Thursday, March 1, 2012

Are Christianity and New Age Beliefs Compatible?

Are Christianity and New Age Beliefs Compatible?

More importantly, how can a person determine which is truth? So many people are searching for truth, enlightenment, and fulfillment. Their quest for knowledge and understanding has filled them with many confusing thoughts and ideas. The New Age “enlightenment” often appeals to those that are searching because it includes a smorgasbord of ideas, beliefs and allows an individual to pick and choose from a variety of philosophies that include good works, paths to enlightenment, and spiritual development. New Age concepts of religion also seem to appeal to those that have had their creative expression squelched by parents or other people of influence, especially those that had a fundamental belief system that seemed restrictive in some manner.

What we all need to remember is that each person has to go on this journey alone. Each person has an inner desire to explore different options and find their way to the truth. It can be difficult to allow someone to go on that journey for fear that they will become so polluted with various worldly ideas that they never make it back to the truth. Our fear is that others won‘t be able to sort through all the confusion to find their way to Jesus (who, by the way, is known as THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE in John 14:6). This is where each one of us that declare the name of Christ as our Savior must remember that we, too, had to go on that journey. We had to search so that we could make an informed choice, and God gives each person the free will to decide for themselves. God never violates a person’s will, and believe it or not, even if He might seem very far away in a person’s life that is on that search, the reality is that He is right there with them. You see, the rest of John 14:6 says that ‘no man comes to the Father except through Me.’ Those are Jesus’ words. John 1:17 says that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. With that being said, if Jesus Christ really is the way to truth, then what is written in John 8:32 makes all the sense in the world: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Who makes you free? Jesus Christ. Who is there are our guide? His Holy Spirit, and it‘s the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and error just as much as it is His job to reveal the truth about Jesus Christ.

The word ‘convict’ actually means ‘convince.’ Jesus sent Holy Spirit to convince people of the truth, if in fact they were really interested in knowing the truth. And that, my friends, is the biggest factor in whether a person ever arrives at truth. Some people will never submit to the truth because it is a determination of their own will that they would rather entertain fantasy and error rather than submit to God. It’s kind of like an ostrich putting their head in the sand; if they don’t acknowledge the truth they rationalize that they can avoid it (and therefore the consequences of accountability to that truth). However, no one fools God. He knows when a person has understood and rejected Him, and for those unfortunate souls there can only ever be a fearful expectation of eternal damnation, for their sins will never be atoned for unless they accept the provision of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. A person has to want to be led into truth, and God is a gentleman. The Holy Spirit will never try to lead a person into truth that is unwilling to follow. We each have a responsibility to take a bite of truth, digest it, and go back for more. If we don’t, we just end up ignorant. That’s not meant to be mean or offensive, just a simple statement of truth. God has left us a book of truth, and He puts people in our path to share those truths with us, but if we stop up our ears and refuse to hear, we can never claim ignorance as an excuse.

New Age beliefs support many paths to seeking spiritual “light” or enlightenment, which basically encourages curiosity seekers to find whatever works for them, whether it be meditation, trances, tarot cards, mediums, astrology, spirit guides, or other forms of seeking spiritual revelation. It’s not the searching that is wrong, it is going to the wrong source for information. Any information obtained by occult practices is not holy, pure or from God‘s Holy Spirit. It is from the underworld and it’s demons. When God gave Moses the 10 commandments, He was very clear in saying, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” (Exodus 20:3). Deut. 12:30,31 issues a warning from the Lord to anyone that would read the Bible for it says, “take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ God goes on to tell His people they should not worship in that manner. As a matter of fact, in the New Testament Jesus spoke and declared, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” Numbers 23:19 in the Old Testament says, “God is not a man that He should lie.”

There is another difference between New Age philosophies and Christianity that are not viewed as compatible. New Age beliefs tend to view God as a source of energy rather than a person, but that is not what the Bible teaches. One person recently made a statement that since God created everything, He is the source of all energy therefore all gods, all energy is good and acceptable because it comes from the same source. This is not truth. First of all, GOD is known as a Father, a person with a mind, will, and emotions. This person has a voice. HE communicates with mankind. The Bible says in Genesis 1:26-28 that mankind is made in HIS image. In the image and likeness of God we are made - meaning, we each have a mind, will and emotions. We have a body. We have a soul. We are not just a lump of ‘energy’ floating around in the universe. Does ‘energy’ have a soul, a mind to make choices, feelings, emotions or have opinions? Inside your body is the real you. Your body is just house for your spirit. God doesn’t need to use a natural type of “house.“ We do. Someday, the house is going to fall off and the real you is going to live ~ somewhere. The question is, where will you spend eternity? Energy, if that’s all the universe (and that includes you and your body) is made of, wouldn’t care one bit where you spent eternity, but your spirit does! Your spirit KNOWS it will live forever. Your spirit knows and searches for truth because it has to settle the question of where will it go when your flesh dies! This is at the quest for every person searching for truth. Believe me, when a person is unsure, they are willing to search everywhere. They must come up with an answer that gives them PEACE WITH GOD. So let’s check out this “energy based religious philosophy” and see if it flies, shall we?

Every aspect of God whether in the form of Father, Son or Holy Spirit is as a person. Read the Bible and you’ll see this is true. God never represents Himself as someone He is not. He has emotions, He has feelings, character, integrity, standards, a value system…does ‘energy’ have a all that? New Age beliefs tend to support ideas and philosophies that support independence from God rather than submission to a loving Father. They also support self fulfillment, self seeking, self exaltation (a path of becoming like God through higher planes of revealed light) and making “self” their god - all of which supports a belief system that all of what is sought can be obtained outside of coming to the real Jesus and coming into a relationship with a loving Father and the One True God of all creation. This is the ultimate rebellion, to deny the Father that created us, and to rebel against all His ways. New Age philosophies support a path of independence and rebellion, (“I can be like God without actually coming to Christ or developing a personal relationship with Him) while Christianity promotes a humble Father/child relationship of submission, love, and the declaration that we believe God is who He says He is. One can never deny the person of Jesus Christ and expect to enter into God’s holy heaven, for it is written, “nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11.

