COMPLETE Messages To Seekers, Doubters and Unbelievers in Coronavirus Times
"Messages For Seekers, Doubters And Unbelievers In Coronavirus Times" consists of five messages prepared for visitors to our website who are seeking the true faith, or have doubts about faith generally, or are unbelievers but nevertheless interested in getting a basic idea of what Christianity is about. The messages were prepared against the background of the coronavirus crisis, during which thousands of people have been seeking to find a deeper meaning to their life. Here is the complete series of messages.
1. Who Can Help Me?
My name is Harry and I’m the pastor of Warsaw International Church – Warsaw being the capital of Poland. I’ve prepared these messages for those seeking to find out more about the Christian faith, or for people who, perhaps like you, are even unbelievers, but for some reason have found yourself on the receiving end of this message. Why we do things is a mystery to us. I myself often browse through all kinds of different websites and end up at many unexpected locations, where I might find something of interest to me. If our minds are open, we can really educate ourselves on the Internet.
I’m also aware that you could be from any place on earth – and that the only thing we have in common is a knowledge of the English language. That’s enough to communicate! Perhaps, apart from just browsing, you have a real interest in our church. Maybe you have some connection with Poland or Warsaw. Maybe you’re just wondering what Christians believe in. Maybe you have problems of your own that you can’t resolve, and are looking for answers.
The whole world has been turned upside down these past few months. Everybody has been taken by surprise by a totally unexpected catastrophe, the full effects of which are yet to be seen. At first, there was a sense that it would all be over quickly, and people weren’t bothered too much about it. But now, matters are very serious, and more and more of us are being touched in one way or another. We may have been infected ourselves – or our relatives perhaps. We may have had our work salaries cut back, or even lost our jobs. We may be suffering any one of a hundred different consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, and the situation still seems to be getting worse.
All this is placing an ever-increasing stress on us. We’re starting to ask questions like: Why is this happening? Does God exist? If so, why is He allowing this? Is this the beginning of the end of the world? What do Christians believe about this? And dozens of other questions. We’re asking questions many of us had never asked before. Many of us have lived comfortable lives for so long, that we’re now finding it stressful to cope with the uncertainty that the coronavirus has brought with it. We ask: What will happen to me? What will become of my plans? Is my philosophy of life the true one? What happens if I suddenly fall ill and start suffocating? Is there more than just this life? If God exists, what does He think of me? Will He accept me, or condemn me? Have I scored enough points and done enough good deeds to be accepted by Him when I die?
When I was much younger, I would ask myself such questions. I tried to persuade myself that God does not exist. If God didn’t exist, then it would make almost everything much easier to explain. I would have thought that, by an amazing coincidence, I came into this world, would luckily live a long and happy life, and then hopefully die a gentle death, and that would be the end of me. Very simple, modern thinking.
But there was one issue that kept paralyzing me: my own death. I knew that the years would pass by gradually, and then I myself would be like those helpless elderly people in care homes. When I looked at them, I saw myself in the future – and then I too would die. I personally couldn’t contemplate the idea of ceasing to exist completely. It didn’t make sense to me. I arrive in the world by chance; I learn to live, to laugh, to love, to make music. And then I die, and it’s all over. Crazy. I also grappled with a purely philosophical question. The world that I see around me: does it actually exist as I see it? Am I just a walking creature with two holes in my face – my eyes – a sort of window through which I see the world? Or is everything I see a creation of my mind? Is the world outside me, or within my brain? I still don’t know the answer to that. If you asked me, I would say: both. The thought amazes me.
These nagging questions made me determined to find out the truth for myself; and I wasn’t going to be side-tracked by what even the most well-meaning friends or relatives wanted me to believe. I spent so much time reading all about the different religions and philosophies of life. When I say “religions”, I don’t mean how they are practised – I mean what they teach in their holy books. I realized they couldn’t all be true; and I had to decide what was true and what was false, no matter where it took me. The one thing I’ve always had is a passion for the truth, and a willingness to admit I am wrong. If you have such an attitude, you already have a lot going for you!
