Uncomplicated Christian faith
November 14, 2007
About a third of the world’s population embraces the Christian faith. The historical impact of Christianity on every segment of society has always been, and is today, very significant. Yet, for all this, Christian faith is unbelievably simple.
With all its churches and great cathedrals, for all the holy days it celebrates, and the rituals and ceremonies it practices, Christian faith really and basically boils down to one simple sentence spoken by Jesus, clear enough for a fool to comprehend, Isaiah 35:8.
It is the familiar words in St. John’s Gospel, 3:16, “For God so loved the wolrd that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.” This verse is often called the golden text of the Bible.
So fundamental is it to the Christian faith, that millions of sermons have been preached from it and hundreds of songs and hymns have been inspired by it as well. One gospel preacher is said to have preached from, on this verse, every Sunday for three months until at last, one of the members of his congregation complained and asked, “Pastor, when are you going to preach from some other text in the Bible?” To which he replied, “When you begin to comprehend this one.”
Every word in this scripture is meaningful beginning with the phrase, “God so loved the world that He gave…”
There is so much said of God’s love in the Bible it is nothing short of amazing that the God of the Bible is still widely portrayed as a big bully standing over humanity just waiting for someone to mess up so He can punish them. God is much happier to share with humanity His infinite riches and incredible love than the punishment He will some day be constrained to execute because of the attribute of His perfect justice. “God gave his only begotten son” confirms the divinity of Jesus, a fact that is repeatedly emphasized in the preceding two chapters. The phrase, “whosoever believes in Him” signifies the open door to personal faith and personal choice. A resurrected and living Savior forever stands with open arms inviting all individuals from every nation, every race and every culture, into the family of God.
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Furthermore, each one is solely responsible and accountable for the choices he makes, good or bad, and has no one to blame but himself for the consequences of wrong choices or missed opportunities. The cornerstone and the great hope of the Gospel is contained in the last words of the verse, “should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus came so that all people may know God’s single uncomplicated plan to experience eternal life provided through, and because of, Christ’s personal suffering and sacrifice on the cross. (Isaiah 53:4).
— Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.