In this world of uncertainty, you never know when the day will come that you will breathe your last. For this reason the scripture tells us that today is the day of salvation. So turn to the Lord in repentance and faith today. Jesus’ words speak for themselves when He says, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
The following Persuasive Speech was written as a college assignment by Gabija Turauskaite
In my experience, when it comes to the conversations I’ve had over the years about the truth behind the gospel of Christianity, one area of disagreement has been the misconception that there is an alleged lack of evidence. This could not be further from the truth.
My job today is going to be to persuade of the truth of Christianity and the dangers of dismissing it.
My approach will be organized in such a way as to present first –evidence behind the truth of Christianity, second –distinguish the problem with which this truth inevitably leaves everyone with, and thirdly –present the answer and solution to this problem.
- The key event which highlights Christianity as the only true means of salvation is the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ after His crucifixion (1 Corinthians 15:14), which authorizes the credibility behind His teachings and personal statements on His exclusivity as Lord and Savior, unlike such that any other religion or religious leader in history may have claimed.
- Now, when it comes to historical science and verifying any distant past events or accounts in terms of their accuracy and credibility, historians are normally lucky to find one or two surviving ancient sources or documents, at the most, to confirm the facts.
- For example, when it comes to various great historical leaders we study today, such as Julius Caesar, according to E. M. Blaiklock, a scholar who has catalogued most of the secular writings of the Roman Empire, practically no documentation exists coming anywhere even close to the timespan of his life. Nonetheless, Caesar’s existence remains unquestioned.
- On the other hand, official documentation upon the life events of Jesus can be found in thousands of historical writings just merely written in the time span of 130 years within his life and after death. It includes as many as 42 different authors, including nine secular sources.
- Since indeed there is an abundance of these sources, by carefully examining each of them together, an undoubtably solid case can be established for the life, death, and resurrection of Christ being assuredly historical events.
- In fact, an investigation as this had been made in the past by one of the world’s leading experts on evidence, Dr. Simon Greenleaf.
- One of his major works was called A Treatise on The Law of Evidence, which the U.S. judicial system still relies on today. Being a known atheist, Greenleaf believed that the resurrection of Christ was either a hoax or a myth, but as a professor and founder of Harvard Law school, he was challenged by three of his law students to apply his rules of evidence to the resurrection account of Jesus Christ.
- The results of this investigation he recorded in a book called An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice: With an Account of the Trial of Jesus, in which he compares the accounts of the four New Testament gospels to other writings of known historians of the time such as Tacitus, Josephus, Seutonius and more.
- After examining the amount of consistencies and the resolved paradoxes, the only logical conclusion left for him to draw was that these documents were evidences of true events.
- Also having considered the fatal dangers of proclaiming the statements, which the authors of these sources did not hesitate to boldly proclaim, Greenleaf wrote, “it was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.” (1)
- Greenleaf was so astounded by his findings that he himself became a believer.
Having established that there is indeed solid documented credibility for Jesus’ resurrection I would like to now present an example of a previously mentioned concept, a statement of exclusivity, that Jesus makes about Himself in the context of the gospel of John: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (2) Let’s look now at the problematic threat this poses humanity with, when that which He says turns out to be the truth.
In the context of the Bible, God’s character is portrayed not only as that of great love but also as that of complete and utter holiness.
- Because God is perfect, holy and just, not only does He have a love toward goodness, but also a righteous hatred toward evil. He cannot condone acts of sin let alone allow them to ultimately go unpunished. His standard of judgement is His perfect Law. An example of this would include the 10 commandments.
- By the results of a survey I put together, 90% of the people surveyed believed themselves to be a good person. At the same time above a third answered that they would take it into their own hands to murder an innocent person for a very large sum of money.
- This gives great insight into how skewed our own perception and standard of goodness can be, especially when it comes to the evaluation of our own selves. Most believe that what is right and wrong is a matter of subjective preference.
- Fortunately, unlike our own morality, God’s standard is objective and because of His perfection, it requires absolute perfection. His Law is hard as nails and demands complete fulfillment. Because God is so holy and His justice is so thorough, He will not only punish murderers, rapists and thieves, but also those who have lied, dishonored their parents, committed adultery, sexual immorality, idolatry, blasphemy, covetousness, or greed.
