. The world would like us to say that certain behaviors we are squeamish about are just fine. It’s a personal choice. No problem!

        God would beg to differ. Through the apostle Paul, He told us that sexual immorality is a sin of a different flavor. It affects us more than other sins because it’s so extremely intimate. You become one flesh with those you have sex with. It is therefore a sin requiring special attention, not just by individuals in their personal lives, but by the church. We see in the two surviving letters to the Corinthian church that Paul dealt with the topic at least three times with that church alone. And, their situation is very illustrative for Christians in 21st century USA because it is almost exactly where we stand today.

        The church of Corinth was proud that a member of the congregation was publicly known to be having sex with his father’s wife. Adultery, incest … either way it was sexual immorality and Paul said the church needed to deal with it immediately and severely. This was not a time to display their freedom in Christ. Their forgiving attitude was not to their credit. Some sins could be dealt with in the church, but not this. The sinner needed to immediately repent or be expelled from the congregation in hopes that being dis-fellowshipped would bring him to his senses. We know that it worked and the Corinthian church (ever the spiritual clods that they were) then required instructions in readmitting the sinner back into the congregation.

        It’s no different today, even if the flavor of sexual immorality may be slightly different. Sin is sin and the church cannot welcome it into their midst without rebelling against God.

        It is true that Christians today need to examine themselves and find themselves wanting before God for the sexual immorality we allow in the church. I know several very dear people who are “married” outside of a covenantal relationship and there are couples in my church who are sexual active outside of the bounds of covenantal marriage. The church shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to that immorality and churches like mine are struggling to find ways to deal with members who are divorced and remarried or shacked up with one another. The church has been following the world and it has not been to our credit. That does not mean that we should also turn a blind eye to homosexual behavior within the church. It’s all the same sin before God.

        But it’s not just a matter of saying “get married”. As Christians, we need to get away from the idea that a marriage is created by the state. The state can only establish a contract. A marriage is a covenant. It’s a man and a woman (Bible is very clear on that) each individually covenanting with God and then agreeing with each other to mutually support those individual covenants. A non-Christian cannot form a covenant with God. That’s why Paul allowed that a Christian was free to remarry when the non-Christian left the partnership, but was not free if they were the ones to leave it. A “marriage” between two people in rebellion against God is also not covenant. I can sincerely lust after anyone I want, but that does not make a marriage under God’s law and therefore, same-sex couples cannot covenant with God for marriage because homosexual activity is sexual immorality and God will not be party to our sin no matter how much we may want Him to be.

        “Be no longer conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” (Romans 12:2)

        Like

      • “The Bible is pretty clear about how Christians are to live. Flee immorality!”

        Yeah, you would think that would include not doing business with China.

        “The world would like us to say that certain behaviors we are squeamish about are just fine. It’s a personal choice. No problem!”

        Yep. I’m pretty squeamish about the mere idea of PIV sex (standard “heterosexual sex”), but I’ll concur that that’s just me, and whether other people engage in it is their perog– oh. …You were disagreeing with this perspective?

        “That does not mean that we should also turn a blind eye to homosexual behavior within the church.”

        Yeah, the no-sex-before-marriage rule should apply equally across all orientations, I agree!

        “It’s a man and a woman (Bible is very clear on that) each individually covenanting with God and then”

        So a part of your argument here is that the Bible says non-binary people shouldn’t get married? Hm. Well, I suppose that may be possible, though I don’t see the reasoning.

        Like

      • Ah there we have it! You want God and Hisnfolloweres to accept and affirm your sin!

        Thank you for admitting that. God is not a concept made up in the minds of Christians. One of the waysn we know that He exists separate from us is that He requires us is He when He asks us to stop doing the activities we find extremely pleasurable. If we were making God up, He’d sound a great deal more like us. Which is why Christians refer to the Bible so often, to make sure that what we believe aligns with it rather than our own desires or the zeitgeist of our society.

        The Bible draws a clear picture of Biblical marriage. There are no”non binary” marriages. God mdefines marriage – not the state, not society,not you or me. The state can record a contract, but that is not a covenant and as I said before God will not stand party to our sin. If you want Biblical marriage, both partners must be Christians able to stand before God not an open rebellion to Him. Homosexual activity is open rebellion too God.

        Marriage isn’t the only covenantal relation where God will not stand party to our sin. I was a member of a church that hired a divorced and remarried man as pastor. We were proud of our forgiving stance, of our ability to accept his explanation for the divorce of his youth. We affirmed his remarriage of 27 years. That church went from being the largest church of that denomination in our town to strugglingnto keep the lights on in the space of three years. In the process of trying t0o figure out what we’d done wrong, we learned that the same thing had happened to every church this man had pastored. There is a covenant God makes with a church that it will obey Him rather than society”s latest fad. We didn’t and we paid that price. I learned from that experience to obey God rather than man, because I knew we were disobeying the Bible’s guidelines on pastors when we hired him, but we had our excuses and our conveniences and thought God would understand. We were wrong.
        You want God to affirm your pet sin. He won’t. I know some sins I wish He”d overlook for my pleasure. He won’t.

