Jesus said, “I am the way
and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father,
except through me.”
Paul confirmed he was a
“follower of ‘the Way.’”
JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Analysis of synthetic organic chemistry confirms the impossibility of life creating itself from non-living matter. Without the simplest form of life as a beginning, biological evolution is nothing more than superstitious nonsense. Darwin admitted he was “quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science.” See “Life Ab Initio” and “Anti-Science,” on this website.
Humans lack the ability to create the simplest living cell but have mastered the science of destroying human life on a massive scale. David had it right when he declared, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” Psalm 53:1
Since the creation miracle, the one and only true God has revealed Himself in visions and dreams and spoken directly to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Moses. Holy men of God, Inspired writers of Scripture, “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21 The record is replete with events where God intervened in the affairs of humans.
Prosperous Abraham, a righteous man of faith, responded to God’s promise to make a great nation of his descendants, pulled up stakes from Ur and moved to a promised land. God kept His promise by leading a “chosen people” to the “Promised Land.” But these people of privilege drifted from allegiance to their Creator. The worship services pointing to a coming Messiah became nothing more than a “form of godliness.”
The chosen people expected a Messiah who would free them
from the bondage of Roman tyranny. Jesus, God’s only begotten Son and the true Messiah, came to demonstrate the love and perfect character of God and to free all mankind from the slavery of sin.
When Christ’s rejection led to His Crucifixion. The moment He died on the cross, the Temple curtain dividing the Holy from the Most Holy compartments was shredded from top to bottom by an unseen hand. Less than fifty years later, the Temple was destroyed by the army of an iron monarchy. The reason for the worship service rituals symbolizing the Coming of the Messiah had no further purpose. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, had come, lived a perfect life, died and accomplished His mission of paying the death penalty for all sinners, opening the door to
salvation and life eternal to all who believed.
The crucifixion of Christ, and His victory over sin and death, is a universal, landmark event that changed the history of Planet Earth, and the entire cosmos, forever!
Following His resurrection, He lived forty days during which more than 500 recognized His life after death. Peter and the other apostles, abandoning their fears, went to work publicly sharing the good news. More than 3,000 Jews, from sixteen regions of the world responded, joining the fledgling Church. These early believers, thought to be a diverse sect of the Jewish faith, were designated followers of “The Way.”
The door to fellowship opened wide. Believe in Christ, repent, and baptized, and be “born again” into a new identity, following the trail to righteousness, marked out by the life of Christ. Just as a new born child needs time to mature, a new Christian has a lifetime to grow in grace. While there may be an occasional misstep, when the life has been turned over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the assurance is absolute that any mistake will be covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
Previously, the chosen people had lost track of the purpose of their calling, failing to recognize the appearance of the Messiah. But the chosen built and preserved a written record of God’s presence and love for Earth and its people. Central to that record is the Virgin Mary, a daughter of Abraham who contributed a portion of Abraham’s genes to Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
Followers of “The Way” provided the nucleus of something more than a Jewish sect.
Two thousand years before the present, Roman citizen, Saul of Tarsus, bitter antagonist of Christ’s followers, faced a transforming moment, when the risen Jesus met and stopped him in route to Damascus. Not only did that encounter change Saul’s ID to the “born again” Paul, it opened the gospel to every nation, tongue and people of the gentile world, besides the privileged “chosen.”.
Paul, now an Apostle, understood this revolutionary moral transition from personal experience. A stalwart character, he had been miraculously diverted from his mission to exterminate the “heretical” followers of “The Way.”
Not only did his personal life change drastically but he joined the leadership that introduced Christianity to a pagan world beyond the borders of Israel. With gentiles joining the fledgling Church, followers of “The Way” first became known as “Christians” in Antioch.
More than embracing the revolutionary Christian faith, Paul, the courageous evangelist to the gentile world, the brilliant religious scholar undertook distinguishing many Jewish traditions and rituals from his new found faith.
In a difference of opinion with Peter, Paul saw no need in
perpetuating the rite of circumcision. The Temple practice of
sacrificing lambs proved no longer necessary once Jesus, the
“lamb of God” had shed His blood. Restrictive dietary practices were abandoned.
Paul saw the ten commandments, carved on the two tables of
stone, as a translation of God’s perfect character of love and justice, in terms humans could understand. Obeying the ten commandments was not meant to be an abstract “form of godliness,” but rather an inspired guideline written on the transformed hearts of “born again” Christians.
When powered by God’s Holy Spirit, the daily lives of “born again” Christians become daily, living sermons, intuitively preaching God’s love and justice in thoughts, words and deeds. These dynamic, living sermons reflect God’s perfect character in traits that influence and attract, leaving a trail of happiness.
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23 “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12,13
Living the commandments, powered by love, is the ultimate
obedience. Paul said it best: “The greatest of these is love.”
“God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son” John 3:16 can be so taken for granted that the deep, rich love of the Father can be obscured in finite minds. It’s difficult for humans to begin to imagine the heart-wrenching, emotional agony felt by Almighty God, the Creator of the cosmos, watching the cruel crucifixion of His only begotten Son in order to offer a second chance to save rebellious humans who had spurned His love.
The fundamental, pure “love” exemplified by God the Farther, represents something far and above things like emotion, passion, gender, beauty, nationality, race, power or wealth. True love lives unconditionally, and forever. It is caregiving for all other humans, no strings attached. As with Jesus, true love is “no respecter of persons.” Perhaps the ultimate test of simple, Christian love is the inherent ability to forgive enemies who “trespass” against you, without resort to revenge.
Despite persecution and martyrdom, Christians like Paul, not only obeyed God by living the ten commandments. Courageous men and women kept the faith, confident in the promises of Christ that He would return and make all things new. Jesus chronicled signs of that approaching end time in Mathew 24.
Paul warned of a “terrible troubles in the last days.”
“But mark this: there will be terrible troubles in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” II TIMOTHY 3: 1-5
John the Revelator describes end time “saints” as “those who obey the commandments of God and remain faithful to Jesus” Revelation 14:12 The Apostle Paul made clear what it meant to “obey the commandments.”
Warren LeRoi Johns