LIFE HAS ONE CERTAINTY
We used to say that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. But life has only one certainty – we will all die. The death-rate is still 100%! Yet faced with this absolute certainty, too few people think about it and even fewer people take steps to prepare for it and what lies beyond it. And, as it turns out, not even many people who have become Christians have given much thought either! But I have something to say to those who think religion – and Christianity in particular – is (at best) irrelevant. Please give me just three minutes now – and just three seconds later!
WHY DO PEOPLE CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY?
Christians have sometimes been accused of promoting a pie-in-the-sky message. But the social research reveals a pretty clear message about why people convert to Christianity. Here are the top three reasons why people become Christians-
1. I was raised in a Christian home.
2. I had a religious experience (answered prayer, dream/vision, etc.)
3. I had a need that converting to Christianity met (drug/alcohol deliverance, marriage repair, loneliness, poverty relief, etc.)
Conversely, the top three reasons why people reject Christianity are –
- Science has now disproven Christianity.
- Too many doubts about the Bible’s claims.
- Too many Christians are hypocrites.
WHY AN HOMICIDE DETECTIVE WAS AN ATHEIST!
With all this in mind, why then would a highly successful Homicide Detective who was a comfortable atheist convert to Christianity? He tells people that he didn’t convert to Christianity because he raised in a Christian home – because he wasn’t! He didn’t convert because his friends were Christian. He didn’t convert because he wanted to know God. He didn’t convert because he wanted to go to heaven. He didn’t convert because he needed to change his life – in fact, he writes-
At the age of thirty-five, it seemed like I had everything I could possibly want. I’d graduated at the top of my class in my undergraduate and graduate programs, earned the honor recruit award at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy and was in an incredible job assignment, working as a member of a five man career-criminal surveillance team. I had been with my wife for eighteen years and we had a great family. We just purchased our second home in a community I had admired since childhood. Nothing could have been better. This was the status and condition of my life when I walked into a Christian church for the first time.
I wasn’t looking for answers; I thought I already had all the answers. In fact, most of my friends came to me for advice. I was the guy you came to if you wanted to ask a question about how to work an investigation, how to maintain a good marriage, how to raise your kids. I was happy, content, and full of myself. I definitely wasn’t the kind of person who thought he needed help or needed fixing. My self-confidence had grown into arrogance. I was opinionated, sure of myself and difficult to reason with. I was sure I was right, and my life seemed to confirm this at every turn. I was in control and my decisions seemed to be producing the life I wanted.
This Homicide detective who spent his life gathering evidence and became a Cold-Case specialist who had a perfect prosecution record throughout his entire career (!) states that there was only one reason why he became a Christian – after having used his detective skills to investigate Christianity’s claims. This hard-nose Cold-Case detective used the same criteria that he had used to investigate an unsolved murder to investigate Christianity: what is the truth?
WHY AN ATHEIST HOMICIDE DETECTIVE BECAME A CHRISTIAN!
James (Jim) Warner Wallace (known as J. Warner Wallace) investigated the claims of Christianity and became convinced that it was true. This is despite the popular opinion that you could never tell which religion was true or not – or even the nonsensical notion that all religions are equally true!
Religious claims are just like any other truth claims. They can be tested. Since every religion makes claims which are contradictory to each other, they cannot all be true. To determine which one is true may not be important to you now, but, I guarantee you, in your final seconds of life it will matter a lot to you (because dying has a powerful way of rearranging a person’s priorities!)!
1. CAN THE TRUTH CLAIM BE VERIFIED?
All truth claims can be verified in some way – but not necessarily in the same way. For example, historic claims can be verified by eye-witness accounts or even by those who have interrogated eye-witnesses.
2. DOES THE CLAIM CORRESPOND TO REALITY?
Truth claims can be tested as to whether they correspond to what we know intuitively, by experience, or by observation.
3. CAN THE CLAIM BE TESTED?
Truth claims, particularly experiential claims, can be put to the test. For example, when you doctor says, “Take this pill, it will make you feel better!” You can test this claim by taking the pill.
Therefore, when your body suddenly gets cold, your breathing becomes increasingly difficult, you lose your hearing because YOUR HEART IS POUNDING SO HARD, please REMEMBER THESE TWO THINGS:
1. No matter what wrong you’ve done wrong, GOD offers you forgiveness for it all (because Jesus Christ took your penalty on the Cross).
2. You can have all of your wrong forgiven forever by asking God to forgive you (because Jesus Christ took your penalty on the Cross).
This is based on what we know of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. In the Gospel of Luke, we have the account of Christ’s execution along with two capital-crime criminals.
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The central claim of Christianity is that every human being is a natural rebel against our Creator, God. Yet God offers us terms of peace if we will surrender to Him and accept the forgiveness He offers because Jesus the Christ, the eternal Son of God, came to earth and was born of a virgin girl some 2,000 years ago, and bore the penalty of our rebellion in His execution at the hands of the Romans. Even if this seems too incredible to you now, in your final few seconds of life on this earth, I guarantee you, your perspective on these things will change! And when it does, and you experience a hyper-awareness of your own rebellion against God, the above story tells us that even then – God can meet people at their death-beds and offer them His forgiveness!
And in that moment, if you have never settled accounts with God, and you find that seconds seem like hours (which I believe is God’s grace toward every human being), I beg of you, receive His forgiveness by praying one simple prayer – “God, please forgive me!” Because how you respond to God in this life determines your standing before Him for eternity in the next!