(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
You were born about 2000 years after Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again from the grave. Before you even entered this world, God had already created you in your mother's womb. And you were created by God for a purpose. You were created to be a Christian.
It's not like God only wants some people to go to heaven. He wants everyone to go there. That is clear in Scripture. He created you because He desires to have an eternal relationship with you. And that relationship can only happen by coming to the Father through faith in Jesus, the Son. When you came into the world, you entered "God's neighborhood." If and when you are "born again" spiritually through faith in Christ, you will enter God's family.
You were not created by God to follow some other religion. You were created to know the truth, and love the truth, and follow the truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Unless you accept Him and follow Him, you cannot fulfill the purpose for which God created you. It's that simple.
One might think that with this being such an uncomplicated reality, everyone would follow this approach. But as we know all too well, multitudes of people do not yet know Jesus as their Savior and their Friend. That is tragic. The only way this gets corrected is when people hear the good news of God's love in Christ, and then repent and believe this good news. Outside of that spiritual conversion, there is no way for a person to fulfill God's purpose in their life.
Perhaps you know some Christians. And perhaps you don't think you are anything like them. That may be true, but think about how many other people in the world are also completely different than you. Just because you may find it difficult to relate to some Christians does not in turn mean that you understand Christianity. It just means that you recognize how varied people tend to be from one another. But there is no reason for you to allow these current differences to rob you of seeing how much you personally need Jesus in your life.
There is a spiritual being who works 24/7 in his efforts to rob people of what God wants to give them. That spiritual being is the devil. The devil is the one who produces spiritual blindness in the hearts and minds of unbelievers. I cannot tell you how he does it because I don't know. What I do know is that God's Word tells us this is the case. (see 2 Cor. 4:4) And we certainly see the fruit of his work all over the planet. Just look at how many people don't have a clue about their need for Jesus the Messiah.
Many people practice religion as a way to try to earn their way into heaven. The Bible reveals how this is impossible to accomplish. No one who enters heaven will have earned it. You only get in one way, and that is by God's grace through faith in Christ. Everyone who tries to work their way in will be horribly disappointed when they learn they are not getting into paradise. "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse." (Galatians 3:10) That goes for Jews as well as Gentiles. It goes for Mormons as well as Muslims. And it goes for Baptists as well as Pentecostals. Labels don't save anyone. Only Jesus does that, and He saves a person through the blood which He shed for our sins on the cross.
A Christian isn't merely someone who calls himself a "Christian." Being a Christian requires a new birth. It requires a relationship with Jesus through faith. And it results in a new life. Anything short of that is just religion. No one will ever be saved by religion, unless those religious beliefs and practices are truly connected to the One who said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
God created you to be connected to this One who is the vine. God did not create you to experience what Jesus said in the very next verse: "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." (John 15:6) While that is a very graphic image, it is nevertheless the truth because it was spoken by our Creator and Redeemer. He never misleads anyone, and He never lies.
The liar is the one Jesus called "the father of lies." (John 8:44) The devil is that master deceiver, and he won't stop telling lies about Jesus until he is ultimately "thrown into the lake of burning sulfur." (Revelation 20:10) By that time, his lying will be over and his suffering will be magnified exponentially.
You either know that God created you to be a Christian, or you don't know it. If you don't know it, be assured of this: there is a spiritual being who is blinding you from the truth. You cannot see him, but he certainly sees you. In fact, he has a very strong lust for your soul. He hates Jesus. He chose to give into his pride rather than to humbly serve his Creator. And he hates you too.
Meanwhile, God loves you. Christ died for you. And the Lord invites you to enter His family immediately. It's a simple process. Admit to God that you have sinned against Him. Turn from sin as you give your life to Christ. Believe that Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. And accept God's free gift of eternal life. When you do, you will be saved instantly through faith. Then you will begin serving the Lord with a joyful heart because of all He has done to save your soul.
Those are the facts as they have been handed down to us from the Lord. We don't get to set the guidelines. We just get to accept or reject the One who is God over all. (see Romans 9:5)
Are you beginning to see that God truly did create you to be a Christian? Or are the scales on your spiritual eyes still so thick that none of this is even stirring your soul in the slightest way? I encourage you to think about it my friend. There is nothing in life or death even remotely as significant and essential as the purpose for which God created you.