Questions and Answers
Why is Christianity the True Religion?
In one word - Jesus. Life is a school. God placed us frail beings in a harsh world and He allows us to struggle so that we might learn and grow; so that we might learn why good is good and evil is evil.
When you or I die and leave this world, our Creator meets us and uses the experiences of life to teach us. Someday, He will use the experiences of all lives to teach us all.
But how could He teach us if He, Himself, never participated? What would give Him the right to forgive wrongs that He never felt? What would give Him the right to judge if He had never been tempted and had never struggled with our world?
Hebrews 2:18 "For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."
For instance, the god of islam, allah, is worthless. He is not father. He has not participated in our world. He is nothing more than an observer.
What about the gods of hinduism or the void of buddhism? These religions, too, are worthless for they deny the uniqueness and worth of the individuals God has made. If I am to be reincarnated as they say in a different body with a different brain, in a different time and place, then the person I am now is temporal. If I am reincarnated, the person I am now, will be dead.
Jesus said, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22:32)
The person I am now was created to live forever.
Further, the hindu/buddhist so-called law of karma, or law and effect, denies grace.
I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
But the religion of the Old Testament did not yet have Jesus. Is Old Testament religion false? The answer in many ways is "yes". Old Testament religion was an ethnic supremacist religion in which the Hebrew tribal god, Yahweh, could beat up the tribal gods of other peoples. Yahweh could body slam baal and put a spinning toe hold on him and make him give up. The Hebrews falsely believed that their tribal god Yahweh gave them the authority to murder the Canaanites.
Yet, there were bright spots in the Old Testament. Jeremiah said, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah did not understand that this New Testament would be with all peoples, but he knew something better was coming.
The writer known to Bible scholars as Second Isaiah wrote, "But He [Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed."
The writer of Daniel wrote, "And He [Jesus] shall confirm the covenant [of peace with God] with many for one week [the first half being the ministry of Jesus, and the second half being the Great Tribulation of Revelation]: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease [through making the final sacrifice of Himself]."
Jesus, Who is God become man, made peace for us on the Cross. How? The Cross gives Jesus the authority to forgive and heal. He bore all of humanity's burden from beginning to end. The pain of all sin, all death and disease, all the wars and murder, all the cruelty, every bit of it from the beginning to the end of time fell on Him.
He can forgive me my sins because He felt the pain I caused. For those I hurt, He felt the hurt. He can absolve me of all my wickedness. But what if I damaged someone else's life and I cannot let it go? Jesus not only felt the pain of my sins, He felt the pain of their sins. The person I hurt, He has (or will) forgive and heal. Therefore, I can let it go.
Jesus said, "I make all things new." He will make all things new for those I hurt and for me.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (I Corinthians 15:54)
Jesus will take away death and make this universe and its inhabitants what they are supposed to be.
Question: Can Jesus say that He makes all things new and can Paul say that death is swallowed up in victory, if the majority of humanity is consigned to a living death in hell for all eternity? Can Jesus make all things new for me if some of the people I care about and some of those I need to make amends with are lost forever?
I don't think so. If a person in hell sincerely realizes their sin and calls out for mercy, would not a God of love rescue that soul? The obvious answer is "yes." For God is love. *
So why is Christianity true? It is not true because of churches and preachers. It is true for one single reason - Jesus.
And why are other religions false? They are false because they do not have Jesus.
* True evil exists and God gives us the freedom to make our own choices. There are those so wedded to evil that they do not choose to be redeemed. Will human monsters such as annas and caiaphas, joseph stalin, jeffrey epstein, the clintons, anthony fauci, bill gates, etc. ever turn away from evil? It is hard to imagine. But even with such as these, there is always hope because of the love of God.
Scriptures expressing the love of God for all people:
John 1:9 "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I John 2:2 "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
Romans 5:18 "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
1 Corinthians 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
1 Corinthians 15:28 "And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."
2 Corinthians 5:5 "And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him Which died for them, and rose again."
2 Corinthians 5:19 "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
Ephesians 1:10 "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:"
Colossians 1:20 "And, having made peace through the blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
1 Timothy 2:3-4 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
I Timothy 2:6 "Who gave Himself a ransom for all."
1 Timothy 4:10 "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."
Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
There is an obscure passage in I Peter 3. Peter wrote, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison;"
Between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, Jesus preached to the souls in hell. It sounds as if He was proclaiming to these lost souls an offer of salvation.
What is hell? It is God's testing and purging of the defiant. In another sense, hell is the natural consequence of human sin. Not a literal place, it is the consequence of our sin, cruelty, unforgiveness, regret. Without Jesus to give forgiveness and to make all things new, there would be no escape for us. We would all perish in our own hell. Likewise, without Jesus, there could be no heaven. Heaven is the consequence of God's love and healing. Only Jesus, Who bore humanity's burden, can give us heaven.
In Matthew 5:25 and 26, Jesus compared the moral law to an adversary that must be appeased.
