Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Most Christians Reject the Power of the Atonement because They Lack Real Faith

The following are questions about faith I was asked once - and the answers I gave: 

"So what I was asking is this: If the first gift of the atonement is eternal life, and it is given to all, do I need faith in Christ for it?"

The first gift of the atonement isn't "eternal life". It's salvation from physical death (an actual, real, physical resurrection of some sort) - or, as we term it, immortality. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (It's indisputable, imo, that the resurrection was seen by the early saints as literally physical, especially given the description of Jesus' appearance in Luke 24.)

"If I must qualify for eternal life, why do I need faith in Christ for that?"

I believe the numerous admonitions of Jesus himself and of his early apostles saying that there is more to everlasting life than mere immortality is THE central theme in the Bible. We could be vegetative and still be immortal. What the Bible teaches is that we not only will be resurrected (be physically immortal), but that we also may become "eternal" ("at one" with God). This principle is what constitutes the "New" Testament - by which the "Old" Covenant of collective servant-hood was replaced by the "New" Covenant of personal "heir-ship". The verses and passages that teach this change are almost innumerable in the New Testament, so I won't quote them in this post - but they just are brutally difficult for most people to accept.

The idea of true "at-one-ment" is counter-intuitive to most mortals, since we know we naturally are separated from God by a bridge we simply are unable to cross on our own. Because it is so blatantly counter-intuitive, it takes REAL, DEEP, ABIDING faith in the teacher of it (Jesus) and those who taught it after his death (Peter, James, John, Paul and others) to accept it.

Thus, it takes no faith to receive the free gift of immortality - unless one counts the pre-mortal decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior (and I do count that decision), but it takes "abiding" faith to believe the unbelievable.

1 comment:

ji said...

It also takes real, deep, abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to work the change in a person that will allow for his or her sanctification -- faith is crucial to the growth that must happen so that exaltation can occur. In this regards, faith is even more important than obedience.