September 19, 2018
From the writings of the
Rev. Billy Graham
Q: It seems that more and more people believe that when we die we reemerge in a different form and have a second chance at life. Some try to say that Christianity teaches this. Could this be possible?
A: The Bible does not teach reincarnation. Scripture makes it very clear that we live only once and that when we die we go into eternity. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
For mankind to hope for a second chance reveals the knowledge that life is imperfect. The Bible teaches that God is perfect and holy, and even one sin will keep us from His presence. Every manifestation of evil is the result of basic sin—sin that has remained unchanged since the moment it first entered the human race. Evil is real—but so is God’s power and love.
There is only one way for us to be freed from our sins and that is for God to forgive us and cleanse us. We cannot do it ourselves. If God, though, simply erased our sins and acted as if they never happened, He would be acting as if evil did not matter. But it does matter.
This is why Christ came in to the world. He was without sin—but on the cross He took upon Himself your sins and mine. He came to take upon Himself the punishment for our sins. Think of it: God in the person of Christ took the penalty of death and Hell that you and I deserve! Don’t put your hope in ideas that will only deceive you, but by faith turn to Christ and trust Him alone for your salvation. He alone is our hope.
Q: It seems that taking the good from Buddha, the Dali Lama and Jesus would make for a good system. I believe that each person’s religion should be by personal design. Why should I believe what someone else has concocted?
A: Just a few years ago a tech company began developing “How to Redesign a Religion.” Branding everything these days is big business and advertisers have not left religion out of the boom. A social media site once tried to develop a program “Religion of Individualism.” A British comedian targeted this trend in a short film called “How to Start a Religion.”
Religion won’t save anyone. Christianity is true faith in God that requires selflessness, but it is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish. A religion designed to reflect one’s personal desire is contrary to having a personal relationship with God, who puts within His true follower His desires. Society is doing a good job of convincing the world that Jesus has no power to judge sin. Some believe that following His example of doing kind acts to others is what empowers us to be good.
The world does not object to this kind of Christianity—content to have only a social Christ who provides what we want for ourselves. The world does object to the living Christ, all-knowing and all-powerful. So we try to rationalize away the fullness of Christ, which includes His resurrection and His command to obey His Word.
The Bible says, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes” (Isaiah 5:21). We must put less confidence in ourselves and more trust and faith in God who has shown the world His great love.