It occurred to me that at times of high stress or great fear, people turn their attention to God. The challenge for them is there are a zillion and a half gods out there, but there is only one true God. So how do they know? How do they navigate the waters of "religion" in troubled times?
This article will try and make it easy for someone who knows nothing, or very little about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, if someone is seeking peace through God, they will stumble upon this and it will help.
Who is God? According to the Bible, God is the creator of everything. Science has some disagreement in certain circles, but when seeking God, He did it all. What is even more important is He keeps it going. There are three persons to the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are all one and yet they are distinctly separate. Please do not try and figure this out. If you further your "God" education, you will see libraries full of books trying to explain something that is not capable of being explained. I believe the best way to describe them is like this. God is the noun, Jesus is the verb, and the Holy Spirit is the adverb. If you remember from English class, the noun is the star of the show. The noun is the subject. The sentence revolves around the subject. That is the case here. Jesus being the verb does action on behalf of the Father. In a similar fashion of the verb in the sentence doing action for the subject. The Holy Spirit always describes the Son; Jesus Christ. In a sentence the adverb describes the verb. So, who is God? He is the eternal, self-existent one that is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He has no equal and has no opposite.
Why the need for a savior? This is an easy one. Because we are lost? No, you are not lost as in you do not know where you are physically. You are lost in the way that you do not know where you are spiritually. How did you get lost? You were born. Sounds cruel, but it is true. Our forefather was Adam. Because he sinned, it was passed down throughout mankind and therefore the world needed a savior. God expects perfection. He is Holy. If we could understand that, we would fully understand the need for a savior. Because we could not be perfect, He sent His Son. This is for us to be able to understand the process. Jesus is God in human form. Jesus lived a sinless life and took our place on the cross. Again, sounds cruel, but justice had to take place. Fortunately, God provided a way for us to be holy and He did it Himself.
What is heaven? This is a tricky one because the Bible describes three heavens. The first heaven is the air around us. The second heaven is the space where all the stars and planets reside. The third heaven? This is where the Father lives. It is in another dimension. In case I lost you here, Nachmanides, a 12th century sage proved that Adam lived in at least 10 different dimension by using the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. Albert Einstein proved that we live in at least 4 dimensions today; length, width, height, and time. Einstein proved that time was an actual dimension. All this is to say that the heaven God lives in is unreachable in the 4 dimensional body that we live in. The Bible tells us that in the "resurrection", we will obtain different bodies that are "incorruptible" and will be able to see the 10th dimension. Although heaven is not our ultimate destination, it is the one that the world focuses on. The ultimate destination is a renovated earth. Long story, but this earth will be renovated and we will move back here after the decorators leave.
What is hell? This is the biggie. Everyone has a fear of going here, and it is well justified. According to the Bible, hell is the place of the damned. Who sends them there? They send themselves there. No one will be in hell for their sin. Anyone in hell will be there because they failed to take the provision that God gave them for their sin. We have all seen movies, television shows, or read books about hell and quite frankly, they scared the "hell" out of us. While the Bible describes hell as a place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth" along with the usual fire and brimstone, that is NOT the worst part. The worst part is rarely mentioned. You will be utterly and completely alone. You may think that being alone would be no big deal. The truth is, you have never really been alone. God has always been there. Hell will be Godless. There will be 100% complete understanding of the predicament that one finds themselves in and it will be terrible. It will be dark and alone. For how long? Forever. You and I think linearly. That means we think in time. In the world to come, there will be no time. Hell will have no time. This is what makes it eternal. The easy way to avoid this is to trust in Jesus as your Lord.
What is the Bible? The Bible is 66 books, written by over 40 authors, over a period of time of about 1,800 years. The beauty part of it is you can prove it is correct on a number of levels, but the easiest is the simple fact that it is an integrated message system from outside of our time domain. There were over 360 prophecies of Jesus and His life in black and white over 250 years before He arrived on this planet. But I digress. The Bible is an amazing compilation of real life accounts that have consistently been proven through archaeology and other scientific processes. There are two sections. The first section is called The Old Testament. The second section is called The New Testament. The Old Testament is the account of a nation and The New Testament is the account of a man from that nation. Pretty simple. If you do not have a Bible, there are many free sources online. If you would like a free Bible, simple email me and I will mail you one. As a side note, there are many versions of the Bible and usually a great debate erupts as to the best. Choose one and let God lead you into what ever it may be that you choose.
What about a glossary. I thought that with so many well meaning Christians throwing about words and phrases at you, you should have an understanding of what they are saying. The following is in no way an exhaustive list, but it will highlight some of the more common things you will hear.
"Saved" - This means that someone has trusted Jesus for their salvation and the forgiveness of their sins.
"Blessed" - This is an incredibly over used term that has lost most of its true meaning. Christians normally say this when something good happens to them. It is supposed to mean that whether good or bad, God has given you something to help you grow spiritually.
"Baptism" - This is supposed to be our way of publicly acknowledging that we have died and risen again with Jesus. True baptism means you are put beneath a body of water by someone and prayed over. This word "baptism" in its original language meant, "submerged". So much for sprinkling with water.
"Church" - This is one of those words that has a dual meaning. The church that most refer to is the actual building we worship in. "Our church is down the street". The church is also the spiritual body of believers collectively. "The church will be raptured".
"Prayer" - Prayer is simply communication with God; plain and simple. You do not have to say any specific thing, you do not have to be in any specific position, and you certainly do not have to go to any specific place. All of those things may benefit some or they may not. It does not matter. Communication with God is prayer. Try it!
While there are many things that we could spend time going over, this will give you a taste of what is being thrown your way. If you have any questions at all, please email me. The next article will help you learn to study the Bible. I hope you tune in.