bits from bob....
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas, for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt. 12:39-40)
Jesus could have given a proof so undeniable, such a majestic display of divine power, that none could help believing on him. He could have overwhelmed mankind with his splendor and power. Such, however, would have violated the principle of free moral choice. God wants people to come to him through Jesus, not because they are coerced by an irresistible power, but because faith leads them to choose him.
People resist God's resurrection sign, and prefer to seek God in little signs. People are more impressed with little signs from God than with God's big sign--the resurrection! In our world faith is often misdirected. Saving faith is not faith in miracles. Neither is biblical faith in answered prayer. Saving faith is not faith in the printed page, in the church, or in any group of people. Saving faith is faith in the crucified and risen Lord! That is the gospel message. That is the message we are called to proclaim. That was the message of Pentecost (Acts 2:36) and of the first century church (Acts 4:1-3, 10; 5:28-32; et. al.). Christians today are in danger of losing the message. Even baptism saves "by the resurrection" (1 Pet. 3:21), but we forget the connection.
When one listens to a sermon or sits in a Bible class, one must ask, "Is this the gospel?" Is what is being proclaimed based on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?
It would be easier if we had no choice. No choice would imply no responsibility. The responsibility would be totally God's. Such is not God's plan. Salvation requires faith in Christ. Let us live and speak so that Christ is the center of our message. Then we will be saved, and others will be saved (1 Tim. 4:16).
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