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The Challenge of Jesus Christ

By John Robert Lee

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

As long as this world continues, it will be challenged by Jesus Christ. The disturbing religious, moral and ethical challenges of the Christian gospel will always demand a decision. Jesus Christ, announced as Lord, invisible as He is now, does not allow us to be neutral. He continues to place Himself before us and to proclaim through Scripture and the voice of the Church: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).

One of the proofs that the Bible is of divine origin must surely be the absolute finality of its statements. For example: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36). Atheism, agnosticism, anti-Christian attacks are themselves challenged by the confident power of these words. Those who would condescendingly patronize the Carpenter from Nazareth and His followers find themselves under close scrutiny from texts like John 3:18: “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” This belief is not limited to easy intellectual assent, but the confessor is called to a visible change of life-style, attitude and behavior. “I will show you my faith by what I do.” (James 2:18).

Today, in 2022, faced as we all are with overwhelming problems, the ancient gospel message is unchanged, and still offers light and hope to those who receive it fully. It has not changed its assertion: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). This world, its individuals and collective societies, needs salvation from violence and corruption, from destructive hatreds, dishonesties, infidelities, state dictatorships, and from the sin that plagues human beings deep in their hearts.

Age after age, ever since Bethlehem’s manger, Calvary’s cross and Jerusalem’s empty tomb, we are pointed to Jesus of Nazareth: “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).

The ultimate, most important question facing each individual today is “Who is this man Jesus Christ?” The Biblical Christian revelation proclaims that He alone is the only Mediator between God and men, for believer and unbeliever. Contrary to some beliefs, even within Christendom, no other human being stands between us and God but Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Himself said, “No man comes to the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6). It is at doctrinal points like these that other religions, even some Christian denominations and the secular world retreat from the Biblical Christian faith. His historic resurrection means that He stands between us and the future beyond our graves. The resurrection of Christ has changed everything. He challenges us to decide about Him. The moment is urgent: “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11).

Apocalypse, the end of this world as we know it, is ahead! Christ will return in terrible glory to save His people and to condemn the unrepentant wicked. Time will come to an end. Judgement Day is a reality. Many other non-Christian religions teach this also. In these evil, violent days, filled with all kinds of moral corruption, sudden death is a daily possibility. The Biblical teachings do not offer hope beyond the grave for the lost.

Despite the force of Biblical revelation, the evidence of lives utterly changed by Christ, the Lord and His Gospel are every where mocked and neglected, even by those who profess church membership. Under the veneer of church-going, many live a practical atheism. A moment-by-moment faith in Christ is not practiced and this is evident in the worldly, self-centred lives that are filled with “religion” but not the deep, life-changing faith called for by the Gospel. Observers are left to wonder if those lives evidence true conversion and if Christ is really Lord of their living. Red flags of Christ’s teachings about wheat and tares, wise and foolish virgins among his followers, are raised.

Professing Christians must continue to learn more deeply what it means to be “salt of the earth and light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13,14). We must believe in a more convinced, obvious way that the spiritual power of the Gospel of Christ can stop the deterioration of our societies. The love to which we are called, for God and fellow human being, can preserve moral and ethical standards. As always, serious Christians must prepare themselves to present the Biblical world and life view to our generation.

This world and all creation belong to God the Creator. Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, all authority given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). The Bible is a coherent system of Divine truth given by God to humanity. It is not neutral concerning the serious moral issues that face us today in every area of social life. If we say we believe, we must prepare to apply the teachings to every part of our life and behavior. When we fail, we come in repentance before God’s throne of grace and mercy in humble confession, and then begin again.

Professing Christians must develop a thoughtful and personal commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all our lives. We must proclaim ever more clearly, with humility, aware of our own failures, with compassion for others, that Jesus Christ alone is Lord and God Incarnate, God come in the flesh of humanity. Through our personal example, fellowship with a Bible-believing church, we preach and live the Gospel of Christ, and demonstrate the real, present power of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to His disciples, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). For the Church today, across its denominations, this is the continuing challenge of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we are called to go into all the world, and preach the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord and Saviour.

This article is dedicated to Elder Joseph Charles (1956-2022), Presiding Elder of Calvary Baptist Church, Massade, Gros Islet who passed away on April 13th. He was one of the early members of the church which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019.

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