Grafted2theVine.com

Online Christ-Life Coaching

The Vine

God - Fact or Escapism
 

This page are for those who are visiting this site and who is not entirely, or not at all, convinced yet about the matter of belief in a God, and Christ in specific. 

The evolutionist will have us believe that believing in a God is escapism, a primitive way of dealing with the cold, hard, realities of life and death. Life, they claim, is nothing but a cosmic accident, as science so clearly proofs. But the more we learn, the more science reveals the impossibility of their claim: the very instrument the evolutionist used to 'kill God' now proofs them to be fools. The human mind has an inbuilt ability to differentiate between randomness and design, and the tell-tale signs of intricate design and immensely complicated coding, are increasingly revealed by the scientists own discoveries.

 

Commonsense also dictates that mind precedes design. We, and everything else in the created universe, have our origins in the mind of the one who designed, coded, and created.

Now think of the enormous complexity of the universe and try and imagine the sheer intelligence of the mind who could bring such majesty and complexity into existence. What shall we call such a mind? A mind that is not matter but pure energy. To clearly distinguish this mind with such unimaginable intelligence and ability from our own, and for the sake of argument and brevity - how about - GOD? 

Of course, there are those who now, in the face of the overwhelming observational proof and still not liking the idea of a God, have switched to believing that ancient aliens'seeded' the earth with life. These ancient aliens apparently evolved somewhere else. Note, a creator is still absent. They just removed the problem of how to account for the evidence of design, to a distant place at a distant time where and when apparently, complex design could have magically formed by its lonesome self. 

The idea of this site is not to get into the debate on this issue. If you are interested in more info, you know - just in case origins do matter, please click here for a debate between Prof. John Lennox and Richard Dawkins and here for a debate between Prof. John Lennox and Peter Singer. Just a few of many interesting and thought provoking debates on the topic.

But WHO?
 

Fine, so an intelligence created the Universe.  But which one - or ones? The Hindus alone have many millions of gods. Did only one create or was it a collaborative effort? 

And here is where wars and violence break out and people clobber each other over the head with all manner of unpleasant words. If only God would appear to all of humanity in such a manner that the question of Who is God can be answered to the satisfaction of all the created creatures.

 

But, since the question remains, we have to choose. But choose on the basis of what? The evidence? A good one, but some of the options have no evidence, is that sufficient reason for disqualification? And for every belief system that presents evidence for their faith, there are others who will promptly be just as certain in their debunking of said evidence.

Shall we use the results as a guideline? Does it make the person a happier, more together, mature type person? Trouble is, the Dalai Lama looks about as happy, together, and good, as any mature Christian or Hindu. In fact, you will find examples of people who claim they changed into happier, more fulfilled people, as a result of believing as they do, in all faiths. To make matters worth, you will even find happy, mature, good, atheist.

 

How about: What faith has the best explanation of why God does not simply show him- or herself to us in such clear terms that there will be no room left for discussion?

This one doesn't work either because most faiths have an explanation for it. The Deists, for example, belief God created the universe, and then lost interest. 

So we are back to square one. What criteria to use to choose?

How about common sense? That is a good one, after all, common sense is what makes it possible for us to deduce that there is a Creator, or Creators, in the first place. How about deciding on the grounds of which belief system makes the most sense? Again, the purpose of this site is not to debate this issue. There are an abundance of resources available if you are still searching for answers to the above listed questions. To get you started there is a link to each of the criteria for the decision listed below.

Which faith gives the best and most sensible answers to all of the following questions:

  • Origins (How did creation come to be?)

  • Destiny (Is there life after death?)

  • Meaning (What is the point of life?)

  • Morality (Why do we have a sense of right and wrong, of fairness /justice or injustice?)

  • Pain & suffering (Why does God allow evil things to happen?)

Needless to say, reasoning led me to conclude that these questions are best answered in Christ. Which brings us to Him. And if you are grafted to the Vine, then obviously, you came to the same conclusion.

 
Who is the 'Vine'?

He created it as a home for beings He was going to create in His own image.

He will be the Father to these beings made in His image.

But for love to exist, the freedom to choose must exist. So a choice was given.

Sadly, the first ones chose to be like God themselves over obedience to God, they desired to know about evil. In doing so they became infested with evil and was no longer compatible with the Holy God who made them.

Yet God loved the children He had made and wanted to restore the relationship. His nature though created a challenge that had to be resolved for the relationship to be restored:

God, is both just and merciful, and justice and mercy are in opposition for as the offender pleads for forgiveness and mercy, his victim demands justice.

Yet God can not diminish His nature; He cannot compromise His justice anymore then He can His mercy.

 

The solution to this dilemma was Christ, the first born Son of God and who not only existed before Creation, He played a part in creating the very beings that now needed rescue. To achieve this He was born in human form, was extensively tested by the Evil one, yet, not once did He fail. Not once did He sin and betrayed God.

Then He, who was without sin, who was without need for mercy and forgiveness, was sentenced and executed in a most cruel and horrific way.

Through this, God punished all the sins committed by all people from the original sin to the day this world will come to an end, with full justice.

 

If the sinner, that would be you and me and the rest of humanity, wants to gain God’s mercy, s/he has to die to him- or herself and be reborn in Christ. (I will refer to people only in the masculine form from hereon. As Karen Walton rather astutely put it (Identity vs Lies): "If guys can be the bride of Christ, we (women) can get over being a son of God." :-)

But I digress, since the sinner died, what remains is the new creation in Christ - and Christ was already punished for all sins committed by that sinner.

