Summary: Last week the unquestionable and unavoidable claims of Christ…this morning I want to address a concern that often arises from the sidelines of such claims… Is one way to God really fair? It’s a big world…with many following religious traditions within t
Last week the unquestionable and unavoidable claims of Christ…this morning I want to address a concern that often arises from the sidelines of such claims…
Is one way to God really fair?
It’s a big world…with many following religious traditions within their own culture…isn’t Christianity a bit too narrow-minded…exclusive? What about those who have never heard of Christ? Is it fair that those who live in certain times and places apart from hearing such good new about a savior should be condemned? (these were not the questions of resistant hearts but of faithful hearts as well.
I believe such questions reflect a natural and reasonable concern for fairness. Regardless of how true the claims of the Gospel may be, if they don’t seem fair…its hard for me to give myself to them…to Him.
Yet I also believe such questions are laid upon a backdrop of contemporary assumptions and misconceptions which can misguide our whole perception of fairness in relation ship to God. I want to consider what the Gospel declares of God’ love for the world…in all its diversity…and help us to think clearly about the question of fairness.
…An appropriate starting place is that which the Apostle Paul declared as he entered the great city of Athens…stepping out of the Middle Eastern world into the mother city of the Western world.
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ’We are his offspring.’
29"Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
Paul is addressing those of great religious and philosophical thought.
Implicit in Paul’s message…and even more explicitly from other portions of Scripture, there are particular points re the Gospel that help us to see the issue of fairness more clearly.