Saturday, January 07, 2006

Christian Code Words

Or: just exactly do people mean when they say, "Jesus died for you".
Please understand that this post is not an attempt to save your soul, just explain a little something.

Every once in a while I get so fed up with my fellow Christians blabbing on in Christian-eese that I feel like I need to set up a Christian-to-English dictionary for the rest of the world. So here's the start of it. This isn't going to be easy, so it'll probably take numerous posts to wade through it all. But the thing that I really want to clear up before anything else is what this whole "Jesus died for you" thing is all about because I went to church for 25 years before I finally had it sufficiently explained to me.

Let's just assume for the sake of this post that God exists. If you're an atheist or agnostic, just go with the flow for a minute here. You'll be at the bottom of the page shortly and you can get on with things in your own fashion. So, God is in His Heaven, as they say, and he is Holy! He is so pure that anyone who isn't equally pure will be struck dead by the mere sight of Him. And the only way you can get that pure is if He makes you that pure.

To begin with, you have Adam and Eve in the garden and they're walking and talking with God Himself in the cool of the day. (At least the Bible says so and I'm going to ask you to temporarily believe that it is true and believable, but only as long as you're reading this. It'll save time, trust me, and I don't expect you to continue any of these temporary beliefs after you click the button on your browser.) So there you have it, man and woman in their perfect state, chillin with the Boss in their own private paradise. But then they screw up and poof! they're out and pain, death, hunger and so-on are all brought into the world. Thanks guys.

But God wasn't ready to give up on his kids, so after a while he made a way for them to be able to get back in touch with Him. Animal sacrifice. (Now before you PETA types get all bent out of shape just keep in mind that it wasn't my idea, and besides, it goes away after a while and winds up tying in nicely with the theme of this post) The only way to pay for sin is with blood. (Again, not my idea) So at the moment whatever poor beast meets its demise, God transfers the sinner's guilt onto that animal and it's blood is the payment for the sin.

This wasn't the greatest system for all the obvious reasons, but it was the best mankind had going for itself for quite a while and it was better than nothing. Because people who have once had a real connection with God don't much like to be separated from him. And you can't get near him if you have any sin on you. But as man is wont to do, things get complicated and soon there's priests and religious rites cluttering things up. And still, at best, only the highest priests can actually come before God, the rest of humanity is just paying the bills to an unseen boss.

But along came Jesus, who for the sake of argument, is God's own son. In addition to doing a bunch of teaching and healing and miracles and whatnot he was sent here for one reason. To pay for your sins by taking them on himself and dying. How and where he died is actually mostly irrelevant. He shed his blood to pay for every sin of every person that ever lived or will live.

Now you, sitting in front of your computer, as you sit, right now, with no action taken on your part, have already had your sins paid for. That's what people are talking about when they say he died for you. Weather you avail yourself of that or not is up to you. But understand this, your tab has been paid.

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