Why is Christianity is the remover of the stones?
Why is Christianity the remover of stones that make people stumble? Because God desires people to be free.
Maybe we should be more clear on the question at hand. The answer seems to indicate that institutionalized Christianity removes the stones—that attending church and participating in church sacraments, and the like, removes the stones of incorrect views the world presents. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity, in all its iterations, points of views, arguments, false Christs, struggling Christians, and more, does not of itself remove the stones in people’s path. In fact, it is safe to say that Christianity is at times but another stone that lay in the path leading people away from the truth. This is the very reason why many atheists point to the Christian church and rail against it—in some respects, rightly so.
What we are pointing to as the why Christianity removes the stones, is the work of God as recorded in the biblical record. The why behind Christianity removing the stones is God. It is God who has accomplished the means to do this.
This then leads to another question: Why would God make the effort? After all, doesn’t God have more to do than pay attention to people? King David asked essentially the same question in the oft quoted Psalm:
“…what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5 ESV).
David’s question, “Why do you care for mankind?” is a reasonable one to ask. In fact, many people today argue that if God existed, he certainly would not concern himself with mankind. Yet, this is the opposite view of the entirety of the Bible. In fact, David answers the question for us by pointing out the foundational reason for God’s interest in humanity—God made mankind. As the creator of mankind, God is compelled by his love to provide a solution of humanity’s greatest dilemma—his sins. God’s love, care, and provision for mankind is exhibited most greatly in the New Testament passage of John 3:16 (italics added).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 KJV).
Why does God make the effort? Because God loves humanity. Does this strike you as difficult to believe? It should not. People often go to great lengths to save others, including animals. People place themselves in harm’s way in order to assist and save. Click here for a few examples of people helping and saving animals.
Some people question God’s love and action for humanity all the while displaying their inherent capacity and inner drive to help others (people and animals) who cannot help themselves. God’s efforts to help and save helpless humanity is history’s greatest effort on behalf of those who cannot help themselves.
God seeks to clarify people’s thinking We can accurately say that mankind’s sins cloud his view of the truth. People by nature do not view God correctly. This ranges from nearly countless current and historical religions to naturalism’s staunch public declaration that God simply does not exist. This vast array of views arise anytime people attempt to understand the world and God without the instructions and help of the Bible.
God’s desire for each person to think rightly about him is clearly stated in the New Testament. Take for example this passage (italics added):
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:3-6 ESV).
There are three critical points made in this passage.
1. God desires all people come to a knowledge of the truth. When we discuss why Christianity removes the incorrect views of humanity and the stones that lay in the path, the most foundational reason is because “God...desires all people to come to a knowledge of the truth.” The truth about God is provided by God to humanity through the written Scriptures. When the Bible is believed it becomes to us as David wrote many centuries earlier, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 ESV).
The Bible is light to people’s thinking and is a lamp to understanding. The light of God’s word illuminates truth within people’s hearts in order for them to “come to the knowledge of the truth”. Yet the Bible does not stop there. The words of the Bible go further and shine light upon the false views that mislead and misdirect people away from God. It is here we find how Christianity removes the stones—God’s word informs of the truth and highlights the incorrect views for what they are—stones in the path.
2. God desires people be saved. This leads us to the next point—God “desires all people to be saved.” This is the foundational declaration of the New Testament which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. And yet, to be saved an individual must think rightly about God. Of course, only the most basic things need to be correctly understood to be saved. An individual must first believe that God exists; that is, the God of the Hebrew Scriptures. Secondly, a person must believe and acknowledge he or she is a sinner and has broken God’s commandments. Finally, a person must rightly believe that God sent his Son into the world to die a substitutionary death on the cross which makes the grace and forgiveness of God available as a gift for all who believe. This brings us to our third point.
3. God sent Christ into the world to be a ransom for all people. A person thinks rightly when acknowledging that God God sent his son into the world as humanity’s substitute for sins. Consider the following statements (italics added).
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15 KJV).
God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:5-8 ESV).
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10 ESV).
The reason why Christianity removes the stones is because God has acted to remove the stones on behalf of all people; that is, all who believe. We cannot do this ourselves, God makes it possible. Paul says this very thing and writes, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 ESV). And that message goes out to all. And for anyone who believes and trusts in Christ, the stumbling stones are removed.
Gary M. Burge writes an appropriate synopsis of what God does for the individual through Jesus Christ.
No lowliness, no misery, no sinfulness is beyond God’s comprehension and reach. It is easy enough to say that God loves the world (John 3:16). But to say that God loves me, in my frailty and my faithlessness—this is another matter. This is the mystery and power of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
The reason why God removes the impediments is because He desires to provide the means for anyone to come to Him through Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and obtaining eternal life.
Let’s now move ahead and discuss how God removes the stones.To next section Homepage