“But someone will say, ‘you have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18) and, “For as the body apart from the spiritis dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Jesus?

Let’s start with the assumption that there is a God. (Whether you believe in God or not, for the sake of my argument, let’s just say there is a God.) God is without sin because he is perfect, holy, and pure. Because he is perfect in righteousness and goodness he can’t be involved with any kind of sin—whether a white lie, or murder. So, how could he have a relationship with his people if they were sinful? Well, in the Old Testament he set up a way for people to be forgiven their sins on a temporary basis—through animal, grain, and drink sacrifices. These sacrifices had to be the best animals without imperfections, the finest grains and drinks. Nothing less would be accepted. After all, these were sacrifices from the people of things that were very important to them. This was their way of repenting their sins to God. (God hated the pagan practice of human sacrifice.) But God being all knowing had a better plan for mankind. They couldn’t go on sacrificing forever. It was only a temporary fix. So the only way forgiveness of sins would work is that he had to make it work—not the people through sacrifices. And here is the beauty of his logic. He needed the perfect sacrifice, one that would take care of sins on a forever, not temporary basis. So God , who is perfect and without sin, became human through Jesus, calling him his Son. Jesus, was man and God, but had the same attributes of man. He could be tempted, be hungry, sad, angry, thirsty, tired and feel pain. Jesus could empathize with man’s state. So what did God do? He sacrificed Son—Jesus-- the perfect unblemished “sacrificial lamb”. Here is the second part of his logic that is so compelling. Jesus would only die once. Thus, that one act would cover the sins of those people who believed in Jesus’ sacrifice of himself for their sins. This one act would cover their sins—forever. It was not a temporary fix. God knows, as we know, we will always be sinning one way or another, but if we recognize these sins, confess and ask for forgiveness, they are covered through Jesus. Jesus, being God rose from the dead to show his divinity. It’s brilliant. There’s so much more to say, but I’ll just talk about one last thing. The Bible—because that’s where our information comes from. The Old Testament: Content grew and was gathered from ancient prophets. Much was aligned with historicity of those times. The Jews historically have collected writings, traditions from OT writers and it reflects their history. The Ten Commandments were some of the earliest writings of the OT. Archeological findings like the Dead Sea Scrolls (i.e. the Book of Isaiah) have been unearthed. Jesus as well as writers of the New Testament often referred to OT Scripture. After about 435 BC there were no more additions to the OT. It originally was translated into Greek. New Testament: Five principals were used to evaluate the writings: Is it authoritative, is it prophetic, is it authentic, is it dynamic? Do the writings portray the integral part of the history of redemption? NT historicity aligns with those ancient times. The writers of the books often had personal testimony of authenticity from the writers of other books in the NT. In some cases, when an author is not known, such as the book of Hebrews, the words are self-attesting.