Justin: In the Feast of Being Able to. Amen.

Christmastime 2011 – A Yummy Time for Chili Powder on Your Christianity

It’s the last normal working day before the holidays, and in some respects, the last one of 2011. We’ll be here most of next week to support our working centers across the country, but it will be skeleton staff sleeping late, taking long lunches and working odd hours.

It’s Christmas time and so I’d like to say a word about tacos. Tacos are a tasty treat, enjoyed at any meal. Americans tend to not consider Tacos for breakfast, but in the border states, especially the border towns, tacos are a breakfast staple. Of course, what you know of tacos (Bell, Bueno, etc.) is not much like a true taco, which is to me a bit more of a cross between a soft taco and a burrito. Much like Americans and their sometime propensity to add Tabasco or salsa to eggs and omelets, tacos with salsa are a refreshing start to one’s day.

Jesus Christ is the living son of the God who made you. The Bible is what defines Christianity, and that Bible says there is an afterlife. It also says that nobody has the ability to be good enough to go to Heaven. Good people who have done fine, admirable things for the poor and hungry – this is the Holy Bible speaking, not Justin – will burn in “fire not quenched”. “I am in agony in this fire,” the rich man says from hell in Jesus’ parable in Luke 16. “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,” Jesus taught in Mark 9. In fact, to the very religious leaders of his day, Jesus emphatically said “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

We don’t stop existing after physical death. We live in one of two places, Heaven or Hell. In which will you be? Why do you think so? Is it based upon a logical conclusion that you have met the exact scriptural requirements for one place or the other?

Some of the most gentle, well studied, Godly men I know believe that less than 10% of Americans who say that they are Christian, actually are saved. The exact reason for this is due to our insatiable human desire to fashion our own reality based upon what is convenient to believe, as opposed to what the evidence suggests we should believe. Logic leads us to a largely (if not wholly) immutable definition of being a Christian, yet our heart drives us to redefine it based only upon criterion we choose to abide by.

So why, exactly, do you believe you will be allowed into Heaven? Is your answer defensible by the explicitly defined instructions of the Bible? Or does it include the silly and legally inadmissible phrase, “well, I just think that a loving God…”

There is no source for what basic doctrines must be believed about Christianity other than the Bible. None. We must abide by what it says constitutes a Christian, or we have no logical reason to expect to receive the things it defines as the reward for doing or being what it defined.

“Salvation” roughly means “the saving of”. The Bible teaches that salvation from Hell isn’t found by baptism or sprinkling, not as a child or an adult. “Saved” does not apply to you because you believe in the Christian God (the Bible makes that point very clear), and it does not apply to you because you believe Jesus was real, died on the cross, and that all the Bible says of him is true.

Salvation from your deserved hell comes from a recognition of your worthlessness and sin in God’s eyes, accompanied by an acceptance of who Christ is, accompanying a belief in what He accomplished on the cross and by resurrecting himself, accompanied by….. AND HERE’S THE KICKER… accompanied by a complete change in your heart, which is necessarily reflected in your life or it does not exist. That’s the source book’s definition (enormously condensed and roughly speaking).

Consider it. Less than 10% of a church may be real Christians. That coincides perfectly with Matt 7:14, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Working in Laredo, the guys would send someone to go get tacos each morning for breakfast. About two apiece. Sometimes later in the day a woman who couldn’t speak English would come around selling containers of chopped fruit. She offered buyers sprinkles of a chili powder marketed specifically to be added to fruit. It was excellent.

I would pay you back if you bought me a bottle upon visiting a border town.

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