There are many people today at the crossroads. And it’s a challenging place to be. They have heard the gospel of Christ, and have begun to see the wonderful truths of eternal life and peace with God offered freely by God’s grace, but there they stop, stuck fast. They have such a strong cultural and emotional bond with their own religion, maybe the Jewish Faith, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism or an extreme type of Christian belief such as the prosperity gospel, or whatever else, that they feel they cannot break away from their present ties. The bonds they have with their beliefs, special religious events, friends, culture and family seem just too strong for them to be broken. Been there – feel like this? I am writing this for you.
This is a sensitive issue and the last thing people need is to feel coerced, or pressurised against their will. Many people today are being taught by their secular government that to create social harmony and healthy integration, all types of religious beliefs ought to be respected equally. However, we all know some religions hold out severe punishments for those who leave their tight-knit community for another belief oración de la mañana.
How do Christians handle this issue? After his death and resurrection, Jesus gave his followers a great mission; ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. God therefore and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28 18-19). The gospel of Christ is proclaimed on the authority of the risen Lord. This is not a matter of cherry-picking the bits you like and leaving out what you don’t like. If Jesus is who he says he is, then to miss him is to miss everything. This is a matter of heaven or hell, of condemnation or full and free forgiveness, of eternal life or everlasting judgement. Here we meet God, who confronts us with his own call to turn and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for a free salvation.
This is when people need carefully to weigh up the two sides of the situation that confronts them and to count the cost of following Jesus Christ. The call of Christ is not to gain followers by an easy, half-hearted trust; no, Jesus gave his all, he suffered and died on the cross for sinners like us in order to rescue and purchase them for God as his own precious possession.
Biblical Christianity is a stand-alone Faith of clear beliefs and exclusive truth-claims. Jesus Christ as Lord is central. He was sent from God the Father to be the Saviour, the mighty God-Man who would die bearing the judgement of moral rebels such as us. He is the eternal Son of the true and living God, who created all things for his own glory.
Christianity encourages people to think carefully about these issues. How we think about the gospel of Christ, which, ‘is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16). Those words teach us that the truths of the good news come with divine authority and convicting power. Here the power of God is at work in lives like your own. And if you are not sure, ask God for a willingness to do his will. Jesus taught, ‘If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority’ (John 7:17).
Yes, you may feel a strong emotional bond with your own religion, and you fear the ridicule and antagonism or social exclusion of family and friends. You may also fear the severe reaction of your religious leaders.
This is understandable because these bonds are often central to our cultural or national identity. But if you have heard the good news of Jesus Christ and are strongly drawn to turn to him and feel a love towards him for dying on the cross for your sins. And if you have begun to see your need of personal trust and commitment to him as Lord of your life, be assured that his promises will never fail you.
Take that vital step of turning away from empty beliefs and from your sins and put your trust completely in the Lord Jesus. He has pledged himself never to leave or forsake his own eternally-loved children of God. He will give you the peace and courageous love to deal with any strong reactions against, as you pray for those who have turned against you. You will also discover that very large numbers of people have been this way before you, and that in coming to Christ, you become part of a world-wide family of believers.
This is more than merely joining another religion; this is a new creation – entering life in Christ given by God’s Holy Spirit that will never end. This is God’s final and best for today, entering a living relationship with his own Son as Saviour, Friend and Lord, in which God becomes our Father, and the Holy Spirit our helper, strength and the One who makes the truth of Scripture alive in our lives.
Yes, there will be trials and difficulties in this world, which are not worth comparing with the future everlasting glory of being with Christ. Now, I live for him ‘who loved me and who gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). That is life, and when you begin to know that life and overcome difficulties and temptations, you will also know that the old emotional bond you once had has been replaced with an unbreakable, everlasting bond to Jesus Christ.