Justice and Justification | thebereancall.org

Hunt, Dave

For many years God has been more or less barred from America's public schools and public life. Then came the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Suddenly the word "God" was back in public vogue. Political leaders were falling over themselves to assure everyone that they were part of the "God team." Even some members of the ACLU were mouthing the new national mantra, "God bless America." Of course it was still politically incorrect to identify the one true God. In order to create a coalition against terrorism, it is insisted upon more vehemently than ever that Allah of Islam is also the God of Israel and Christianity (which we have thoroughly refuted in these pages).

In the days of the Caesars, the invocation and celebration of gods was a popular pastime, and any god would do. Christians would never have been thrown to the lions or turned into human torches had they not faithfully declared that there is only one true God and that salvation is in Christ alone.

Any audience today will applaud Jesus, the humble ex-carpenter from Nazareth who stooped to wash his disciples' feet. But the speaker who insists upon Christ's declaration, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me" (Jn:14:6), is accused of being "narrowminded" and confronted with the absurd claim that Jesus never spoke these words. Public oaths are solemnly taken with a hand on the Bible, but that sacred book's saving message of salvation through Christ alone is suppressed as a threat to "unity."

Yes, some political leaders at times clearly identify Christ as the only Savior, God-become-man, crucified for our sins and risen from the dead—but only to sympathetic Christian audiences. Rare is the politician who will say the same to secular audiences. Fear of reduced popularity and lost votes brings compromise.

For a time following September 11, radio and television gave top billing to an almost endless series of memorial services for victims of the terrorist attacks. Carefully avoided in such gatherings was the significant fact that the hijackers were all Muslims who had planned and executed their mass murder in the name of Islam's Allah—exactly as Muslims, following Muhammad's example, have done from the beginning of Islam. It is not politically correct to point out that Muslim clergy ask the same Allah to bless America whom terrorists invoked to destroy her. Had the hijackers, instead of being Muslims, been Christians or Israelis, that fact would have been trumpeted around the world.

By careful design the memorial services displayed the myth of the "oneness" of all religions. Evangelicals prayed alongside the clergy of false religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and others, giving the impression that all believe in the same "God" and are on their way to heaven. Evangelicals who willingly participate in this deception make the gospel of no effect and deny Christ.

America's pursuit of the terrorists is backed by a coalition of nations which, incredibly, includes some of the most notorious sponsors of Islamic terrorism. Anyone who disturbs this "harmony" is shunned as "divisive" and un-American. Unity has become the fantasy of the hour. America has united in beseeching God's blessing, but remains unwilling to define by which "God" or on what basis a blessing could be bestowed. Almost no one wants to publicly face the simple question concerning which "God" is capable of blessing America, and how or why He should do so.

Clearly, whether there is one true God or many is just as important as whether any God exists at all. Nor is it rational to ignore the vast differences between Buddha, Muhammad and Jesus Christ, as well as between Allah, Jahweh, Hinduism's millions of gods, or some "higher power." (No "power" could create rational beings. Powers don't think.) Nor is it reasonable to imagine that the true God answers to the name of any false god and doesn't care what attributes are assigned Him.

If we desire God's blessing, it is only reasonable that we obey Him. Human opinions about how to obtain God's blessing are of no value. Yet they are solemnly pronounced by this or that religious authority whom billions follow without consulting God himself.

The first question that must be asked of any church, religion, guru or supposed spiritual guide is this: "Where do you get your authority?" Anyone claiming to speak for God must have verifiable proof. Fancy robes and altars, beautiful cathedrals, ancient traditions, venerable institutions, inspiring sacraments, works of charity, number of followers, or length of existence prove nothing at all!

If God himself has not spoken, and spoken in a way verifiable and understandable by all, then we are at the mercy of every charlatan who comes along with an alleged vision or revelation. It is not only foolhardy but inexcusable to follow any church, religion or spiritual leader from Muhammad to the pope who fails to provide absolute proof of passing on God's very words to man. This simple, commonsense criteria eliminates every world religion from Buddhism to Shintoism to Islam and Catholicism, et al., along with their sacred writings and traditions. Only biblical Christianity even dares to offer absolute proof—and it does so irrefutably. We have set forth that proof in other articles and books so we will not repeat it here.

To gain God's blessing cannot be as simple as saying, "God bless America." Yet in all the memorial services and confident expressions of God's favor, scarcely a word has been said about man's failure to obey what God has written upon every conscience. America has thrown God out of public schools; ridicules, maligns and misrepresents Him in film and media; murders babies in the womb by the millions; flaunts before Him rampant fornication, homosexuality, divorce, pornography and all manner of evil—then asks His blessing! Common sense recognizes that God will not condone man's open rebellion, and that the consequences must be severe.

Rejecting the truth God has revealed to everyone, man perverts the witness of creation and conscience and creates his own gods. The very appeal of the "Star Wars Force" or some "higher power" is that a force, being impersonal, cannot hold one morally accountable but, like atomic power, can be used by man to his own ends. Clearly, God has to be a personal Being to create and relate to mankind.

The Bible gives the factual account of Lucifer's rebellion in heaven itself and how Eve believed the lie that she, too, could become one of the gods. To this day that lie remains the great hope and motivation of mankind. The remainder of the Bible is a recital of the devastating consequences of that rebellion, and the working out of God's plan to restore mankind into the "new heaven and...new earth" (Rev:21:1) which He has planned in His love and grace.

