The Good News of Jesus Christ
With a lot of confusion and cynicism towards the Christian Gospel today, many people wonder, just who was Jesus Christ, and how can we know if he is a lunatic, liar, or the one true God?
What’s actually going to happen when we die? Do we simply cease to existence? Are we reincarnated? Is there a heaven or hell? What is truth? How should we live? Are one of the world religions right or is there no god? At some point these questions should occupy our thoughts because they are of the greatest importance. When mankind answers these questions in one way or another those answers have serious consequences for what happens in human history, for better or worse. If there is a god and if there is an afterlife our answers also have eternal consequences.
If you find yourself asking any of these questions, or if they at least pique your curiosity, please keep reading!
Faith in God isn’t a conspiracy theory. Empirical (measurable) evidence throughout the history of mankind has pointed us to a Creator. All forms of knowledge from philosophy to the biological sciences to natural law and morality have the mark of a higher power in the universe. Man has always found himself fascinated by God, but God himself needed to reveal himself to man. It is the highest pursuit of man to know why he is made. Atheism states that man’s existence is absurd and without any meaning. This sits well with few people. God can reveal why it is we are here.
It is Reasonable to Say So
Christianity makes the audacious claim that the God of the Jews & Christians is real, is the only true God, and Christianity is a result of God revealing himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Catholicism makes an even more grandiose claim. Catholicism claims to be the fullest expression of the Christian faith and the one true Church of the one true God. Catholicism answers the problem of having different people believing different things about God. She claims that everything she officially teaches is infallibly true pertaining to beliefs and morals, protected by God. She claims to have the means to help us spend eternity in heaven which no other church or religion has and that no one is saved outside of the Catholic Church. And then there is the biggest claim of all: All of this is perfectly reasonable.
Faith is not opposed to Reason
St. Theophilus of Antioch taught us this: “And why do you not believe? Do you not know that faith is foremost in all matters? For what farmer is able to reap, unless first he have faith, and trust the seed to the earth? Or who is able to journey across the sea, unless first he have faith to trust himself to the ship and to the pilot? What sick person is able to be cured unless first he have faith to trust himself to the physician? Who is able to learn either an art or a science, unless first he devote himself faithfully to the teacher? If, then, the farmer believes in the earth, and the sailor believes in the ship, and the sick man believes in the physician, will not you yourself wish to believe in God, when you have so many promises from him?”
Let’s say that there is a chance this claim is true. That one day you will either receive mercy from God or justice from God. One day you will either go to heaven or spend an eternity in the pains of hell. We are asking you to give the evidence fair hearing because of the consequences of your decision.
The Questions We All Ask
Our cultural mythology (movies, books, music, art) goes to the heart of these basic questions about what is real and what happens when we die. Why do we even have something called “good” or something called “evil”? You cannot test goodness and badness in using the scientific method, and yet for some reason we all think what the Nazis did to their fellow man in the Holocaust is horribly “evil”. Why? Christianity is a call to be fully who you are meant to be, and in being that person, you can be truly satisfied, happy, and at peace.
The Bible tells a story of the unfolding drama of real human history filled with good and evil people. It tells the story of a real man, Jesus Christ, who lived in Roman times and claimed to be God. Those who follow Jesus to the fullest are called saints.
The saints throughout history are not different than you or I. They put their pants on the same way we do in the morning. What sets them apart is that they realized nothing this world had to offer gave them peace. St. Augustine lived a life of comfort and sin before his conversion. He uttered the famous lines: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, oh God.” Why do people keep becoming Christians? What’s really going on? Is it true?
Saints & Sinners
The good news is that you don’t have to pretend to believe in a fairy tale to be a Christian. It is perfectly reasonable to believe in God and it is perfectly reasonable to believe that God revealed Himself to us and told us His plan for our life. It’s as reasonable as believing the moon is a rock that orbits the earth or that genocide is really, really horribly evil. Why? St. John Paul II said: “There exists a knowledge which is peculiar to faith, surpassing the knowledge proper to human reason, which nevertheless by its nature can discover the Creator. This knowledge expresses a truth based upon the very fact of God who reveals himself, a truth which is most certain, since God neither deceives nor wishes to deceive.” (Fides et Ratio, 8) The truth of Christianity is evident in the saints who lived it out, in the sinners who are trying to live it out, in the history of the Jewish & Christian faiths, in the miracles that scientists and doctors can’t explain, in answered prayers, and hopefully it will be evident in your own life too.
God the Father Created Us Out of Love and Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life.
The Bible is one way in which we know this plan. When Nicodemus, a teacher, asked Jesus about following Him, Jesus replied: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
God created you and wants you to be at peace, even when life is difficult and even when we suffer here on earth. Some people think that following God is all about rules and being oppressed. Instead, following God is all about being free. Yet, many people live out their lives in turmoil, always looking for more but never being satisfied with what they have. This is because of:
The Bad News
Mankind is separated from God because of sin, and sin leads to hell.
St. Paul tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…the wages of sin is death.” Romans 3:23, 6:23
We were created to have a peaceful relationship with God, but instead we are born broken and sinful. We live self-centered lives. Without a relationship with God we will experience eternal death in hell. If you died tonight would you go to hell? Hell is something we choose for ourselves. Our souls are what give us consciousness and freedom. When our bodies die our souls go on to be judged by God. God loves us and wants us to live with Him forever in heaven. His love is perfect he wants a relationship with us. It is not His will that anyone would choose to live apart from Him. If we choose that for ourselves in our words and actions, he will honor our choice.