The only teaching that made any sense to me was that in the Bible – and at first, not even the Old Testament part of it. It was the New Testament that attracted me – that part of the Bible which tells about Jesus. It was obvious to me that Jesus is the central element of Christianity: no Jesus, no Christian faith. I was fascinated by Jesus. So I started reading the New Testament for myself – I didn’t want anyone to influence me. I wanted to arrive at my own conclusions. That’s why I think it’s a shame that the Bible is forbidden by many governments. It gives the impression, rightly or wrongly, that they don’t want their own people to think for themselves. Dear Friend, in today’s message I want to draw your attention to Jesus. I hope you come to the same conclusion that I did – that no other historical person compares with Him. I also hope you realize that one day, perhaps even sooner than you think, it will be time for you to die. Will you simply cease to exist? Are you so sure there is nothing more? Supposing there is something more – are you ready for it? What’s really going on inside you, behind the confident expression on your face? Are you really like that impression you give other people of being – good, kind, unselfish? Are you really like that? Or are you more of a mess deep down – self-centred, aware of your many sins and wrongdoings, concealing secrets you’d prefer other people not to know about? One day you may have to account for them to God.
In my next message, I shall take a closer look at Jesus: who He is, what He did, and what Christians believe about Him. There’s a lot of ground to cover, because Jesus Christ mysteriously draws a person who’s interested in Him closer and closer into a living relationship with Him. This relationship turns out to be what is most essential in Christianity: a personal faith in Jesus Christ. And yes, you guessed it: it’s a faith in Jesus not as a dead man who died 2,000 years ago, but as someone who is still very much alive.
2. Jesus – Man And God
I had no difficulty in believing that Jesus really existed as a man, especially because this is supported by several references to Jesus in the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who lived a generation after Jesus. I believed that Jesus lived, taught people, was unjustly arrested, and crucified as an innocent man, because the Jewish people had turned against Him.
However, I found it difficult to believe that He had been conceived without any sexual relations between His father Joseph and His mother Mary – which is what the New Testament tells us. Neither could I believe that He healed people miraculously or raised them from the dead. Also, I couldn’t believe that, after His death on the cross, He rose from the dead Himself. I regarded all these supernatural events as early Christian propaganda. Nevertheless, I had great respect for Jesus’ moral teachings. Apart from one or two sayings which I thought were out of place, they made excellent sense to me, and I didn’t know of any other teacher whose teachings went so deep. They went straight to my heart.
However, this wasn’t the whole picture of Jesus which I had, because in the Bible He is also known as “Jesus Christ”, or simply, “Christ”. The word “Christ” comes from a Greek word meaning “Anointed One” (remember that, while the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was written in Greek). The Hebrew equivalent for “Christ” is “Messiah” – in other words, “one who is anointed”. Jesus was God’s “Anointed One”, whose coming is prophesied and promised all through the Old Testament part of the Bible. That’s the value of the Old Testament: it points the way to Jesus. Jesus is a special person who is to save God’s people from their sins. Whenever I saw the word “Christ” in the Bible, a strange thing happened. It meant something super-human, something divine to me. The word “Jesus” for me represented the man; but the word “Christ” represented God. Statements like “the Spirit of Christ”, “Christ the power of God”, and “Christ the Rock” made me think of God, not of a man. And indeed, despite what some non-Christians believe about Jesus, the Bible – and Christianity – teach that Jesus was and is both God and man. Jesus and God are one and the same. The New Testament refers to “our God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1, 1). This might be a new idea for you, but it is what Christians believe and teach.
So I knew that there was something special about Jesus, which no man living before or since has ever had: He was both man and God who came to earth. Of course, why God should come to earth as a man is a separate question, which I will consider in the next message. However, I still had this dilemma. Jesus was a man who somehow had God in Him: He was close to God, and His amazing teachings and authority proved it. But surely all those miraculous events concerning Him – His birth, His healings and His bodily rising from the dead – surely they couldn’t possibly be true? I actually held these ideas for many years, even though I considered myself a good Christian and went to church regularly. So there was something incomplete about my faith. I was a believer – and yet I didn’t believe everything the Bible tells us about Jesus.