- If we genuinely and honestly are to examine ourselves, we would have to admit that according to this standard, we have fallen short and broken these at one point, if not countless times ourselves and thus, are guilty –making us deserving of divine punishment which is hell. The Bible describes such a place as an eternal lake of fire.
- Author and Evangelist, Ray Comfort, writes, “Many people believe, that because God is good, He will forgive everyone, and let all sinners into Heaven. But they misunderstand His goodness. When [prophet] Moses once asked to see God’s glory, God told him he couldn’t see Him and live. Moses would instantly die if he looked upon God…all of God’s glory was displayed in His “goodness.” The goodness of God would have killed Moses instantly because of his personal sinfulness. The fire of God’s goodness would consume him, like a cup of water dropped onto the surface of the sun.” (3)
And thus, here lies the problem, because like Moses in this case, we fall incredibly short of the perfect standard of what God says is good, this leads many to the eternal punishment of hell. The reason I say many and not all is because God being rich in mercy went to great lengths to provide a way for mankind to be reconciled, redeemed and justified back to a perfect relationship with Him for those who will humbly receive it.
Before I explain what this way is, first imagine yourself standing in the courtroom before a judge. You have been declared guilty of terrible crimes and you are sentenced to capital punishment.
- Would you think to say to the judge, “well hey, I have done good works too! On my way here I washed your car windows, mowed the neighbor’s lawn, walked old ladies across the street, should not these things cancel out my crimes at least a little bit?” Most likely you would not say this, because it would come to be of no relevance on this day, to the system that demands consequences for crime and justice to be served. In fact it will be an even greater offense, attempting to bribe the judge in such a way as to corrupt his verdict.
- How much more will we not slip through the fingers of God, the holy Judge before whom each and everyone will be accountable for breaking the holy law. Attempting to solve the problem of sin with mere outward religious acts and good works is beyond futile.
- Now, take into consideration the very same scenario in the courtroom. However, this time in walks the very individual against whom you have committed all of these horrible crimes. To your surprise, however, instead of seeing to it that your punishment be executed, this person steps up to the front and demonstrates his mercy and lovingkindness toward you as he selflessly satisfies the debt of your crimes by agreeing to take upon himself the deadly punishment that you are due, so as to legally dismiss your case and provide you with a second chance to life.
- What would your reaction suddenly be toward this individual and toward your crimes? I would imagine that first, you would be terribly grieved, for the fact that your crime had cost the life of this individual when it should have been your own! Being completely undeserving, you would nonetheless be unspeakably grateful for his noble sacrifice, that this person cared so much for your life despite your animosity and transgression toward him. Holistically by the action of this person you would have been justified before the law, however, being now set free, by no means would you even entertain the desire of committing another crime again! This incident would inevitably leave an everlasting impression upon you.
- The function of this illustration is just a feeble attempt to portray the type of legal transaction that had to take place in order for the fallen man and woman to have the chance to be saved from the eternal consequences of his or her sins.
- In a similar way described, God Himself, out of His long-suffering grace provided a way to restore people from sin and destruction into everlasting life. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- This is what it meant for Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, to willingly go on the cross and die the gruesome death that he did not deserve.
Considering the work of Christ is a priceless gift, to take part in its possession one must willingly receive it. Because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, it is through repentance –a turning away from sin, and through placing one’s trust in Jesus Christ alone as the payment for these sins that one will receive the precious gift of passing from death unto salvation and life everlasting.
Since I have now presented some solid pieces of evidence and illustrations of the way the truth of Christianity personally affects each and every single person, the ball now is in your court to decide what you will do with this knowledge. Because this truth leaves you accountable not before men, but before God Himself, my prayer is that you consider your response to an opportunity as this wisely, as it will bare consequences affecting not only your present life, which is merely a vapor, but your whole eternity.
In this world of uncertainty, you cannot know when the day will come that you will breathe your last, it could be tomorrow or even today for all you know. And for this reason the scripture tells us that today is the day of salvation. So turn to the Lord in repentance and faith now. Jesus’ words speak for themselves when He says, “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” and “what shall a man give in exchange of his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2004),127.
- Greenleaf, Simon, and Joseph Salvador. An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice. With an Account of the Trial of Jesus. Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1846. 53. Print.
- New Testament. John. Chapter 14, verse 6.
- Comfort, Ray. Why Christianity. Orlando, Florida: Bridge-Logos, 2007. Print.