        He’s God. We’re not. We should obey God rather than man, most especially when we’d rather not.

        Like

      • “You want God and Hisnfolloweres to accept and affirm your sin!”

        ……what? What are you talking about? No, really. What are you talking about? I can’t tell what you’re referring to. Which sin do you mean?

        “There are no ‘non binary’ marriages.”

        …You don’t even know what that word refers to, do you.

        Like

      • You’re the one who used the words. I’m referring to your post. I assumed you were referring to homosexuals and coming out.

        Like

      • You’re going to have to be more specific. Is this all because I told you I find PIV sex kind of gross?

        Like

      • I may have misunderstood what you meant, yes
        Premarital sex is a sin. So is homosexual activity of anynlind. You can get then state to say it’s okay and you may even get a church body to agree to it, but it is still sin – open rebellion against God. It can therefore never be a “marriage” by Biblical definition.

        Like

      • “I may have misunderstood what you meant, yes”

        What did you misunderstand me as meaning?

        Like

      • That you advocate for same sex “marriage” because you are homosexuality dual. I apologize.

        I’m not sure then answer to premarital sex (homosexual or heterosexual) is “marriage”. Unless God builds the house, we labor in vainnto establish it. I’ve seen too many young people end up unequally yoked because they became convicted of their sexual behavior. We should probably advocate for am period of several months of celebacy and prayer and fasting before marriage is considered.

        Like

      • “because you are homosexuality dual”

        I’m… not sure what homosexuality dual means, but no, I am not gay. I’m also not straight, or bi.

        And yeah, I think that’s a good idea.

        Like

      • Down below, you said something was horrifying. To what were you referring?

        I think one of the biggest mistakes Christians make where we miss the will of God, is when we think the answer to sin lies in a human ritual that somehow sanctified our sin. If I’m having extramarital sex, the problem is not the sex so much as the rebellion against God that the sex presents. The answer lies not in getting in together with family and friends to make a contract with my sexual partner complete with magic words and flowers. Then solution is to get right with God. We think that we’ve stopped sinning because we had a magic ceremony, but in reality we’ve just justified our behavior. God males marriage. Two people in rebellion against Him can’t suddenly not be in rebellion because they got a marriage license or had a party.

        The sin needs to be dealt with and repented first and, if in doing it, a Christian chooses not to be unequally yoked, God can forgive it. I suspect there were many Biblically married New Testament Christians who did not come to their marriage bed as virgins and weren’t marrying the first person they slept with. Again, the covenant is only fully made by two Christians with hearts bent toward God agreeing to cooperate with each other to fulfill their separate covenants with God.

        Like

      • “Down below, you said something was horrifying. To what were you referring?”

        The grouping together of churches and corporations.

        “I think one of the biggest mistakes Christians make where we miss the will of God, is when we think the answer to sin lies in a human ritual that somehow sanctified our sin.”

        Yep.

        Like

      • I don’t see another way for congregational churches to do it. In hierarchial denominations (Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Methodists) which I am opposed to because I think it violates the priesthood of the believer and is a remnant of the state-chirch entanglement of the Middle Ages, the hierarchy owns the buildings and any other assets. There are congregational churches where the property is owned by the pastoral family. The obviousnrisks there are that a congregation is pretty much stuck with the pastor. I don’t think that’s healthy. I like our pastor, but if he’s found to be having sex with the secretary, I want to be able to fire him, not have to go find another church.

        I don’t know about other states, but here in Alaska, a corporation is really the only way to hold the property in common, allow for amfluid membership and also protect the individual members from being sued for their personal assets over church business. We have a couple of well off families in our congregation. If someone slips in the parking lot or the church must refuse to “marry” a gay couple, they should not be sued for their assets simply because they have deep pockets and the church doesn’t.

        And really, given your arguments against corporate entities having rights — you do realize that one area of argument for forcing churches to do all sorts of things, from conducting gay “weddings” to paying for abortificients is that a group of people cannot claim freedom of religion? I as an individual can refuse to attend a gay wedding, but my church cannot refuse to conduct one. I find that a reprehensible argument without historical merit, but that is the argument being made.

        Like

      • Yes, actually most congregationalist churches are essentially corporations and, here in Alaska, we are registered under the same state code as Hobby Lobby. The difference is that the members of my church are not mall blood related.

        Like

      • That’s horrifying.

        Like

  2. What s horrifying?

    Like

What's Your Opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Inside My Mind

Words from my brain

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Tales + Tail Wagging + Book Love + Writing + Art + Food + Dance + Travel + Joy

Fairfax and Glew

Vigilante Justice

The Wolf's Den

Overthink Everything

SaltandNovels

Sprinkling wonder into writing

Remmington Reads

A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

Magical BookLush

A New Dimension to Explore!! Love for books and series is all we need. Life can be lonely without books. All I love is books, series, and talking about serious causes like bodyshaming. Do join me if you love to live your life to the fullest

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Read. Write. Love. 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

Ediciones Promonet

Libros e eBooks educativos y de ficción

the dying fish

Book info, ordering, about me etc. in upper right

%d bloggers like this: