"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace

Are All Beliefs Based Upon a Saving Faith?

This seeker had some very interesting comments and questions regarding Christianity. I am posting his questions and my response in hope that this may help someone else who is struggling with the same or similar issue. God bless you all!

"Hello Everyone,I'm currently 17 years old and have been a practicing Christian for all my life, however lately I've read books by Richard Dawkins and about things in life in general and I'm highly considering becoming an Agnostic (someone who believes that the evidence for and against the existence of God is inconclusive)

Even though I'm still researching this let me explain why I am thinking of converting.
All religions (this includes Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc) rely on one thing: faith. And this faith has zero evidence that it's true. I've come to realize that all these religions can not be true, it's simply impossible, so what makes my belief in one of them correct?

Christians say that only through Jesus will you enter the kingdom of Heaven, Muslims say belief in Allah and Mohammed, Hindu's and others have their own interpretations. But why stay and practice Christianity if there is no evidence that it's true.

Chances are that your parents have the same religion as you...am I wrong? We are told what to believe at a young age, so it'd be wrong to say we "chose" Christianity unless you're a convert.

Anyways, these were my thoughts, and I wanted your opinions.
In Christ

- Blank"

Dear Blank,

These are very trying times for our faith. Many are struggling with their faith and scripture warns us that in the end times many will fall away from the truth. How I pray that this scripture not fulfilled in your life.

Satan knows his time is short, so he is using people such as Richard Dawkins and others with their humanistic, universal, and unitarian philosophies and/or theories to attack the very foundation of the Christian faith.

Interestingly enough, I was listening to Sirrius radio (Spirit Channel-066) yesterday afternoon (07/06/07) and one of the programs (wish I could remember) was talking about this very subject. It is troubling to know that there are a number of authors, not to mention men and women in the pulpit and throughout the church today who are encouraging others to walk in an "all inclusive" theology. No Supreme Being. No absolute truth!

I just want to touch on a couple of misconceptions you may have. One, I don't believe all "religions" rely on faith—or, at least not a saving faith. Outside of Christianity, you will find that other faiths build their foundational belief upon some type of good "works" theology. Or, worse, Jesus isn't enough, so you need to add something more!

With such "faiths" salvation is rarely a guarantee. Salvation must be earned by living up to a particular faith's standard of right and wrong. You must know that this is impossible for any man because God, the Faithful and True Judge, judges our hearts, our actions and our motives! Christianity does not build it's foundation upon personal works, but, rather, upon the saving work accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross.

You are right that all "faiths" cannot be true. Judaism's foundation is based upon the Law (Torah--Ten Commandments). However, if you talk to many Jews today, most no longer believe the validity of God's word. They view it as mere myth or teaching stories, illustrations for life—not fact! Why? The law offers only hopelessness because no one can live up to God's holy standard. They were never meant to! The Law is a mirror showing us our sin!

Then, there is Islam which gives one no a guarantee of eternal life—unless you choose to martyr yourself. Oh, and there are specifics about that, too. Blowing yourself up is a pretty steep price to pay by anyone's standard. The only other way is through 5 steps, really, "works". Even then, if you were to faithfully keep these steps your entire life, it is still up to the judgment of Allah (not, Jehovah, by the way) whether or not you may enter paradise. Surprise!

Catholicism—living a sinless life and doing penance when you don't! This is a Jesus plus something else belief. Oh, be careful you don't die in mortal sin—without having made confession and receiving absolution from an earthly "priest". Otherwise, you end up going straight to hell—no passing "Go", no collecting $200! Better just keep to those "little" sins, at least that way others here on earth can pray you out of purgatory. Fear based works!

Of course, there is always the belief that we just keep coming back in some form or another until we get this "life" thing right. Boy, we'll be doing that for a long time, won't we? Pretty hopeless!

I could go on and on, but please know this with complete certainty—faith based upon works can only bring spiritual death!