There was also another aspect in which my faith was still incomplete, or immature. This concerned the events of my daily life – I couldn’t see God in it. I believed that God existed. But maybe He existed just in my mind. Or maybe He was somewhere else, not concerned with this world and its suffering. In the world, evil usually triumphs over good. The strong crush the weak. The rich exploit the poor. Where was God in this? It was as if my personal faith in God was something private, and had no relation to what was happening in the world outside. Maybe you are feeling like that right now: the coronavirus seems to be running our planet, and God seems absent. Of course, the result of such thinking is that we are afraid. I too was afraid, because I was always worrying about what terrible things could happen to me at any time: tragedies involving health, work, money, love relationships. I felt I couldn’t rely on God, because He just didn’t seem to be around. Jesus was close to God. The first Christians were close to God. But I couldn’t get close to Him.
There was also one more problem. Even though I knew that Jesus had God in Him, and even though I preferred Christianity to other faiths, I still couldn’t help feeling that other paths would lead to God too – the way of the Buddhist, for instance. Or the way of the Jew, or the Muslim, or the Hindu. Even the way of good atheists, who didn’t believe in God, but who were kind and generous. This created a conflict within me, because the Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to God. In the Bible, Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14, 6). Nobody else! Can you imagine? Truth is a Person – not an intellectual formulation. So there I was with my dilemmas: a sort of Christian, but not believing in the miraculous side of Jesus; not fully believing that faith in Him is the only way in which we can be saved; and not really experiencing the presence of God in my daily life, but rather being full of worry and uncertainty because I still, deep down, believed that everything that happens to me happens by chance, by accident. I was a practising Christian without the full experience of faith and peace.
Do you know what helped me? I would pray to God to help me with these problems and give me a unity of vision which was in harmony with the unity of the Bible, and also give me the peace and joy which I craved so much. All I can say is that one day – I can’t even say which particular day – I opened my Bible to read about Jesus; and suddenly everything just made perfect sense! In an instant, in almost a supernatural way, all my doubts had been removed, and I realized that not only were the miraculous descriptions about Jesus true, but in fact, if He was God (as the Bible claims), there is no other possibility but that they had to be true. This faith I received also brought me a peace and joy which I hadn’t known before. I knew that God had come to earth for a purpose; that He was therefore interested and present in the everyday events that happened to me; and also that He did not come to earth in anybody else. I now knew that Jesus really is exclusive, and that this rules out every other way to God. All these big dilemmas had been resolved in one go, by my sudden realization of who Jesus was and is.
Let me ask you some questions. If there is a God, is it really so surprising that He could come to earth as a man, to help the very people He created – people who are lost and don’t know what the truth is? Why shouldn’t He come to earth to save us? And if He did come to earth, wouldn’t it make sense that He could be born in a miraculous way, perform miracles and heal people during His life on earth, and rise from the dead after dying? Wouldn’t it also make sense that, if He is God, then His way must be the only way – and other ways are just human inventions? And finally, if He is God, doesn’t that prove to us that things do not happen by chance? Doesn’t it mean that God even intended this coronavirus crisis to happen, for a purpose? And if things do not happen by accident, because God exists and does everything for a purpose, is it not vital that you should have a proper relationship to Him, to ensure that the way you are living, and the thoughts you are thinking, actually please Him?
I hope my experience and these questions encourage you to find out more about what the Bible says about Jesus. The best thing is to find out for yourself by reading the New Testament, which gives us the essence of the Christian faith. Please don’t despair because of the coronavirus situation. God has everything under control. Just seek God, and do not rest until you find Him. And then you’ll find the answers to your questions.
3. You Can’t Save Yourself
How exactly are we to think of God and Jesus? Are they two separate beings? Two separate gods? Is one of them greater than the other? And if they are one God, how can He be on earth as Jesus and at the same time be in heaven, or in control of the rest of the universe? These were the questions I was facing, after I understood that God had come to earth as the man Jesus Christ.
The first thing to say about God is that He is not only the Creator of the universe and everything that exists, but that He has always been and always will be. Before anything ever existed, God was there – and after even the whole universe comes to an end, God will still be there. He exists eternally. In the Bible’s Old Testament, there is a story about how Moses sees a bush in the desert, which doesn’t stop burning. He realizes that God is somehow appearing to him in that bush, and God talks to Him. When Moses asks God His name, God replies: “I AM WHO I AM”. I AM WHO I AM – that is the nature of God: always living, and always present.
