Recently Aberdeen University published a report which concluded that, after research, it was clear that chocolate was good for the heart. After years of being told the contrary, this was good news for chocoholics like me!
When it comes to food, I like all the wrong things. I like chocolate, chips, salted butter and meat. I now wait eagerly for some university to report that salted butter is good for the health. Who knows? It may come one day!
We all have our likes and dislikes and most of them are the result of years of preconceived ideas. This is certainly true when it comes to our thinking about God. Most folk believe the Bible is full of myths and is not to be taken seriously, yet they have never read the Bible.
Any report that supports their beliefs they embrace with enthusiasm. The theory of evolution is accepted as established fact and God the Creator is rejected as nonsense.
What science taught as established fact 50 years ago, is replaced by some new discovery. But the truth about God is not like that. It never changes and always remains the same.
It probably will not be long before a report contradicts that of Aberdeen and the chocoholic’s dream will be shattered. What good would a ‘gospel’ be, were it like that? But the gospel is the unchanging truth about God. It can be relied upon and accepted with confidence.
You will never become a Christian unless you start taking God seriously. That means that, instead of dwelling on the subjective thoughts of God produced by your own mind and imagination, you begin thinking of God in a biblical way.
In his goodness and mercy, God has revealed the truth about himself — in the Bible and nowhere else.
It is true that Psalm 19 says that creation tells us much about God, but if you want to know what God thinks, what God says, and what God expects, you need more than creation. You need the Bible.
If you are a religious person, your thinking about God has probably been reserved to an hour or so once a week in church. If, like most people, you’re not religious, it’s probably just funerals that get you considering God.
It is amazing how great a capacity the human mind has for reducing God to a manageable size. But, by definition, God is not ordinary or manageable. He is great, glorious and awesome. If he was less than this, he would cease to be God; and to cease to be God means he is not and never was God.
The first thing you need to appreciate about God is that he is holy. Holiness is something you will never have confronted before, because all men and women are sinners and only God is holy.
This means that he is free from all sin and evil and there is in him absolute moral perfection. This particular truth touches everything else, so that God’s love is holy and his wrath is a holy wrath. God can do nothing that is not holy.
This immediately puts a huge barrier in the way of you becoming a Christian. A Christian is someone who is acceptable to God and because of sin we are anything but acceptable to the holy God.
So, if sinners are to be saved, God must provide for us a salvation that deals justly with our sin and provides for us a full pardon. So the question has to be asked, how can a sinner be saved? The answer to this is in the gospel.
A perfect summary of the gospel is found in John’s Gospel, chapter 3, verse 16: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’.
Peter Jeffery is a retired pastor, who has ministered in Cwmbran, Rugby and Port Talbot