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The Dialogue on Christianity

Chapter 4

Bryan: Do! I couldn't think of any thing to do. I had really been trying hard to show God that I was a good person, worthy of heaven. I had a lot of faith in myself, but all of that was draining out of me very quickly. I couldn't get the words "damned" and "hell" out of my mind. I don't mean that I was cursing out of frustration, but that I was beginning to get the picture that I was damned. I had offended a holy God—that's really what sin is—and damned is what I was, and hell is where I was going! My reformation wasn't working out at all. That was really frustrating. Those thoughts were like blisters on my hands—they were impossible to avoid.

It was at this point that I talked with my friend Ben. Haven't I mentioned him to you? He told me that unless somehow I could obtain the righteousness of One who had never sinned (Ben was speaking of Christ, of course)—unless I could have His righteousness as a gift—then neither my so-called righteousness nor even the combined attempted righteousness of the whole world of people like myself could save me.

John: You have mentioned him before. He works for my illustrious competition! You know, I told you that I met him once at some meeting downtown. Nice enough guy. So he was talking to you at that time? Do you think he led you the right way?

Bryan: Well, if he had told me this earlier—that is, when I thought I was doing so well—I would have thought he was insane. But now that I saw myself more clearly, I thought that what he was saying was the only hope. In other words, if there was to be any way out, his idea seemed the only logical one. And, as I said, the only person fitting that description of having never sinned was Jesus Christ.

John: I've always known about Christ. He surely didn't tell you anything you didn't already know.

Bryan: He told me plenty, but he was going to have to repeat it later. I was still smarting under the blow of realizing my own sinfulness. I didn't get all of what he was saying at first. It was like a foreign language. Now I know that he explained it all perfectly, but that my ears were still not yet opened by God to hear it all. The Bible says, you know, that spiritual things are not understood by those without Christ because they are to be spiritually discerned. I know now that God was saying that the life must be changed by God before all of this would make full sense.

But it was at this point that the whole direction of things got complicated and confusing because of another reason altogether.

Read Chapter 5
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