The Bible also describes God as having a hidden aspect, which no man can ever see – also called the “Father” – and a creative, outgoing aspect, which is called the “Word”: in other words, the Word that the Father speaks. This is how creation came into being. The Father spoke His Word (not literally, of course), and the universe was created. Everything that God created was good. God loved His creation. And the highpoint of God’s creation – at least on our planet – was man. Man was the highpoint because God created Him to reflect something of Himself: something of His intelligence, something of His goodness, something of His love. Very often today, you will hear what – in my opinion – is an unnecessary debate: did God create the universe in one go, or did it evolve, as science teaches us? Actually, even Charles Darwin, who thought up the theory of evolution, believed in God. For him, there was no conflict between God and evolution. I have a brother-in-law who is a lecturer in geology, and he tells his students at the beginning of each academic year that he is a Christian. He also knows very well that rocks and fossils of creatures appeared in different geological ages, stretching over hundreds of millions of years. And he says to his students: “Just in case you’re going to ask me how I can reconcile my faith in God with evolution, I’ll tell you. In the Bible, it says that, with God, one day is like a thousand years. So there’s no reason why God should not create everything over a very long period of time”. And then his students no longer ask him such questions!
God created man to be a reflection of His own goodness and love. But when we look at man down the ages, and also man today, we don’t see too much of this goodness and love. We see a lot of evil: violence, greed, betrayal and exploitation. People often resemble the devil more than they represent God. Speaking of the devil, we haven’t mentioned him before. Where does he come from? Where does evil come from? And what changed us from godly creatures into little devils?
The Bible tells us that there was an evil force around, which at some stage tempted man to do wrong. We see this in the well-known story of Adam and Eve, and the snake which tempts them into disobeying God and eating fruit from a tree they weren’t supposed to eat from. We can think of the story like this: when we are born, we are still in quite a godly state of being. Babies and very small children often give us the impression of being close to God: innocent, not yet touched by the dirtiness of this world. But there is already an evil presence in the world, which sooner or later will lead them astray as they grow up – not just once, but many times. In the Christian faith, God created only good creatures. Among those creatures were angels – superior, more intelligent and powerful creatures than ourselves, who dwelt in heaven, which God had also created along with the universe. It was pride – a desire to be God Himself – that led a leading angel to rebel against God, taking one third of all the angels in heaven with him. They were banished from heaven to earth, becoming demons that tempt people to disobey God – sometimes even possessing or controlling people. These fallen angels or demons will be destroyed by God, but for now He allows them to lead men and women astray. In the story of Adam and Eve and the snake, the snake represents that leading demon, also called the “devil” or “Satan”, who succeeds in getting Adam and Eve to disobey God. Adam and Eve represent our ancestors, and what the Bible says is that every human being inherits the sinfulness of those ancestors.
You have probably seen trees with all the leaves on them covered in spots – the whole tree is sick. Well, that’s how it is with the “tree of man”. Every new leaf that springs from it – in other words, every new-born child – is stained with the spots of sin, and will by nature turn away from God. This inherited sinfulness is called “original sin”, and it shows the extent to which the devil comes into each person’s life. In fact, we are all helplessly sick because of sin, and by ourselves we can’t get out of this mess. We’re not strong enough, and after death we are in danger of going to the same place where the devil will go – to hell. God will punish us for having turned away from Him. Even if it’s only one sin, we have sinned against a holy God and deserve to be condemned.
Have you ever tried to make and keep New Year resolutions? To give up your favorite indulgences as of January 1st? For example, smoking, or over-eating, or addictive computer games? It doesn’t usually work, does it? In the same way, we think we can save ourselves from being condemned by God by doing good deeds, trying to be nice and kind, and so on. We think that if we will try hard enough, we might score enough points for God to let us into heaven. And maybe that is what other religions believe and teach. But not Christianity.
Christianity teaches – the Bible teaches – that no one can get to heaven by their own strength. We are too sinful: our very nature inclines us towards sin. We are like those spotted leaves. If God doesn’t step in to help us, we will all die, being eternally separated from God. You would die like that too. You cannot save yourself, no matter how good you try to be.
This leads us to the 64,000-dollar question: “What must I do to be saved? If I can’t do anything to save myself, how can I possibly be saved from hell? Is there any hope for me?”