In every other religion in the world, righteousness is self made through good works, not imputed through a Holy God. In every other religion, there is a demand to earn acceptance or favor to that particular god or belief system through “proving oneself” in whatever acts or beliefs supported by that particular brand of religion. In NO OTHER religion has man or idol given their life to redeem mankind from their sins. The Bible teaches us that we have no righteousness of our own. Ephesians chapter one is full of incredible truths about God’s love, acceptance and redemption. Listen to this: He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which HE MADE US ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED! Wow! Total acceptance, unconditional love, all free for the asking. Go read the rest of what it says, for He has also given you a promise of inheritance! The truth is, there is nothing we can do to be holy or good enough to enter into God’s holy heaven outside of the blood of Jesus covering our sin. Our righteousness comes from Christ, not anything we can do to try to argue or defend how good we are. When we accept Christ as our Savior, not only does He forgive our sin and wipe the slate clean (how gracious is that!) but He actually puts His holiness, or His Spirit within us so that we never again have to feel separated from God. Never again do we have to question or wonder who we belong to. Never again do we have to feel fatherless, rejected, unsure of whether or not we are loved by God. His acceptance is so complete that He decided long ago - before He ever went to the cross - He decided that He would be the sacrifice for our sins instead of us having to pay the penalty of death and eternal separation. That is how great His love is for mankind, for you, and for me. You see, ultimately, all searching for some form of god that we can relate to is trying to find a place of acceptance, a place that builds up our self worth, and to obtain some sort of peace within ourselves, with others, and with God. Jesus Christ is the ONLY one whose name Jehovah Shalom means “Prince of Peace.” Jesus Christ did come in the form of a MAN, not some obscure form of “energy” - to redeem mankind from the power of sin. There’s no denying that truth. Just because He returned to His Father and we do not see him in human form walking the earth like He once did, does not nullify His existence or the fact that He really did come to earth and fulfill all that the Bible says He did. There are recorded testimonies of His good works, His miracles, His death and resurrection, not to mention His ascension to heaven. This truth is undisputable.

What it comes down to is what plumb line are we using to determine truth? Feelings? Opinions? Someone else’s philosophies or ideas? Because in every other religion, philosophy, cult or cultural belief system, truth is relevant only so long as it is actually based on truth. Feelings, ideas, opinions, philosophies, cultures or traditions are man made. At the end of the day, are you going to believe a man, who is just as weak or full of hot air and illogicalness as you are, or, would you prefer to believe a holy God that cannot lie, one that has already proven His love for you by giving His life and shedding His blood for you? At the end of the day, are you going to trust in yourself to get you to heaven, or will you put your trust in Jesus to impute His righteousness so that you can be assured of your salvation? Let me share this from the Word of God.

“Therefore by the deeds of the flesh no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, …(Rom. 3:24)

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin.” (Rom. 4:7,8) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1,2) “For when we still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:6) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Rom. 5:8-11).

The bottom line for me is, God has given me a testimony. Many, actually. When I was killing myself with alcohol and drugs and had no strength to deliver myself, when I came to an end of myself and cried out to God, He was there. Energy wasn’t. Some other god wasn’t. When I had exhausted all other options of relying on myself or others, when all my other resources and answers failed, God was there. Jesus Christ was the only one that cared enough to show up and cut the chains that held me in sin and captivity. Jesus Christ was the name I called on when I got serious and wanted to know truth. And He was the One that answered. He was the one that was faithful and true, just like the Bible says He is. He will never be anything less than what He says He is. He is so holy and trustworthy that He cannot contradict who He is! The bottom line for me is, no one can ever try to convince me that He isn’t real, or that other gods are equal to Him or it’s all from the same source because God has proven a very different reality. I know demons are real because I’ve lived with them. I’ve heard them talk to me. I’ve seen them, and I’ve experienced them trying to destroy my life. So no one can ever convince me that “other gods” have my best interests at heart and it all comes from the same place. Neither do I believe all roads lead to heaven. That’s a lie straight from the pit of hell designed to keep people in rebellion and away from the truth. Why? Because Satan gets to claim those souls for eternal trophies if he can take their life before they come to the truth and commit their life to Christ. You see, it’s not enough to know the truth, there has to be a commitment to live by it. People are just as much at risk of ending up in hell not because they don’t know the truth, but because they won’t submit to it and worship God for who He is. There is a great deal more that could be written on this subject, but this is it for now. I pray that this article has helped answer some questions for those on the journey. Remember, God has promised that if you call on His name He will tell you great and mighty things that you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3). Why don’t you give Him a call?

Prayer for Salvation:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Right now I am making a choice to believe in what the Bible says. I reject all worldly philosophies and ask that you cleanse my mind of all confusion. I ask You to please forgive me of my sins and adopt me as Your child. I do believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son, that He died on behalf of the sin for all mankind, including my own. I believe He did rise from the dead and that by my confession of faith in Jesus Christ my sins are forgiven and I have eternal life. Holy Spirit, please fill me with the fullness of Your Spirit and empower me to live for God. Thank you, Lord Jesus for being my Savior, my Lord, my provider, protector and friend. In Jesus name, Amen.

#Prayerforsavation, #HowdoIgetsaved?, #NewAgeNotforMe, #Testimonyofsalvation, #JesusChrist, #Allroadsdon'tleadtoheaven, #Takethenarrowroad

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