I was recently having a public conversation with four intelligent, educated people when the subject of Religion and it's influence in society came up.
It was a round-a-bout conversation, short sentences and even shorter opinions. Several Religions were mentioned: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and especially the various forms, both main-stream and fringe, of Protestantism.
At different times throughout the conversation the names Allah and Buddha were mentioned. I mentioned the name "Jesus", in a normal conversational voice, and volunteered that what I meant by "Christian" was that I believed that Jesus Christ had died for my sins, and that by accepting his gift of Salvation I believed that I had been given, though His Grace, eternal life.
All four people visibly flinched at the name "Jesus" -- before I mentioned my belief. The conversation quickly changed subject and soon ended.
I wonder what causes that? Guilt? Fear?
These people are my friends, but I have the feeling that if any one of them had to choose between having eternal life through the Grace of God in His Son Jesus and eternal death, they would and will choose death.
I was so sad.
Here's an article that explains the way that I feel and what I believe.
Name Above All Names - by Karen Hancock
Before I was saved, I didn't like to talk about Jesus. A believer friend recalled to me later our conversations about evolution and the Bible, and how the discussion would roll easily along until the moment he mentioned the name of Jesus Christ. Then I would close like a teapot lid slamming shut. He was right. I can still remember how uncomfortable it made me to speak or hear that name. Jesus Christ. No! I don't want to hear about Him. Let's talk about something else.
What is it about that name that it carries such power? It's okay to mention God, or Allah or Mohammed or Buddha -- but Jesus Christ makes people squirm, makes them want to mock and laugh, or get angry or talk of something else. And is there any other name quite so commonly used as an epithet? Did you ever wonder why?
Perhaps because His enemy has made such widespread attempt to belittle it, to degrade it, to make it seem like something silly, or stupid, something only the ignorant or the weak or the gullible are interested in. But maybe also because the name draws your thoughts to the person, and the person has a claim upon your life. The Bible tells us that God has placed the desire for eternal things in the heart of every man, and that in the end, every knee shall bow to the King of Kings. I believe that all of history revolves around this one Man, and that on some deep level, everyone knows it, either to embrace Him or reject Him.
So what do you think about Him? Just who do you think He is?
A famous historical personage? A good teacher? A Jewish holy man?
According to the Bible, we have all fallen short of God's righteousness. Few would argue that, for we all know our own failings. None of us is perfect. Except for God. And someone who is perfectly righteous can not fellowship with someone who is not. Like light and dark or gravity and anti-gravity, they cannot be together. If righteousness were to accept unrighteousness, it would no longer be righteousness. If justice were to accept injustice, it would no longer be justice.
But God loves us. He loved us in eternity past when he looked down the corridors of time and knew we would be sinners in need of deliverance from the darkness in which we dwelt. And so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, Lord General of the Armies of Heaven, ruler of stars and angels alike – to do something about it. And Jesus agreed to go, giving up the splendor and majesty and power of His divinity in the process. From His love and by His own choice, He became a man, experiencing the limitations and weaknesses of human flesh, and receiving the rejection, mockery and hatred of those He came to save. He allowed mere men to seize Him and beat Him and nail Him to a cross, though He could have taken the life of every one of His tormentors with a word. Instead He chose to allow the mistreatment, so that on the cross he could be judged for the sins of the world. Every sin that every person would ever commit, past, present and future. He took the punishment that each of us deserved.
Did you know that He thought about you, personally, when He decided to go to the cross? Did you know that He thought about you personally when He hung there and screamed as your sins were poured upon Him, the only perfect, sinless person ever to be born? He paid a grievous penalty that was rightfully yours so you could live with God forever. He did it because He loves you as no one else ever has or ever will.
It is His gift to you. And all you need do is receive it. If you have never done so, or even if you're not really sure if you have, you can do it right now. In the silence of your thoughts, you can tell God the Father that you recognize you are a sinner and are believing in His Son for eternal salvation. That is the moment you receive eternal life. Know that by that single, free will decision you have been born into the Royal Family of God, never to be removed, no matter what you do. There is not a sin that you can commit from here on that Jesus did not pay for.
You're going to heaven. Whether or not you'll receive reward when you get there, is another matter. Whether or not you'll ever know in this life the power you have just been given, is another matter. But if you have made the one crucial decision in the life of every person, the decision to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you can be certain you are saved and will be with Him in eternity, forever.
Jesus Christ. Son of God. Savior of the whole World. Name above all names.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." -- Romans 3:23
"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten (uniquely born) Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." -- John 3: 16 – 18
"And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand." -- John 10:28