As the demands of justice has been fully satisfied for all sins committed, God can now extend grace and mercy to the person and welcome him back to the family.

And so God solved the challenge of His dual nature, at tremendous cost to Himself

The newborn creature in Christ though, is still a far cry away from being like Christ. The journey to change daily, to be transformed into the image of Christ only then begins and will continue through the lifetime of the person, guided by the Holy Spirit. This is also refer to as 'die daily to your old selfish sinful nature and be renewed into the image of Christ. The 'die daily' is necessary because the ego is a really hard thing to kill. It is like weed, just when you think you got rid of it ...

And this is where the hope lies in Christianity:

Firstly, you have a Creator who is not only still very much involved and interested in humanity.

But He saved you, you don't have to try and work your way back to Him. Salvation is by grace.

Without Christ, you die when your physical body dies, and then you die again when God sends you to hell on judgement day. Hell is referred to as the 'second death.'

However if you will die to yourself, be born again in Christ, you are promised eternal life.

First a bit of background:

In the beginning God designed, coded and created the universe.

I heard this excellent summary of how Salvation works:

Be born once, die twice.

Be born twice, die once.

 

Though it is more accurate to say:

Be born once, die twice.

Be born twice, die daily to self, live forever.

So, to summarize: who is the Vine?

The Vine is the One who created us, and then saved us.

He won't want me 
 

This is a fairly common question and feeling: 'I am such a rotten person, did so many bad things, why would God want me, how could He love someone like me?'

What you have to keep in mind is that He is not surprised by anything you do, He knew what he was getting into before He created you. He still went ahead and made you. He sees something wonderful in you, and besides that, you are His child. It is a parent thing. 

 
What's the catch?

There always is one, isn't there? The catch is: God cannot be deceived - you cannot fake your way into Heaven. There are a few references to it in the Bible:

Merely being attached to the Vine is not enough, your life, your true thoughts and feelings (which is plain reading to God) must bear evidence that you are grafted to the Vine, not just stuck to the side.

Grafting will effect the following changes:

  • A desire to have a relationship with God and to do His will.

  • You will begin to change into the character of Christ.

  • Your life will 'bear fruit', that is, your deeds will prove there is a new life flowing through you.

If you find spending time with God boring, if you rarely think of Him unless you are in trouble or need help, if your prayer life and your time studying His ways are minimal or non-existent, if you find following His way burdensome - you are not truly grafted to Christ. You may mentally desire to be, but there is something blocking the flow of the Holy Spirit through your spiritual veins. Please find out what that is before it is too late. One of Satan's most effective tools is to make people belief they still have plenty time to worry about their salvation. You may have many years ahead of you, or today may be your last. The Spirit is working on changing you, if you are not, why not? What is holding you back, or preventing you from fully committing? Please get answers to these questions, before it is too late.

 
Life on the Vine

What is it like to be drafted to the Vine? Here are some common fears keeping people from being grafted:

  1. It will be too restrictive, I will have to give up activities I enjoy.

  2. I will never have fun again, life will become dull and boring.

  3. I will lose relations that is important to me.

  4. I will have to sit through many boring sermons.

  5. I will become like the Christians I've seen growing up.

Truth be told, all of these statements are true - and false.

  1. Yes, there will  be restrictions placed on your life. No more hating your enemies, no more watching inappropriate movies on visit inappropriate sites. No more cussing, no more immoral behavior, you are not even to have immoral thoughts! No more cheating, not even on your taxes. Worst of all, you have to put these restrictions on your self. God will not make it so that it is suddenly natural to live like that. Though there may be an area of two in your life that will change immediately, God does things in seed form. When you are first grafted to the Vine, you are a baby Christian. You will have to grow into a child, then a teenager to finally a mature adult. And there will be growing pains, your old nature is going to complain and resist - it will not go quietly. BUT, though the restrictions might be tough at first, if you will endure, you will experience a freedom you have never known before. Freedom from past hurts and emotions, such as bitterness and hatred, that only poisoned yourself and did nothing to those who hurt you. From fears and anxieties. If you will endure, in the end, the freedoms will far outweigh the restrictions.

  2. Life will become dull and boring, at least at first. Let's face it, a fast action-movie with wonderful graphics and accompanied dramatic music can ignite the imagination far more than sitting quietly in your room studying Romans chapter 5 on how suffering and self-discipline is a good thing. BUT,  again, if you will endure, being grafted to the Vine will become the greatest adventure of your life. 

  3. Yes, you can be quite sure you will lose relations that were important to you. Unless of course you never really had significant relationships. Think about it this way though, unless they accept the Lord as well, you are going to lose them in any case, so might as well be now. At the same time, you will forge new relationships, you will go on.

  4. Sadly, boring sermons are a reality. Our imaginations have been so over stimulated by modern media, that sitting still listening to one person droning on, is dreadfully dull in comparison. However, if you want to grow as a Christian and enter heaven as an adult and not a baby, studying and exercising will be required. Being able to do that is part of being / becoming an adult.

  5. If you have a fear of becoming like Christians, you most likely have an idea of intolerant, judgmental people, perhaps of hypocritical people. Sadly, Christians more often than not do not resemble Christ. What you have to understand is that we are not instantly transformed into the image of Christ, it is a daily process of dying to self. If you want to know what you should look like, study Christ, don't look at His followers for clues.