Why Jesus? Freedom.

As a person whose full time job description is ministry I spend a good amount of time engaged in conversation about why Jesus is the one true God. I wish I could share with you the culturally specific things I've learned about the almighty creator God but that will have to wait until my life is a little more... um... legal. But the question, "Why Jesus?" isn't limited to one culture. In college I frequently talked with a good friend of mine who still does not accept Christ as his Lord and savior. He would tell me, "Okay, I've come to the point where I believe it is undeniable that there is a God. But I don't know how to discern whether or not that God is Jesus."

There are some interesting arguments for why Jesus, and right now I want to discuss a few of them. However first I want to say that Jesus is the one true God. If you're at all wondering about it try this prayer, "Jesus, if you're truly the one true God, then I would love to know you. If you are truly God then please help me to be open to understanding that truth." The beauty of this prayer is that if God is not all-powerful then you've nothing to fear, he won't answer your prayer.

I cannot intervene supernaturally to convince you of God's power. However do consider that you may be reading this post as God may be using it to speak truth to you. How hard would you have to be hit over the head to hear truth? Just something to consider.

Enough preludes. Why Jesus? I think one of the best ways to answer this question is with the concept of freedom. Faith in Jesus is, to my knowledge, the only faith that preaches true freedom. Other religions may tout hope, or peace, or joy, or all kinds of things that I believe Jesus truly does provide, but only Jesus Christ preaches freedom. Why?

Lets give an example. Buddhists (along with many other religions) preach something along the lines of "You reap what you sow." This is comforting to man because we control our own fate. If we do good we will get good back. However if we do bad then we get bad back. To anyone who is truly honest with who they are the things they do this should be absolutely terrifying. I have been a Christian for some time and as such I actively strive to be a good man. But despite my best efforts I fail miserably from time to time. Looking someone in the eye and lying to them. Or telling them I'm aware of their authority but I'm choosing to ignore them just to see if they'll do anything about it. Later guilt sets in and I repent, but the point is, even if my many small good things outNUMBER my bad things, they will never ever outWEIGH them. The sin in which I have partaken is horrifying to say the least and I cannot (if I'm truly honest with myself) ever hope to cover over my wrongs with enough rights.

Because of this Buddhists live in constant fear that they need to be praying more. Just 10 more bows before this idol. Just three more trips to the temple. Just 10 more prayers and few more sticks of incense and then I can come back tomorrow and keep going. Maybe if I add a few more of this I'll pay back my sin and be in the clear.

This is slavery. I don't care how you look at it. This is slavery to fear.

Now Islam is a little different. There are the five pillars of faith, and you can be fairly sure that if you pray 5 times a day, do the Hajj, observe Ramadan etc... that you will be in good standing with God. However Allah is a god with almost man-like emotions. You may be the best Muslim ever, but when you die if Allah is in a bad mood you're still damned to hell. So you'd better not skip pryer, and hope you don't die on a bad day. Again, slavery to fear.

Now Christianity is different. Because from the get go the Christian God demands perfection. Then he looks at you says, "Buddy, there is no way you're adding up to perfect today, tomorrow, or ever." Therefore the Christian understands that he is a hopeless wreck, EXCEPT for what Jesus did. God, in sending his only Son to die on the cross, said, "Hey I know you're not good enough, that's why I'm giving my Son, whom I truly love as a sacrifice for you. When His blood is poured out I choose to look on His blood and forgive you." You see the Christian God demands blood, and he got it in Christ. Jesus said if we believe in Him our sins will be forgiven because that is the only requirement for the blood of Jesus to atone for us. So different than these other religions the Christian says, "I'm already beyond hope. I cannot strive to be good enough. I will never be good enough. But with Christ I'm good enough. And I can rest."

In fact this is almost a license to sin. Basically the Christian can sin the rest of his life and know he will still be in good standing with Christ (as long as he's repenting). The reason he chooses not to sin isn't fear of reaping what he sows, it's because he believes his relationship with the Creator of the universe and man actually knows how to live a better life than man himself. The Christian follows Jesus' commandments not out of fear, but out of an understanding that this God loves him and knows that sex is best in the confines of marriage because HE MADE marriage. HE MADE man. He knows what will satisfy. The Christian seeks those things to honor the Lord, and to live the most fulfilling life that can be lived.

This is not slavery. This is freedom. Paul tells us everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. The Christian has freedom because he knows there is nothing he can do to put himself in good or better standing with God. Because Christ has already done it. We cannot improve on what Christ did. We are perfect in God's eyes because he chooses to look on Christ instead of our sin.

This religion/philosophy is clearly not man made. If it were man made then man would have found a way to depend on himself. To save himself. To work hard enough to be good. But there is absolutely nothing man can do except to fall in the gracious arms of Christ. That's too backwards for man to have created. Freedom is something we instinctually know we should have, but slavery is something we build as a society because it's comfortable.

Why Jesus? Because it's only in Jesus that we're free. Because you're are damned to a life of fear and labor if you're serving any other God. In Christ and in Christ alone you will find freedom and rest.