I think those are the questions you should be asking yourself. Examine your conscience. How often have you turned away from God? Maybe you’re turned away from Him now. How often have you done, said or even thought things you know God would condemn, because He is holy? If you’re honest, the answer will be: many, many, many times. Your unbelief itself is a turning away from God, a rebellion, a thinking that you know better than God. If you’re honest with yourself, you’re not good and kind at all. You’re full of sin and impurity, and therefore you’re heading for a disastrous confrontation with God. One day, there will be a showdown. Is there a way out for you?
4. What God Has Done For You
I wonder what the coronavirus situation is like in your country. Manageable? Improving? Unbearable? Here in Poland, I have some relatives who decided to leave the Polish capital Warsaw for a whole month and drive to their property right out in the countryside, where they hope to get away from the virus. Maybe they will succeed in that. But sooner or later, if the coronavirus doesn’t get them, another – more universal – virus will: a virus which really infects every single one of us. In the previous message, I was saying that the whole of mankind is sick – like sick leaves on a tree, because of everyone’s sinfulness. It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, religious or unreligious, or if you’ve only sinned a few times in your life or hundreds of times each day. We’re all in the same boat – heading for eternal separation from God after we die, because even one sin against Him is a terrible offence against His holiness, and punishable by eternal alienation from Him in the afterlife. If God is just, He has to punish us for our sins.
You may say: “Yes, but surely God is loving and forgiving”. That’s true. But the fact remains that someone has to pay the price for our sinning. God is holy. He’s not like someone you can hurt all the time and he’ll just keep forgiving you. If God were like that, we’d have no respect for Him. He would be smaller than we are, because we’d be constantly ignoring Him and then expecting Him to just forgive us. Very many people think like that. And they continue to ignore and turn away from God all their life.
Our natural condition, then, is that we are all on the road to condemnation – on the road to hell. Everybody. It doesn’t matter what tradition we belong to – whether we call ourselves atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims or even Christians. Yes, even if we are born into a Christian family, we are still born with a sinful nature. Unless this state of affairs changes, we too will die in our sins and be eternally separated from God. Trying to be good by attending church, getting baptized, reciting prayers, singing hymns or donating money will not remove the sin which we have inherited. We cannot save ourselves.
This information would seem to be terrible news. But the Bible is a book – actually a collection of books – which provides not only that bad news, but also, more importantly for us, good news: the good news that God, in His love and mercy, decided to do something about our unhappy situation. He decided to save us from our sins. Can you understand that? In every other religion, you and I have to do something to get to God. But in the Christian faith, we cannot do anything to get to God – and so God does something for us.
Do you know what God did for us? He – the great “I AM WHO I AM” – came to earth Himself, in the form of a person, the man Jesus, in order to save people like you and me from their sins. The Bible puts it like this: “The Word (in other words, the creative, outward aspect of God) became human and made His home among us”. God the Word had created the universe in the first place, but now that same Word was coming into His own creation as a man! You can see that I’m telling you that Jesus was – and is – the Word made human. Or, to put it more simply, Jesus was – and is – God. This may create a problem for you if you have been brought up in a tradition which teaches that Christians believe that God had sexual relations with a woman called Mary, who gave birth to a baby boy called Jesus, who was therefore the son of God. Actually, not a single Christian in the world believes that. Every Christian will tell you that God chose to come into the world Himself, as the man Jesus – and without His earthly parents having had any sexual relations whatsoever.
Remember what I stated in my previous message: that the hidden, invisible side of God is commonly referred to as God the Father. Jesus, however, is the creative, outward-going side of God made flesh: the Word becoming a human being. As a human being, Jesus usually referred to Himself as the “son of man” – indicating that He had come to earth in the humble form of a true man. But other people in the Bible, perhaps unfortunately, referred to Him as the “Son of God”, emphasizing His divine nature. So please remember that “Son of God” is just a title of the highest respect. It is not a description of Jesus as God’s little son! Actually, Christian teaching calls Jesus “true God and true man”, meaning that Jesus had two natures – human and divine – in perfect unity. So God and Jesus are one and the same. Jesus said: “The Father and I are one”.
