Dale Appleby

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Introduction to Christianity 2

Introduction to Christianity 2

2. WHAT A MESS WE'RE IN!

We saw in the last unit, that if we want to know what God is like, we should look at Jesus.
Jesus not only tells us what God is like, he also shows us what we are meant to be like. God has made people to be like himself.

As we live in his world he wants us to act responsibly, to care for each other and for what he has made.

1. But Something Has Gone Wrong.

Despite all the good in the world, it is obvious that there is a lot of bad. We are in a mess. One only has to read the paper to know that something drastic has gone wrong with God's world.

There are many examples of the mess human beings have got themselves into. Can you list some examples?

2. Why Are We In Such a Mess?

The Bible helps us to understand why we are like we are. What explanations do these passages give?

2.1 Romans 1.18-23

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles." Romans 1:18-23, NRSV.

2.2 Romans 3.12

"All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one."" Romans 3:12, NRSV.

2.3 Romans 5.12

"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned--" Romans 5:12, NRSV.

Do you think that everyone, to some extent, is involved in this kind of disobedience or going away from God's ways, or not?

3. Is There A Way Out?

Many people have tried to improve themselves. Some follow special sets of rules, a bit like people trying a diet. But the Bible tells us that the problem is inside us.

Read Mark 7.20-23. What has to change if we are to escape from this tendency to do wrong?

"And he said, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."" Mark 7:20-23, NRSV.

God has provided a way for us to start again. The past can be forgotten by God and a new kind of life begun.


There are at least three aspects to the way out. How do these passages help us understand them?

3.1 Romans 5.6-11

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Romans 5:6-11, NRSV.

3.2 Acts 2.38.

"Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38, NRSV.

3.3 John 3.1-8

"Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."" John 3:1-8, NRSV.

4. BUT ...

Why do you think some people don't want to turn away from wrong, or turn to God?

 

If you would like to follow up anything in this unit, please contact us and we will try to help you.

 

The next Unit in this Course is 3. Does God Really Love us?