I told him it's not "easy" to truly believe the perfect and sinless Son of God was born of a virgin, lived a life without sin, was crucified by men, died and was buried, then rose again from the grave and ascended to Heaven to pave the way for us to follow. There's an old saying that fits well here. "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it." But think about all the people who refuse to believe.
With about as much digging as it takes to find a grain of sand in the Sahara, one can read libraries full of vitriolic rhetoric dedicated to destroying all things Christian. These folks aren't just unbelievers, they're activists working constantly to prevent others from believing, and to turn weak believers away from Christ. It's more difficult to find a stray cat in an alley than it is to locate a Christ-hater in today's society.
Others, like my friend, aren't activists, but find themselves doubting God could look past all the "bad" things they've done and permit them to enter the pearly gates of Heaven. In their minds, the price seems way too low to repay the wrongs they've committed. And that's what makes it really difficult to truly and completely believe the Gospel.
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." ~ Hebrews 8:12
But God's Word promises us forgiveness and states He will completely forget our sins, just like they never happened. All He requires of us is true faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived, taught, and died so that we might all have an opportunity to live. One thing He doesn't promise us though, is that it will be "easy."
There are several reasons I say that being a Christian isn't "easy." The first is that true and complete faith is more than just walking down the aisle at church, mouthing the right words to the preacher, and getting dunked in the water. True and complete faith isn't present when, before the water from the baptistry dries from our skin, we're out the church doors and returning to the same sinful lifestyle as before. This doesn't mean we'll never sin again when we're truly saved. We certainly will, due to our sinful human nature. But once one truly and completely accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, once you truly believe the Gospel story, and once you truly realize the sacrifice He made for you and for me, you WILL want to change. You WILL want to serve him. And you WILL NOT want to return to your prior sinful lifestyle!
Reaching that point is not easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's really quite difficult. It's hard because it means turning away from what we're accustomed to. It means avoiding things we considered fun. It means losing friends from that prior life who don't want to accompany us on our ride through life with Christ. It means trials, tribulations, and persecution. All these hardships are promised to us in the New Testament. No, reaching that point is not "easy," but the reward is great, and it is real.
That reward is an eternity spent with Jesus Himself, in a place with no tears, no death, no pain, and no suffering. That's what comes with the forgiveness and the forgetting of our sins before we believed, eternity in Heaven with our Savior. It's not easy, but it's so, so worth it.
If you haven't already, take another look at the promises of Jesus Christ, and think about the promises in today's scripture too. Forgiveness, forgetfulness, and acceptance, of you and of me, and eternity with Jesus in Heaven. It's not easy. It's hard. But once you take the plunge and truly and completely believe, you'll never regret it.
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.