Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.
That the Second Person of the Triune Godhead humbled Himself to incarnate as a human male, to be arrested (though he committed no crime), unjustly sentenced to death, horribly tortured with flagellation and thorns piercing his head, then nailed and crucified on the cross to die, abandoned by all except one of his friends and disciples, so as to redeem all humans from our sins and from eternal damnation in Hell, is a central tenet of Christianity.
But too many who call themselves Christian no longer subscribe to that fundamental tenet.
In a recent homily, the pastor of my parish (who frequently uses his homilies to psychobabble about how we can boost our “self-esteem”) actually said that Christ died on the cross not because of our sins, but so that we can “let go of childhood hurts” — more psychobabble.
While Republican presidential candidate and Seventh Day Adventist Ben Carson opined on Facebook that Easter wasn’t about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, and His ensuing resurrection proving he is the only Son of God. Instead, according to Carson, “As Easter approaches, let us remember . . . Jesus . . . preached love, he preached acceptance. He also was a man of values and principles, and he ended up being crucified for it. But, he rose again to advocate godly principles of loving our fellow man, caring about our neighbors, developing our God-given talents to the utmost so that we become valuable to the people around us, and maintaining high ideals that govern our lives.”
In other words, according to Ben Carson, Jesus was crucified because of “intolerance,” and the utterly astonishing miracle of His resurrection from the dead is so that we “become valuable to the people around us”.
Carson then used our Lord’s crucifixion to lecture to us about the need to accept and be tolerant of others because “Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in God, and while there are ideological differences in who Jesus was, we should find peace in the fact that we are all God’s children. We must make certain that people of all types of faith are respected by one another . . . . It is critical that we allow Americans to practice their religious ways, while also ensuring that no one’s beliefs infringe upon those of others.”
So Christians’ belief that Jesus is God is merely an “ideological difference”? A trivial little “ideological difference” from Muslims who, at best, consider Jesus a prophet like Mohammad, and from Jews who, in their Talmud, call Jesus a “fool,” “insane,” a “conjurer” and “idol”, the bastard (“illegitimate”) son of a woman who conceived Jesus from her intercourse with “an evil spirit”. (See Rev. I. B. Pranaitis, The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians, 1892.)
How about satanists, Mr. Carson? Should we also respect them and their “religious ways”?
God help us.
The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole hearts, our whole souls, our whole minds, and with all our strength.
May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus the Christ be with you,