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The Stumbling Block
by Zeal Clark
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Many Christians may not fully understand the reason for resistance to, and rejection of, the Christian faith, or the cause of some bitterness toward those who are followers of Christ. Not realizing the historical nature or the Biblical explanation for this rejection, it might be easy to conclude that perhaps the message of Christianity is somehow unreasonable or untrue. But it should be encouraging for Christians to realize that the problem is not the message itself, but that there is a deeper-rooted reason for the rejection of Christianity by non-believers. Many of those who resist the message of Christianity do so because it is rooted in the belief that Jesus Christ is part of the Trinity, and as such is equal to God. Therefore, Jesus is the stumbling block for non-Christian religions.

The Prophet Isaiah told of the origin for this resistance in Isaiah 28:16:

16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. NKJV

In this Scripture Isaiah is prophesying about the appearance of Jesus and of His role in the redemption of man. He is saying that Jesus will be the foundation of Christianity and the foundation upon which our relationship with God will be enabled.

And then Psalm 118:22-23 foretold that the cornerstone of Christianity would be rejected by those who did not want to accept Jesus as equal to God, but that this was part of Godís plan for separating the believers from the unbelievers.

22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This was the LORD's doing ;It is marvelous in our eyes. NKJV

Jesus foretold in various Scriptures of the resistance to His deity and the hatred His followers would receive because of their belief in His deity, such as in His prayer to His Father in John 17:14:

14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. NKJV

The Book of Acts dealt with the rejection of Jesusí deity in Acts 4:11-12:

11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." NKJV

Jesus further declared what should be expected as a result of our belief and othersí refusal to accept Him as Lord in Matthew 21:42-44:

42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD's doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes'?

43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.

44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder." NKJV

But despite all the pronouncements of the deity of Christ, along with the warnings given in Scripture regarding the rejection of Christ, there is still a strong rejection, even a hatred by many, to any notions of His role as Lord of All.

The following excerpts were taken from a daily devotional:

"Judaism sees salvation as a judgment day decision based on morality. Hindus anticipate multiple reincarnations in the soulís journey through the cosmos. Buddhism guides your life according to the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold Path. Muslims earn their way to Allah through the five Pillars of Faith. Many philosophers deem life after death as hidden and unknown, 'a great leap in the dark.'

"Some people clump Christ with Moses, Mohammad, Confucius, and other spiritual leaders. But Jesus declares, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'

"Many object with, 'All roads lead to heaven.' But how can they?

"Buddhists look toward Nirvana, achieved after no less than 547 reincarnations. Christians believe in one life, one death, and an eternity of enjoying God.

"Humanists donít acknowledge a creator of life. Jesus claims to be the source of life.

"Spiritualists read your palms. Christians consult the Bible.

"Hindus perceive a plural and impersonal God. Christ-followers believe 'there is only one God.'

"Every non-Christian religion says, 'You can save you.' Jesus says, 'My death on the cross saves you.'

"All roads donít lead to London, all ships donít sail to Australia, and all flights donít land in Rome. Every path does not lead to God."

All of these examples are simply attempts to avoid the acceptance of Christ as being equal to God. Therein is the refusal to accept His plan for salvation and the attempts to find substitute forms of God or the absolute refusal to believe in any form of deity.

The rejection of Christ is much more than simple rejection. It is the essence of the spirit of anti-Christ in its purest form. It's the attempt to prove that Jesus is a mere historical figure who has been elevated by His followers into a symbol of worship. It generates the need to find a substitute figure or belief system that can be glorified and lifted up to override any temptations to accept Jesus as deity and disprove the basis for Christianity.

The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in his letter to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 1:22-31:

22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- 31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD." NKJV

As Christians, we must not be disturbed by those who reject the only path to salvation. While continuing to reach out to them with truth, and continuing to pray that they will accept the truth that is presented to them, we must understand that their resistance to truth is generated by the spirit of anti-Christ, which was first revealed by Jesus to His disciples and still remains a spiritual reality.

Despite the negative influences that would serve to deter others, as Christians we must be diligent in our effort to reach them with the truth that Jesus alone is the way to eternal life.


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