It has been said that mere "religion" reaches up—our awesome God reaches down. Scripture says this is foolishness to the world. Guess most would view God's great gift that way because they do not have a part in saving themselves. Big leap for this "works" driven society!

Admittedly, it is hard to believe that God would say, "I am a loving God, but I am also a just God. In fact, I am a holy, consuming fire! I love you, but I hate sin. I cannot even look upon it! Your sin has broken my holy Law and the just penalty I have set is death. I know you cannot possibly save yourself, nor can you hope to obtain to My standard of sinlessness. So, because I love you so very, very much, I will accomplish what is impossible for you! I am God, having all power and authority. I will take upon Myself the wrath I have against your sin and receive in My flesh your death penalty. I offer you an exchange based upon My holy judgment—I AM God. I will give you My righteousness in exchange for your unrighteousness. The only work you have in this arrangement (covenant) that I have initiated with you is to believe that I am able to accomplish this!

The argument against Christianity today is that it is not "all-inclusive". Christianity does not allow for other views or opinions. The truth is Christians, those of us who follow Christ Jesus, did not come up with the belief that Christ is the only way to heaven—Jesus Christ Himself did and still does! He called Himself the Good Shepherd, willing to lay down His life for His sheep. Anyone—any faith, religion or belief that attempts to enter the sheep gate by any other means is a lair and a fraud. So, if you want to argue that Christianity is exclusive, then you will have to take that one up with God Almighty and He's very jealous of the glory due Him and His Son!

Another thing you mentioned is "practicing" Christianity. True, most do practice other beliefs, Islam, Hinduism, humanism, New Age and other "isms". Christianity is unique in that you don't practice your faith, you live your faith—you live Christ! Really, it goes deeper than that because you cannot practice or even live Christianity simply because you choose to. You live Christianity because Christ lives in you! Christianity is not, indeed, cannot be inherited by the beliefs of previous generations, it must be an individually chosen.

Yes, it is impossible to fathom God and His ways. God chooses a plan of salvation that totally grates against our very "works" oriented nature and culture. God requires that we step away from any "work" and put total, child-like trust or "faith" in Him and in Him alone. The only "work" He requires from each of us is to believe that God Himself would step out of heaven onto this earth, take on flesh and willingly choose to go all the way to the cross for us—the vilest of the vile.

Sounds like a fairy tale. That's total understandable because God's offer of salvation and eternal life is so simplistic—for us, simply believe. Oh, but it cost God infinitely more! It cost Him the agony of watching His beloved Son beaten beyond recognition, bleeding, hanging and dying upon a cursed cross for our sins—in our place. What other so-called "faith" has a God that would do such a thing? None!

God's way is the only way. Why? In this way our God receives all the glory because not one of us will ever be able to boast that we saved ourselves. Salvation and eternal life is not about what we accomplish. It is all about what God accomplished for us!

Of course, you could choose to just ignore the fact that there is a God. That's a pretty big stretch for anyone. It's hard to believe that this world just happened. Big boom and suddenly everything just evolved (even if it was over ions of time). It is hard to believe that this world just happened to spin itself into just the right orbit and at just the right angle for life to be sustainable. It is even harder to believe that each creature and man just happened to evolve with its own innate instinct for survival, its own level of intelligence, etc. If you know that our God is a God of order, then you know this world was planned! Way too complex for happenstance from one tiny cell! Come on!

I came from a Catholic and Baptist background (though, neither parent really lived out their faith). I chose Christ—not a religion. It wasn't easy for me. I ran a long, long time!

I know I can trust the One Who created me, who loved me enough to bring me into this world knowing I would rebel and sin. He prepared a way to save me—from me. Pretty big job! Pretty big God! Glory to Him!

Yes, yes! I trust Him to save me to the uttermost and one day, to let me see Him face to face! What a Savior! What a God!
I know this is lengthy, but I so want you to know my God! Oh, I pray you do not fall away, but humbly come to the One Who saves! Please know I will be praying for you!