Pastor James
April 7, 2022

I'm sure you have all seen the "COEXIST" bumper sticker. It is quite a clever design. Each letter is designed to represent a religious symbol, including that of the Wicca. Its message is clear: it calls on all religious groups to stop fighting and get along with one another!

The difficulty with this proposition is that there are religions that make exclusive truth claims about their teaching. If one religion claims that theirs is the only true religion and another makes the same claim, it's obvious that there will be a conflict. “1 + 1 = 2” and “1 + 1 = 3” cannot be both true!

But there are different kinds of exclusive truth claims. A theocratic nation, in which a state is governed by its religion, has the option to eliminate any competing religious views within its territory. A theocratic religion is equipped not only with a religious canon but also with the sword.

But there are non-theocratic religions. That's why, at one level, Christians can agree with the call to COEXIST. Contrary to popular belief, the Bible doesn't call for a theocratic Christian nation. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world" (John 18:36).

This is why His disciples didn’t call for rebellions and riots and coup d'états. Instead, they called on the Christians to be "subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors" (1 Peter 2:13). Christians are to live at peace with others, even with those of different beliefs (Romans 12:18). This wouldn’t be possible if Christianity were a theocratic religion. Jesus gave to His church "the keys of the kingdom of heaven," not the sword of the secular government.

What about Christianity's exclusive claim--"There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12)? Doesn’t this lend itself to intolerance? Christians are encouraged to share the gospel with others because it is "good news"—how God offers us the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ! Christians are not to establish a "Christian" nation and force everyone to believe in Christ. The Israel experience in the Old Testament showed that true religion cannot be enforced by law.

Even though Christianity is not the only religion with an exclusive truth claim, it has many unique, distinguishing features. One is its unique message that we need a Redeemer, not just a better, newer set of laws, not just more chances and more education. It points out that our problem is not a lack of moral knowledge, but a corruption of the heart.

This divine indictment against humanity sounds offensive. But can we refute it? Why is it so hard to get rid of bad habits? Not because we don't know they are bad but because we don't want to get rid of them. If our hearts were truly good, all the loopholes in our law wouldn't matter. We will follow the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law. But history has shown that no system of law can close all the loopholes--as long as our hearts are corrupt.

But the Bible doesn't just condemn. It also speaks of God's appointed Savior. He could not be just a great teacher (because we won't be able to keep his teaching as long as our hearts are corrupt). He must actually save us. How?

First, our Savior had to take the punishment for all our wrongdoings. To do this, He Himself could not be guilty of any wrongdoing. And He must have infinite value to make the full payment of all our wrongdoings. Second, He must rise again from the dead to prove that all our wrongdoings have been fully paid for (for the price of our wrongdoing is death, Romans 3:23) and that He conquered death for us. Third, He must have the authority and power to give us a new heart. This, only God can: we need a God-man to save us.

Jesus is the eternal Son of God made man, God's appointed Savior of the world. He did not just happen to be a great man. He came and lived according to the law of God perfectly and fulfilled the prophecies made in the Old Testament. He died for our sins and rose again from the dead. By His death, He brought forgiveness for our sins. By His resurrection, Jesus demonstrated that He conquered death and has the authority to give eternal life to all those who believe in Him. We invite you to believe who He is and trust what He has done for your redemption!