Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Do All Paths Lead to the Same God or Do the Differences Matter? - CATHOLICISM

Having been raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attending parochial schools all the way through my undergrad degree, this is an area of comparison I have direct experience in.   Permit me to offer a brief account of my search:

Once upon a time there was a person who was born to good parents, in a good family, was raised in a good home and neighborhood, attended good schools and after graduation found a good job.  That person also attended a good church and life seemed good, but the question on the person’s mind was, “Were they good enough to make it to heaven?”  The church could not provide that assurance and the person began to wonder, if God had gone to all the sacrifice and trouble to send His Son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the world, then why wouldn’t God provide rock solid assurance as well?

Through a work assignment I met a girl and her family through which I came to understand that God was not interested in religion, which I define as a person deciding how they will please / approach God.   Instead, what God desires is a relationship, in which, through study of the Bible, I came to find the assurances of where I will be spending eternity that I was searching for.

Permit me to offer a couple of examples that mean a great deal to me:
 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.  And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.  But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”   Gospel of John 3:16-21

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”   Ephesians 2:8-10 (my first favorite verses in the Bible because I was trying to be good enough to work my way into heaven)

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”  1 John 5:11-13

So God calls us to “believe in Jesus & his death for us” and to begin Life’s Most Important Relationship:
  • There’s a Relationship You’re Created to Have – Provides the answer to “Why Am I Here?”        
  • It’s a Relationship You Don’t Have – Because of What You’ve Done.  (Sin that we can’t undo)
  • It’s a Relationship You Can Have Because of What Jesus Did for You. (Died for your sins)
  •  It’s a Relationship You Must Choose   (adapted from Ron Hutchcraft) 

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