I am fascinated by the life of Christ, as recorded in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the Bible. I can read the stories over and over again and be inspired.
There appear to be two themes, the theme of repentance from sin and the theme of eternal life.
Much ado has been made in theological circles about the fact that we are “saved” by grace. We are saved from eternal damnation, and we are saved from our sins and the operative factor is the unimaginable grace bestowed on us. We don’t deserve it.
The grace of God is extended, through Christ, for forgiveness so that we can inherit eternal life.
Sin corrupts and ultimately destroys an individual and a society. We are offered forgiveness and an opportunity to begin anew. We can leave our past behind. This is an unspeakably wonderful gift.
God has no patience with sin. Sin is the work of the devil. In fact the devil can “possess” people. Jesus spoke strong words to those who accused him of casting out demons through the power of the devil. “You must bind the strong man before you can spoil his goods.” Jesus spoiled the goods. He had the power to bind the devil and destroy the works of the evil one. He delivered the demon possessed.
I don’t think the demonic influence has changed much today, but we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about the presences of demons or the working of evil spirits. Clearly this was a major part of the ministry of Christ, setting people free from the power and the influence of the devil.
It is only to demonic forces that we can attribute the hatred towards Christ, a man who simply went about preaching repentance from sin and who healed and delivered people who were “oppressed by the devil.” It is this same demonic influence that is destroying the good in the world today.
With Christ, there are only two sides, good and evil. Either one is on the side of good, and on the side of God and Christ, or one is on the side of evil, rejecting God and rejecting good.
Unfortunately I see the grace teaching that is prevalent in our churches today as creating a kind of middle ground where there are a lot of questions about what is actually good. The Bible is not ambiguous when it comes to understanding who will inherit eternal life–only the ones who choose God’s ways and follow the teachings of Jesus.