Just pause to think for a minute. How can a holy God save sinful man? Well, how can you heal the sick leaves on a tree? Can you heal the leaves individually? No. You have to heal the tree itself. The sick leaves will fall off and die away. But once the tree is healed, new and healthy leaves will grow from the branches. Jesus the God-Man didn’t come so much to heal individual people – though He did that as well – as to heal the whole tree of mankind, which was sick and dead in its sins. Was it His teachings that healed mankind? No – that wouldn’t have been sufficient. Was it His healing miracles? No – because they merely concerned individual people. God had to do something much more radical to save mankind from the devil’s clutches.
What God actually did do was so amazing that, even today, Christians find it hard to grasp. Remember that, because God is just and holy, a price always has to be paid for sin. You would expect the price for your sins to be condemnation by God. In actual fact, God, in His mercy, decided to let you go free, and He paid the price for your sins Himself – through Jesus Christ! What other religion teaches that God Himself pays the price for man’s sins?! This was the real reason why God came into this world as Jesus in the first place.
How did God pay the price for your sins? In the times of the Old Testament, the Jewish nation would sacrifice a lamb to pacify God, who was angry at the sins they had committed. But now, with Jesus, the Word of God become human allowed Himself to be willingly sacrificed for your sins and my sins, through His crucifixion – His suffering and death on a cross 2,000 years ago. Instead of an animal, it is the God-Man Himself who is sacrificed: Jesus the Lamb of God. One single sacrifice for all time. Nothing else needs to be sacrificed.
The Bible teaches that, through Jesus’ self-sacrifice, God is reconciled to mankind, and man need no longer be condemned to eternal separation from God. Let’s say it again: we are sinful and deserve to be damned forever by God, but God made a self-sacrifice to release us from that penalty. The consequence of our inherited “original sin” is therefore removed, and the tree of mankind is healed, so that it has the possibility of producing healthy leaves and good fruit. We have all, as it were, been given a second chance. But remember, it cost God an enormous price to buy us back – or “redeem” us – from the devil’s clutches. It shows the great depth of God’s love for all mankind, including you and me.
Jesus’ death on the cross was a precious sacrifice for God, but a victory over the devil, because the devil now no longer has a claim on us on account of our inherited sins. The power of sin has been removed forever. We couldn’t do it, but God did it for us. Ask yourself these questions. Are you aware how sick you are because of your own sinfulness? Are you aware that, without God’s help, you would die forever in those sins of yours? Are you aware that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop yourself sinning once and for all? Can you imagine how much God loves you, despite your sins, and was prepared to sacrifice Himself so that you could avoid being punished for them? The Christian faith, then, is really all about what God has already done for us.
5. What You Need To Do
In this last message, I will look more clearly at what Jesus Christ has already done for every man, woman and child on this planet, and why it is so important for each one of us to understand and believe that.
We have seen how God came to earth as a man – Jesus – to save people from their sins, and from the effects of those sins, by Jesus’ deliberate death on a cross. But how can we understand what Jesus did on the cross, through His sacrificial death? Let me show you, by giving you an example from my own life. I started my career as a language teacher in England. I was appointed to one position in a school in the middle of the school year, which was a bit unusual because vacancies are usually at the end of the school year. After I’d accepted the job, I discovered that I was to be the class teacher of a class of unruly teenage girls. Then I found out that my predecessor had left so suddenly because she had had a nervous breakdown trying to control the girls. Wasn’t that nice! I really had to put my foot down with those girls, but gradually I earned their respect, and by the end of the school year we were almost enjoying each other’s company! You see, those girls had two teachers in charge of them. The first teacher had allowed them to get out of control, and they were messing around all the time. Then there was a change of teacher, as I took over. But at first, they were still behaving as badly as they did before. It was what they were used to, and what they expected. Only after some time did they realize that they couldn’t mess around with me, and so they gradually changed.
That example is a bit like the history of mankind. At first, man is under his old master the devil, who encourages man to keep on sinning and breaking God’s holy laws. But then came Jesus who, by His death on the cross, paid the price to free mankind from the devil’s power, and, as it were, became man’s new master – a good, positive master, who would bring out the best in man.
