The Real Stumbling Block

                  The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, as preached in the Bible, is declared in 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, to be a “stumbling block”. The message given to us through the Bible does not hide from the reality of this difficulty of belief. Where other worldviews might downplay the problems within their respective systems, the Bible is uniquely forthright about that which is hard for us to understand.

Logically, the existence of a difficulty in a worldview message is not sufficient to reject it. That may be a sign and it is worth sincere examination. Usually, nothing worthwhile is easy. G.K. Chesterton wrote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried”.

It is one thing for a worldview to be difficult because its truths are profound and complex, it is another for a worldview to be incoherent or ‘deep and mysterious”. Many have pretentious ideas and contradictory sentiments wrapped in sophisticated packaging

It is true that there are difficult doctrines in Christianity, such as the Trinity, the incarnation and Christ’s substitutionary atonement. But the primary problem with the Gospel, arises from its indictments of the human heart and its proclamation that humanity is incapable of saving itself. The Gospel says that every person is spiritually dead and we can do nothing in our own strength about it. Only the saving work of Christ can make us alive to God. To humanity, this means we cannot rely on ourselves to make a better future. This is the real ‘stumbling block’ –people hold on to their own merit and refuse to acknowledge the Creator.

In secular humanism, unreliable humanity is their only choice for improvement, as in that worldview, there is no alternative. As a result, frustration arises when crime rates keep rising, promises are broken and treaties violated. Cultures persist in their hatred of other peoples.

Embracing the God who gives so selflessly, changes the follower of Christ from a self      centered person to a selfless one. This is one effect of what the Scripture calls ‘sanctification’. It is a process by which the Holy Spirit floods the life of one who puts their trust in the Lord Jesus and transforms that life.

To be sure, that follower of Christ can still sin, as we are living in this fallen world, but this sanctification process gradually (in many cases, dramatically) changes that person into one who believes and trusts in God and genuinely tries to live sinlessly. Paul refers to this transformation as becoming ‘a new creation’ and Jesus calls the beginning of the process ‘born again’.

In other worldviews, people suffer from the impure reflections of those deities and atheism has only unreliable humanity to support it. God is the selfless moral example, as demonstrated at Calvary. When our sanctification causes us to reflect God’s selflessness, we are on the way to more perfectly reflecting the true image of God.

Ref: Apocalypse later, by A.H.Murray