There really is no more important question. When someone asks me why I am a Christian, he or she is really asking “Why do you worship the God of the Bible?” This question gets at the issue of who or what matters most, and this has eternal implications.
The Gospel is True
There are a great many reasons I am a Christian, but I will limit myself to seven. First of all, the Gospel is true. I am sixty years old and became a Christian at age 24. Before I came to faith I tried all kinds philosophies, psychologies and religions. As I high school student I read many of the great philosophers from Aristotle to Sartre. The summer between 11th and 12th grade I attended the National Science Foundation Behavioral Science Institute and began a study of psychology that continued through college. I experimented in primal therapy, Yoga, mind science, TM and all kinds of self-help; they all proved to be worthless.
How do I know the Gospel is true? Because I have experienced the presence of God and a spiritual rebirth through the Gospel. I know who and what I was before I believed, and I know my heart now. The difference is night and day. I am a new person, and I have a whole new way of living, and it came through the good news of Jesus Christ. Skeptics may say, you are appealing to your experience, but how do you know the Gospel is true objectively. I can relate to these folks as well because before I came to believe, I was a skeptic and an agnostic.
But God was gracious to me and helped me to understand that my faith was no leap in the dark, and that there is abundant objective proof and evidence the Bible is true, and therefore its central message, the Gospel is true. For example, I knew that if prophecy exists, God exists. Real prophecy means knowing the distant future in detail before it happens; this requires a source that is all-knowing and all-powerful. Mere human knowledge cannot even infallibly predict the future weather next year; real prophecy can only come from God, who alone is all powerful and all knowing. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures about the Messiah. Furthermore, the Bible all fits together perfectly, forming an organic whole and the prophecies authenticate it. I don’t expect that this proof will convince anyone to come to faith; it doesn’t happen that way. But this understanding was helpful to me as a person who relied on logic and evidence to corroborate truth. There are other compelling reasons I believe.
God Satisfies My Heart
All of the other things I pursued to try to find satisfaction and meaning in life proved to be inadequate. All the family, friends, pleasure, knowledge, possessions, status, success, religion, philosophy and even merely human love couldn’t satisfy me. As Augustine famously said, it is because he made us for himself. This is why I stopped searching when I found Jesus Christ; through him I came to know God. Believe me when I tell you this: knowing God is infinitely better than anything else. God is far better and greater than all the rest put together. He really is. A single moment in God’s presence is much better than a lifetime full of all the lesser things. It’s not that the other good things are not good; not at all –it’s just that God is that good. Those of you who have experienced his presence know what I am talking about.
Love Is The Only Way to Live
This is also going to sound like an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. The quality of life I enjoy now is infinitely better than the one I had before. The essential reason is that even as an unbeliever I knew that love was the greatest thing in the world. The trouble was I was totally incapable of giving it or receiving it. I was capable of having affection for other people and even of sometimes having compassion, but I was clueless about really loving. I just didn’t know how to love even if I wanted to; it just wasn’t in me. I understand now how things work. There are really two invisible spiritual realms. The Bible calls them kingdoms. There is the kingdom of darkness, and God’s kingdom. Because the non-believing world is in a fallen condition, it does not know God. Even its religions are manmade things that can’t connect with God. It operates on the principle of self-interest, and really can’t get beyond that much. The saying “Money makes the world go ‘round” captures this reality. In sharp contrast to that, there is another realm, another kingdom. In this other realm, it accurate to say “Love makes the world go round.” In God’s kingdom, love is the governing principle. It is how God relates to people, and how they come to relate to each other and the world around them. I can love because I live under the authority of and in the realm of the one who is love.
The Kingdom of God is Infinitely Better Than the Kingdom of Darkness
This is reason closely related. Recently I had lunch with a former coworker. She related how the man she had lived with for many years had not only had an affair with another woman, he had married her. I could tell that this had been heartbreaking. She had already been divorced and had grasped at this final scrap of love only to see it disappear like a melting snowflake. This is how the people of this world often live. I used to live that way. It is futile, miserable and meaningless. I’m very sorry for her, but I am so glad I am free from that way of living. When I married my wife I made a covenant to love her only always, and by God’s grace I never want to violate that sacred trust.
Jesus Rescued Me From a Miserable, Futile Life
I didn’t come to faith through being raised in a Christian home, reading a book or taking a course on religion. I came to faith when my life as an agnostic came crushing on me like a large, poorly constructed building in a strong earthquake. In utter desperation I cried out to God a very simple prayer. Falling on my face I cried “Help me.” He did. Nothing happened right away, but in time people told me about Christ and I came to a place where I heard the Good News proclaimed clearly, and I received it gladly. It took about two years between the time I first cried out to the time I understood and received the good news of the kingdom. I love him because he rescued me from the misery of a life of sin and guilt.
The Presence of God is the Happiness of Every Condition
Knowing Jesus is a wonderful thing. Recently an elderly gentleman in our church passed away. He was a delightful man, always reaching out to show kindness and affection. His wife has the same wonderful joyful quality. After Bill’s death, Carolyn moved to a retirement center and someone organized a list of people to bring her to and from church to worship. People practically lined up to be able to bring her. One Sunday my wife and I gave her a ride home. It was a wonderful experience because Christ is so evident in her and with her. She is so full of joy and kindness that it is a pleasure to be with her. I can see why so many wanted to be able to give her a ride. It made me think of what my first pastor used to say “The presence of God is the happiness of every condition.” How many recently widowed elderly women would be miserable and fussing when they have just lost their husband of 60 years and now have to live out their remaining time in a nursing home? But Carolyn had no hint of bitterness, complaining or depression. Why? Christ is in her, and she is in him and he is greater than her trial. Just being with him brings joy.
The Gospel is a Sure Hope
As Carolyn has been reminded, this life is temporary and short. Where will we spend eternity? In which kingdom will we live forever? Jesus Christ has transformed my life in this world for the better, but he has given me more than that. He not only died for my sins, he rose triumphantly from the dead and ascended back to heaven. He has secured and prepared a place for me so I no longer fear death and what lies beyond the grave. For the Christian, it is an understatement to say the best is yet to come.
You ask me “Why are you a Christian?” I ask you “Why would I ever want to be anything else?” If you would like to talk about Jesus and the good news, I would love to hear from you. Post a comment or use the contact form