The Critical Imperative
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: NASB
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the NASB version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
We ponder the large things when we are alone with our thoughts. . .
Why is the universe the way it is? Is there a purpose for me that is larger than I? Why do I suspect that there is an ultimate Other?
Of course you could be a dedicated materialist/nihilist and attribute it all to some kind of unknowable inevitability, given enough time and undirected random colocation of chemicals …
As a boy in a small town on the desert in Nevada with parents who provided well for me, hiking the hills and canyons, studying the wild plants and flowers, reading about history, geography, and nature, I sensed a beauty, an order, a source intelligence to it all. But I couldn’t bring it into focus. Too self-absorbed. Too busy.
Things became more clear in a Bible class for high school youth. There the stories I had but dimly heard when younger took on a sharper bite. I learned that not only was God really there, He took on human presence as the person of Jesus, lived 17,729,280 perfect minutes on earth, taught a new message, healed physical diseases, cast out demons, died for the claims He made for Himself as a payment for the sins of the world on a foreigners’ cross, was then bodily raised from the dead—now He invited me to respond to Him:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. —Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 11.
A barrier became a victory.
Rest—with a yoke: blessed paradox! But there was at the same time a certain frightening recognition: I wasn’t fit for the presence of a perfect God. There was the list of bad things done, yes, but worse—a congenital spiritual disease, a volitional undertow of self-serving and God-ignoring:
The lust of the flesh [the urge to consume] and the lust of the eyes [the urge to seize] and the boastful pride of life [the urge to control] …
—First Letter of John, Chapter 2
I knew that if my attitude and behavior did not meet what meager standards I had, God’s standard was infinitely higher—and with a just penalty:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
—Letter to the Romans, Chapter 3
And if God were as morally and judicially perfect as by definition He would have to be, my imperfection eternally exiled me from His presence:
For the wages of sin is death [spiritual separation] . . .
—Romans Chapter 6.
But Jesus had turned a barrier into a victory!
Christianity isn’t about making bad people good—
it’s about making dead people alive.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the Just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit. —First Letter of Peter, Chapter 3
His life shows me how to love. His death on the cross paid the penalty I owed. His rising from the tomb enables a new life. His rule with God the Father now gives me a live option. My response is to believe what the Anointed One said of Himself, to rely totally on His saving work, and to commit myself to growing into the man He intends me to be:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him Who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. —Gospel of John, Chapter 5
If Jesus the Anointed is Who He claimed—and demonstrated Himself—to be, this brings a sudden imperative to each of us.
You have read my response. What is yours?
Do you wish to explore further? If so, communicate with me and I will send you a free copy of the New Testament.