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A pedestrian bridge in the heart of Oslo, Norway, has a red sign proclaiming that “Truth is flexible.”

Norway is a beautiful, friendly, and prosperous country, but that sign is an illustration of how far Norwegian culture has drifted from its long and rich Christian heritage. Nearly 9 out of 10 Norwegians are members of a church, just as their parents and grandparents have been for generations. But today not even 1 in 10 actually goes to church. As secularism has taken root and spread, many in Norway—as in our own country—believe that truth is what you want it to be or what feels right to you. Yet when we take our last breath on earth, that thinking won’t stand. Each of us steps into eternity in one of only two places—Heaven or Hell.

To show us the only true way to salvation and eternal life, the Bible points directly to “the message of truth, the gospel” (Eph. 1:13) and tells us that the “truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21). Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”(John 14:6). That’s the most important truth anyone can hear, and it is what I went to Oslo to preach.

“This has been very revealing to me,” one woman in Oslo said after going forward Sunday night during the invitation. She explained that she remembered making a spiritual commitment years ago but had not been going to church or living for Christ. Instead, she had settled comfortably into the culture of materialism and apathy all around her.

Our mindset colors everything we do and how we do it. If we focus on the positive, chances are that our experience will be good, but if we focus on the negative, we’re more likely to encounter problems and setbacks. This correlation carries over to the marriage relationship. Choosing to put Christ, instead of ourselves, in the center allows Him to bless our families and make our unions happy and successful.

A marriage centered on our own efforts is more likely to have issues that strain the relationship. Lack and insufficiency can affect the quality of the relationship, but this is not God’s will for us. Jesus’ first miracle happened when He attended a wedding that lacked enough wine to go around, but lack turned into abundance when He turned water into wine (John 2:1-10). Whatever we lack in our relationships, whether it’s peace, joy, or biblical truths about marriage, will surely turn into abundance when Jesus is present.

Marriages based on anything less than Christ are at risk of conflict, strife, and spiritual forces intent on destroying the relationship. This is because most people tend to focus on the other partner in the marriage, instead of on Jesus. We all have flaws and shortcomings, and depending on someone else instead of Jesus to complete us opens us up to disappointment and distress. Jesus went to the cross and died for us to have successful marriages, and focusing on Him changes our whole perspective. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

In today's world, and even in many of our churches, grace is no longer amazing; it is boring, just as J. I. Packer has diagnosed: "The thought [of grace] means nothing to them; it does not touch their experience at all" (Knowing God, 129).

It is true that, in this age of human rights and animal rights and every other kind of right, grace is neither needed nor appreciated. People are no longer enthralled with the grace of God because they believe they are good without God and that everyone has the right to go their own way. Therefore, the world rejects any concept of sin—not to mention the judgment such rebellion deserves. And so, it spurns the awesome grace of God.

Out of His love, God came to us.

This grace is the defining characteristic of Christianity, making it absolutely unique among all religions. For, whether we are talking about the Eightfold Path of the Buddha, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish ceremonial laws, or the Islamic sharia law, all other belief systems tell the story of how mankind is striving to earn God's favor, to earn salvation. But Christianity is the story of how God reached down to mankind out of His great love.

In Christianity, no one can reach God.


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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

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