To eat some fruit from a tree seems a small thing, but that simple act was rebellion against the Creator. God had clearly warned, "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen:2:17). Death is separation from God, the source of life. Spiritual death (God's Spirit withdrawing from man's spirit) came immediately to Adam and Eve and eventually bore fruit in their physical death. All of Adam's descendants are born into the same state of spiritual separation from God and with bodies that begin to die from birth.

Even worse is the "second death," which brings eternal separation from God to those who reject Christ. Those who believe on (receive) Christ escape the second death (Rev:2:11; 20:6), which is further described as "the lake of fire" (Rev:20:14; 21:8).

The issue is God's justice. Man's God-given concept of justice is independent of cultural traditions or taboos. By what God has written in our consciences we know that justice is not a creation of legislatures, court systems, judges or juries, much less of religious bodies. Indeed, it is by the higher standard which God has put within all mankind that we judge all laws and legal decisions as being just or unjust.

Yet in every non-Christian religion, there is a universal reliance upon works for being justified before God—works that could not remove the guilt of even a traffic ticket. Religions offer sacraments, the influence of alleged saints or angels, good deeds, medals, scapulars and other paraphernalia along with vestments, holy orders and a multitude of other contrivances. None of these could remove the penalty for breaking a human law, yet we are told that they can effectively "appease" God.

Obviously, any religion, church, religious institution or spiritual leader is not from God which promises reconciliation with God through good deeds, ceremonies, liturgies or observances which would not even clear the guilty before an earthly court. "Appeasement" of the gods has nothing to do with justice. The very offer of anything to appease any honest earthly judge would be repugnant to him and is even more so to the true God in heaven.

Only when we turn to the Bible do we find both a diagnosis of the human problem and a just remedy that rings true to conscience. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel (Gen:32:28) is above appeasement and does not make deals or compromise His perfect justice. Having created man in His image, God declares that the standard by which everyone is judged is nothing less than His own perfection. The Bible defines sin as coming short of God's glory and pronounces all the world guilty: "Now we know that what...the law saith, it saith...that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God....For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom:3:19-23). Whether one claims to be a Christian or a Muslim or follower of any other religion, or of none, there is no question that no one on this earth has lived up to the perfect standard of God.

Conscience tells us that no matter how much He loves and pities them God cannot simply remove the penalty He has decreed in order to forgive sinners. To do so would be going back on His Word, making what He had formerly said a lie, and "God is not a man, that he should lie;...God...cannot lie" (Num:23:19; Titus:1:2). The penalty which He has pronounced upon sin must be paid.

The ultimate question, then, is how can God, who is perfect in holiness and justice, possibly forgive man's sin? Not one of the world's religions even faces up to this dilemma, much less offers a solution. Only the God of the Bible solves this problem. Confronting the issue, Paul finds all--the world, Jew and Gentile, guilty of breaking God's Law, and points out that keeping the Law perfectly in the future (even if possible) could not bring forgiveness for past violations. That is why God says, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isa:64:6).

Christ alone paid on our behalf the full penalty which His own infinite justice demands. Thus God can forgive sinners righteously:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood [shed for our sins], to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past...that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus...a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom:3:21-28).

There is no question, as we and others have thoroughly documented from the Qur'an, hadith, and 1,300 years of history, that terrorism and violence in order to force the world into Islam, and threats of death to prevent defections, always have been the very heart of Islam throughout history and remain so today. Concerned for the "bad image" terrorism is giving their religion, Muslims point to the millions in that faith who are "peaceloving."

We offer the same challenge to Muslims that we offer to professing Christians. If one claims to be a Christian, one must follow the teachings of Christ. It is dishonest to invent one's own brand of "Christianity." And so it is with Islam. How can anyone claim to be a Muslim, yet fabricate his own peaceful version of Islam in contradiction of the teachings and example of Muhammad that perpetual jihad must be practiced to convert the entire world by force?

Furthermore, Islam, like Hinduism, Buddhism and all other religions, pro-vides no just basis for God to forgive sin. The terrorists who flew hijacked planes into their targets September 11, and the Palestinian terrorists still attacking Israel in spite of Arafat's deceitful promises, have been deluded into imagining that suicide and murder gain entrance into heaven. Too late they discover that Islam's "Paradise" is actually hell.

In order to forgive sinners, God had to come to this earth as a man to die for the sins of the world: "that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb:2:9). While it fulfilled prophecies and identified Him as the Messiah, simply being nailed to a cross would not in or of itself bring forgiveness. The payment of the full penalty was accomplished by Christ, our substitute, suffering the complete judgment we all deserve: "...he was wounded for our transgressions,...bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes [wounds] we are healed...the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa:53:5-6).

Because pardon and eternal life are not physical but spiritual, man cannot obtain this gift from God by any physical means, but only by receiving Christ into his heart by faith. Even though Christ has paid the full penalty for sin, only those who by faith receive Him as their Savior benefit from His sacrifice on the cross. For the sake of the lost all about us, let us declare this truth without compromise in the face of a deceitful and deadly "unity." TBC

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