When people are facing death, the most important and critical things - the things that are truly on their mind - come to the foreground. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he had thieves on each side, and he was put there by a combination of some Jewish leaders, the Romans, and a lot of citizens who would rather see the rabble-rousing Barabbas go free than him. He had precious little breath to say anything, mostly like "I thirst," and "It's finished." What else did Jesus choose to say.
To the thief who was not sorry for his behavior, Jesus said nothing. Jesus was not about condemning people, and he said very plainly during his ministry that he did not come to judge.
Jesus said nothing about those who nailed him to a cross, not the Jewish leaders, not the Romans, and not the citizens. No, he said "Father, forgive them, because they know not what they do." Jesus was not about condemning people, and he said very plainly during his ministry that he did not come to judge.
He asked a follower to look after his mother.
Very importantly, he said to the thief who was sorry, "Today you will be with me in paradise."
Did he say to the thief, "There is only one name by which you can be saved?" Did he say, "Have you been baptized?" Did he say, "Do you believe in me?" Did he say, "Which religion are you?" No, he said none of these things. He looked at the man's transformation, and this is what I believe God looks for.
Did he say that the thief would accompany him to Sheol (the grave)? or Gehena (destruction)? No. He said he would be with him in paradise. This is the only reference to paradise in the Bible. It means a place of complete bliss and delight and peace, and also has come to mean the place the "righteous" go at death.
So, Terry, suppose you think you are conformed to the image of Christ, and you are hanging there with Jesus. What does Christ say to you?
Your choice - you judge:
- Well done.
- You stirred up a religious war, got innocent people killed, and led on the path to destruction.
- You have helped in the transformation of many people.
- You judged, and you brought condemnation of both Islam and Christianity.
- You helped force millions of young Christians away from the church, because they don't believe that God is the mean-spirited God you represent.
- You have replaced love with hate and animosity.
- Congratulations, you persecuted Islam.
The mission that God sends His people on is reconciling people to Him, and transforming them. The Apostle Paul (Saul), was a Jewish fanatic on a mission to get followers of Christ killed and imprisoned. Christ didn't condemn him. He gave him a new mission.
True religion, and true worship of God, if you study the Bible deeply, has everything to do with how you treat other people, and close to nothing to do with religious demonstrations. Check it out before you go on this mission.
Let's talk about it. Social Media and One Spirit Resources Blog below. - Dorian Scott Cole.