Because of our sin we are separated from God. God is perfect. All holy. All loving. And perfectly just. We cannot be in the presence of God if we have sinned. If God were to repay you for what you have done and what you have failed to do on earth, would you go to heaven? Me neither. Yet, there is good news.
The Good News
“God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
God knew that apart from His abundant love we would each end up in hell by our own choices. God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ to be incarnate (to take on flesh) in the womb of Mary some 2,000 years ago. God is a Trinity of Persons. Those Persons are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is eternal. Time has a beginning and end. (If it did not, we could not exist right now.) God is outside of time and is the “uncaused cause” of all of existence.
Yet, God the Father, through the power of God the Holy Spirit, sent God the Son to take on flesh and become a man. He was born, he nursed from his mom, he grew up, and he ministered for 3 years before being sentenced to death under the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate who served the Emperor Tiberius. Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One asked for mercy and received it. One did not.
Jesus is God. Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his followers, especially Peter, the 12 apostles, and more than 500 witnesses. He is the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, except by Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)
So what do we do if Jesus died for our sins? That’s what a lot of the early followers of Jesus asked.
We must receive Christ in faith for our salvation. The Holy Spirit will help us with this. Jesus Christ established the Church as the normal means to receive God’s grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
Jesus does not want just a part of our heart, but wants us to surrender ourselves to his love. However, he won’t force us to do so.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
When we make an act of the will and receive him in faith he gives us His very life, called grace. He calls us to conversion, to repent of our sins, to be baptized, and experience being born again (Mark 1:15). He calls us to receive the fullness of his life. If you would like, we can pray right now.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15
We see the evidence of sin all around us. Each of us has been hurt by someone who sinned against us. Some of us have been abused, had things stolen from us, or been lied to. We know how much sin hurts. The first step to become a Christian is to repent of your sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness. That’s it. There is no work you can do to make up for your sins so you can go to heaven and live forever with God. Jesus sacrifice is sufficient because Jesus is God.
You can pray with us to become His disciple.
Believe & Be Baptized
C.S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia) pointed out that since the New Testament records many times when Jesus claimed to be God one of the following must be true: either Jesus has to be a liar (he claimed to be God) or a lunatic (if he wasn’t God and really believed he was) or he is God. The sayings of Jesus are not the teachings of a lunatic. So, is he a liar? Or is he God?
To become a Christian we have to believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation. We believe in everything he did and taught that has been written for us in the Bible, and handed down through the Church that He founded and gave the protection of the Holy Spirit. We trust in the authority of the Church because of that special grace, not because Christian leaders are somehow better than we are.
Do you believe in Jesus? Are you ready to surrender your heart?
If so, we need to pray and we need to be baptized as Jesus commanded. When you are baptized your sins are forgiven, you become a new creation in Jesus Christ, and you become a member of the Catholic Church and the kingdom of God. You are made ready to meet God with a pure heart and soul.
Prayer of Consecration
God our Father, I believe that you created me out of love. In a thousand ways I have sinned against you. I repent of all of my sins. Please forgive me.
Thank you for sending your Son to die for me, to save me from hell. I choose this day to renew my covenant with you and to place Jesus at the center of my heart. I surrender to Him as Lord over my whole life.
I ask you now to flood my heart and soul with your Holy Spirit and to grant me the gift of new life. Give me the grace and courage to live as a missionary disciple for the rest of my days. Amen.
Once you become a disciple by repenting of your sins, believing in Jesus Christ for your salvation, and being baptized into God’s covenant family you become Jesus’ disciple. As his disciples we are given the grace to live new lives in the Holy Spirit, putting away our former selfish natures. We can, as it were, become perfect. God will fulfill our every desire for happiness that can be found in God alone. This journey is never done alone. As we said, you are created in God’s image and likeness. We were created to be in communion with each other and God. Through the Catholic Church we have a community of support for the Christian walk. We will help you get plugged into a Catholic Church ready to receive you. We call these “Discipleship Parishes”. Use the contact form below to tell us what city you live in and we will help you find a parish family to be a part of.
As a disciple we are called on to abandon ourselves to Jesus Christ and his will. That means giving up our own desires and will for our own life. God never disappoints! Trust in Jesus! If you are struggling with faith in Jesus Christ or have prayer requests, you can use the contact form below.
We also encourage you start praying more often. God hears you. His answers are sometimes mysterious but the Church can help you discern His will for your life. Catholics all over the world will tell you of the peace that washes over their souls by abandoning themselves to God’s love & mercy.
The steps to living a full Christian life are:
- To know Jesus Christ as His disciple.
- To discover your charisms, or gifts, Jesus has given you.
- To live your personal vocation in this life.
- To tell others about Jesus.
- To be a part of a holy Christian community.
- To help the Church transform the culture by turning our hearts back to God.
Let us help you start this journey of faith. We are not here to judge you, criticize you, or condemn you. We are a world wide community of faithful that wants to help you thrive, whatever your circumstances are in this life. Jesus & His Church are waiting for you!