"Agree with thine adversary [God's moral law] quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
His words imply that the law can be appeased here and now (the easy way) or long-term (the hard way). If eternal damnation were the outcome, there would be no appeasing the law in the long-term. The sufferer would be totally out of luck. But by saying that the last penny will be paid, He is saying that there will be a full accounting and a final resolution. Because the person in hell remains sinful and does not achieve any sort of perfection, resolution does not come from the individual meeting all the requirements of the moral law. Resolution then (hard way) or now (easy way), comes only when one turns to Jesus. With eternal damnation, with no chance for repentance, there would be no resolution.
Hell isn't God being angry and throwing the sinner away into eternal torment. Hell is God leaving us to the natural consequences of our own lives and sin until we are willing to turn to Him for forgiveness and healing. Because He gives us freedom of choice, He lets us decide whether we will turn away from Him or to Him. Because God is love, there is always hope. And in the end, His love is more powerful than our will.
In rebuttal to eastern religion's concept of self-salvation: Resolution does not come by paying for your own sins and making yourself perfect. You can't do it. In eastern religion, which denies the work of Jesus on the Cross, the religionists came up with the canard of reincarnation. You have to take care of your karma debt yourself on this earth. If you die with a karma debt, you come back as basically another person in another life to try again. That makes no sense. Why should one person be responsible for the karma of another person in another life? That's just plain stupid. You are never going to get it right. But Jesus, Who is God become man, did get it right on the Cross for the entire human race. He is the One Who offers forgiveness and healing, and Who makes all things new.
But what about John of Patmos who wrote, "And the smoke of their torment (Greek "basanismos" means to test the purity of metal against a touchstone) ascendeth up for ever and ever (Greek "aion", which actually means an "age" or "era", as opposed to forever): and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."?
Let's retranslate. "And the smoke of their testing against God's touchstone ascends up for age upon age: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
Taking the mark of the beast isn't just receiving some microchip or taking a vaccine or using a digital currency. It represents a total rejection of God against the clear warnings of the two witnesses and even the angels, and aligning oneself with antichrist and satan. It is equivalent to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit committed by the pharisees (Matthew 12:22-32, Mark 3:22-30).
Regarding the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." The statements implies that all other sins may be forgiven in the world to come.
But what if the blasphemer stops and cries out in repentance? Was not Saul of Tarsus the murderer of Christians guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit? The Saul who became Paul the Apostle?
Why is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit or taking the mark of the beast so serious? Because such an action represents a total, obstinate rejection of all that is good and holy. In this case, the sinner willingly condemns himself because of his hatred of the good. C.S. Lewis wrote, "I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside." God grants them their own wish. They hate the good so much, that they would rather be in hell with the devil than in heaven with a holy, loving God they want no part of. But what if they finally decide to unlock the door? What if God finally says "Enough!"
Revelation 20 states:
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Those remaining in hell for the duration of the Millennium, are those who have locked themselves in because they want nothing to do with God. He grants them their wish to remain apart.
And what does fire mean in Revelation? Revelation 1:14 says this of Christ, "His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;" The fire is the searing vision of Jesus Christ from which there is no escape.
The lake of fire is said to burn with brimstone or sulfur. According to Strong's Concordance, the Greek "theion" translated as brimstone is "divine incense, because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off disease."
There are two types of sulfur, organic and inorganic. Inorganic sulfur is known as sulfur dioxide, which is a heavy, colorless, poisonous gas. It is spewed out of volcanos and can kill. That is what most people associate with brimstone. Organic sulfur is found in the human body. Sulfuric supplements such as glutathione, n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), MSM, have a strong healing effect. If you have ever smelled the contents of a bottle of NAC, it reeks of sulfur. But NAC is a powerful, healing supplement. What if the sulfur of Revelation is the latter, bitter but healing?
Those in the lake of fire are subjected to the purifying fire of Jesus, Who is a God of truth, justice, and love. His burning light will ultimately overpower their obstinance (even in the case of antichrist and his followers, for which it may require many billions of years - age upon ages).
But doesn't Revelation talk about those "whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world"? So, not everyone's name has been written since the beginning of time? Does that not draw a clear distinction between the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares? Yes, it does.
On the one hand, it is true that in the end, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10,11). The torment of hell will end and all will know Christ. Yet, there will likely always be a clear distinction between those who took up their cross and followed Jesus and those who did not.
We cannot ignore our Lord when He said, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14) and "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:25)
Jesus' own disciples began to despair and asked, "Who then can be saved?" (Mark 10:26)
Jesus answered, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27)
The gate is narrow and few find the way. That is so obvious and there is no questioning it. But God is still love. Few may find the way. But that doesn't mean that in the end, the way won't find them. The Way found Saul on the road to Damascus. It was not Saul who found the Way.
The God-man gave a stern message of warning and judgment that humans need to hear. We must choose to follow Christ now, in this life. Yes, there is no eternal torture chamber and in the end, all will know Christ. But our choices and actions have consequences.
Does this writer claim to understand the afterlife and eternity? Absolutely not. But there are things I do know. God is love. The soul has eternal worth. Our choices have consequences. Trust Jesus. Follow Him. Leave it to Him to figure it all out.