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Anonymous said...

Why Can't I Just Be a Good Person?
Michael Ramsden

"People are basically good," writes one poet. "It is only their behavior
that lets them down."

It is remarkable to think there are many today who believe they are good
enough to get into heaven. Perhaps there is so much bad news about others
that they conclude by comparison they are superior, and thus, deserving of
a place in eternity. But then it is even more remarkable that when
Christians claim they know they are going to heaven, they are regarded as
being conceited, boastful, and arrogant. People immediately ask: How
can they think that they are better than everyone else?

The fact that the same person can think of himself as superior to others,
while at the same time criticizing Christians for arrogance, underlines
one of the effects of living in a postmodern world. Though the
contradiction is frustrating, Christians need to be able to respond
coherently to the questions at hand: Why can't I just be a good
person? Isn't it unfair of God to say that you can't get into heaven
unless you believe in Him, even though you have been a good person? Who
does He think He is?

Jesus was once asked a similar question by a group of inquirers: "What
must we do to do the works God requires?" (John 6:28). Interestingly, the
question was posed in plural form; it seems they were looking for a list of
good things to do. But Jesus replied in the singular, "The work of God is
this: to believe in the one He has sent" (6:29).

Of course, in the minds of those who feel they have lived a good life,
Christ's answer will not go unchallenged. What makes belief so
special? Surely what we do is far more important than what we believe.
How can a good person, who is not a Christian, be denied access on the
basis of belief?

The difficulty here lies in the assumption that is being made in each of
these questions--namely, that there is such a thing as a good
person. Jesus again offers further clarification in the form of question
and answer. He was once asked, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit
eternal life?" (Luke 18:18). The theory of the questioner was clear:
Jesus is a good person; good people go to heaven, so what must I do to be
in the same group? But Jesus's reply was surprising. "Why do you call me
good?" he asked (18:19). He then answered his own question: "No one is
good--except God alone."

The simple truth is that the issue is not about good people not getting
into heaven. Alas, the problem is much worse! Jesus seems to define
goodness in terms of being like God, and on that basis there are no good
people anywhere. Thus, the real question is not about who is good enough
to get in to heaven. The real question is how God makes it possible for
anyone to get in at all. The answer is that we need to be forgiven, and
that forgiveness is won for us through the Cross.(1)

In fact, this is precisely why the Gospel is called Good News, and why we
do well to declare it. The good news is that getting into heaven is first
and foremost about forgiveness. The Christian testimony is, in fact, far
from arrogant! Christians can be sure that they are going to heaven, not
because they are good, but because they have received forgiveness by
believing in Christ.

In other words, if we will trust in and rely on Jesus--his
promises, his person, his life, death, and resurrection--we can be sure
that we are saved. Christians are not good people because they live
morally superior lives to everyone else. They have been made "good" in
God's eyes because Christ has made forgiveness possible--because Christ
has extended his own righteousness to those who will believe.

Good people will certainly go to heaven. However, the path to goodness
lies not in religious observances or respectable acts, but in the
forgiveness of a good God, given to us through the Cross of Christ.


Michael Ramsden is European director of Ravi Zacharias International
Ministries in the United Kingdom.

(1) For further reading on this subject, I recommend The Cross of
Christ by John Stott.


---------------------
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
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Professor Howdy said...

How To Keep Order In Your Universe




People were confused about it for centuries. They looked at the sun rising and setting every day and they reached a seemingly obvious conclusion: the earth is the center of everything and the sun revolves around the earth, right? If you say "right," you need to go back to third grade science Actually, if you think the sun revolves around the earth, well, you agree with about one out of five Americans in a recent survey. You know, it's a good thing to get right—what's in the center and what revolves around it.

Now, it's easy to make the same mistake that ancient, and even some modern people have made, confusing what should be the planets of our life with the sun that those planets should all be revolving around.

In our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 4 beginning in verse 42, Jesus has to make sure that the "sun" is in the middle, and everything else is revolving around it in His own life. In this case, the "sun" is the life mission He is on. He's in Capernaum where He has spent much of the day miraculously healing people and casting out demons. Then it says, "at daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them. But He said, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.' And He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea."

Notice those words that decide Jesus' priorities: "I must." Jesus knows His musts, His non-negotiables, the "sun" around which all other demands in His life must revolve. And He is faced with a lot of people who need Him, asking Him to do a very good thing. But He says "No" based on His non-negotiable mission. He knows He must not allow anything, no matter how noble, to deter Him from what He came to do—to keep spreading His message to other towns.

And Jesus has left us a model for making the hard priority choices we all face. You may be struggling with some right now. And maybe, like Jesus, all your choices are good ones. When it's hard to sort all that out, it's time to do what Jesus did—get alone with God and let Him refocus you on what is most important from His perspective. Each new day, we need to be with the Father making sure we are making His non-negotiables our non-negotiables.

Certainly, our relationship with Him is the ultimate "sun" around which everything else is just a "planet." We can't make any choice that will adversely affect this anchor relationship. There are other non-negotiables God wants you to make the center of your choices: what's best for your marriage, your children, sticking to His calling, His life-mission for you, uncompromised integrity, your responsibility to show the people around you what Jesus is like, and your responsibility to spread the Jesus message to people who will die without it.

See, life's choices are a lot less confusing when you know your non-negotiables. Then you decide based on everything else having to revolve around those non-negotiables. Actually, you have to be sure you know God's non-negotiables as you re-clarify them with Him each new day. There are just too many noble detours that you just can't afford to take. Your personal universe is in order when the sun is in the center, and then everything else is where it's supposed to be - planets taking their place around a sun that never, never moves.



To find out how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit:

http://www.yoursforlife.net/alpha or call 1-888-966-7325.


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Wist u dat de God van u houdt?
Avez-vous su que Dieu vous aime ?
Wußten Sie, daß Gott Sie liebt?
Avete saputo che il dio li ama?
Você soube que o deus o ama?
¿Usted sabía que el dios le ama?

http://everystudent.com/menus/intl.html

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Professor Howdy said...

RANDOM TIDBITS

The ingredient in poison oak that makes you itch is called
urushiol oil.

***

Cicadas are related to aphids, not grasshoppers, and look
more like large flies than grasshoppers.

***

The smallest horse in the world is 'Black Beauty', a
dwarf miniature horse. Black Beauty is only 18 1/2 inches
tall. She was born in 1996 in Kitrell, North Carolina.

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