10/26/12 Santosh, about 22
"...do you think you will escape God’s judgment?" The Apostle Paul asked this question in Romans 2:3. In his day people ignored their own God-given moral conscience while others sought to feel morally superior by judging others - all in an effort to escape God's judgment - and people are still trying to find ways to avoid it today. Today I met a college student on his way home from classes, a young man named Santosh. He is from India and grew up in a Hindu family, though he claims he doesn't hold to Hindu beliefs. I spoke of the biblical teaching of our accountability to God for our moral behavior. Santosh was quick to point out some differences in values between cultures, but his examples were mere social conventions, not moral law. When it comes down to it, what Genesis says is true - ever since the disobedience of Adam and Eve we all have the knowledge of good and evil, no matter if we were raised Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or agnostic. And despite this knowledge we still choose to rebel against what we know to be right. Santosh called it "making mistakes" - much like breaking social conventions because we don't now better - but I assured him it goes much deeper than that, and we will be held accountable. At this point he appealed to his Hindu upbringing and the belief in "karma" - the natural consequences of our behavior - rather than the possibility of being subject to the judgment of God. I reminded him that, call it what you like, there are still consequences to our behavior. Yet I can understand why the idea of "karma" is more attractive to millions of people. It reduces sin from being a personal offense against a holy God to being just a matter of cause and effect. It sounds to me to be the same as the moral balance scale, the idea that our good deeds can somehow outweigh our bad, an idea that I find many church people mistakenly holding to. But throughout the Bible we are reminded that ultimately our sin is personal, which is why King David prayed "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge." (Psalm 51:4) My prayer for Santosh is that he will realize the personal nature of his sin - and that the only escape from judgment for his offenses against God is through the cross of Jesus.