But look what happens. Man now has a new master to follow – Jesus Christ – but, like those girls, continues to want to behave as if the old master – the devil – were still in charge of him! People in the world today don’t believe that an astounding change has occurred. They don’t realize that they need no longer be condemned for their sins, because Jesus has made provision for them to be protected and saved! They don’t realize that they can now simply have a direct relationship with God through their new master Jesus Christ, and that their previous sinning will then simply die away as they follow and obey Him! They don’t believe these things. Now, if you don’t believe or realize something very important in life, you will miss out on some vital benefits. If you intend to catch a train to go somewhere, and the train schedule changes and you don’t know about it or believe it, you will miss your train. Or if somebody gives you a cheque in an envelope as a gift, but you don’t open the envelope, you won’t gain anything, will you? It will be as if you didn’t have it, and you will behave as if you didn’t have it – even if you actually do have it! You will have missed out.
How can people wake up to such a realization that God has in fact already come to their rescue? Christians have to tell them about it – which is why I’m addressing you, dear Friend. I’m telling you that Jesus Christ the Word of God died for you on the cross, to break the power of sin in your life, that you might no longer serve your old master the devil through your unbelief. You can serve God instead. If you continue in your old ways and your unbelief, you will have condemned yourself to eternal death. You will have missed the train. You will have failed to open the envelope.
God does not want you to get to Him by trying to save yourself: salvation is God’s department. So you don’t need to think about doing good in order to score lots of points with God. God has already done for you what you need! That’s His free gift to you! What He wants is for you to repent of your sins, including your false beliefs about God and Jesus. In other words, deeply regret those sins, make a determined effort to turn away from them, and acknowledge your new Master – Jesus Christ – putting your faith in Him and trusting in Him as the one true God. And do you know what He will do? Like me and my class of girls, He will gradually change your behaviour and your way of thinking, until you become the wonderful person He wants you to be.
That’s all that Christianity is about. Not, in the first place about going to church – but about deeply and sincerely regretting your sins and wrong beliefs, turning your thoughts to Jesus and what He did for you on the cross, and asking Him to come into your life and give it meaning, and to change you. If you want to walk with Jesus, you must turn away from your own notions and self-centredness every day, and follow His guidance in your life. Yes indeed, Jesus is very much alive! He didn’t suffer and die on the cross and that was the end of it. No! He suffered and died as a man – but the “God” part of Him cannot die, and lives on. Remember, He is the great “I AM WHO I AM”. He is the Word of God. Nobody worships a God who is dead. We wouldn’t worship Jesus if He had simply died and that was the end of Him. Neither would there be any possibility of having our sins forgiven. We would still be guilty of them. On the second day after His death, Jesus physically rose from the dead. His body had been laid in a tomb (which was guarded, according to one account), but when people looked inside the tomb, they found no body. And after His death, Jesus appeared several times to His followers – on one occasion to more than 500 at the same time – to assure them that He was still alive. Amazing things – supernatural events – started to happen, and soon there were thousands of followers of Jesus. His followers are still increasing in numbers, right up to the present day. Jesus Himself is changing people’s hearts.
So this, briefly, is what the Christian faith is about. Today, too, the coronavirus is changing people’s lives all over the world, and hundreds of thousands of people are turning to Jesus, even in countries where Christianity is forbidden. God sometimes sends us catastrophes to wake us up and make us realize how far we have drifted away from Him. He doesn’t want to punish us. He is a good Master. He wants the best for us, and simply wants us to turn to Him completely and trust in what He has done for us through Jesus Christ. If the world realizes how sinful it is, and earnestly starts to seek Him and ask for His forgiveness, He will hear our prayers and heal us. He will open our eyes to the wonderful blessings He has already reserved for us. Your eyes too will be opened, and your spiritual blindness will disappear. Christians believe and feel that when this happens and people see the truth, then Christ’s Holy Spirit comes into their life and guides them safely, day by day, until they reach their destination: heaven.
Dear Friend, whoever you are, God cares about you and loves you. He will welcome you in His loving arms when you come to Him in the only acceptable way – the way He Himself has ordained: through Jesus. Think these thoughts over. Reason them out in your mind, and you will find they make perfect sense. I challenge you to find anything better – I certainly can’t. And then, when you come to God through Jesus, you will have peace in your heart which you have never known before. My prayer is that you will find it.
Stay safe in these difficult times, and may the Lord God bless you.