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Written by: Laidlaw, Robert    Posted on: 03/27/2003

Category: Classic Christian Library

Source: CCN

                            THE REASON WHY                                 written by Robert Laidlaw

                      A New Zealand Businessman

About the Author:

.    The late Robert O. Laidlaw from Auckland, New Zealand, was widely known as one of his country's most successful and respected businessmen. At the age of 23, he opened a mail order business that grew spectacularly into a retail organization employing a staff of more than 2,700 men and women.

.    The founder of the Farmers' Trading Company, Ltd., Mr. Laidlaw wrote, "The Reason Why" originally for his staff members, giving his explanation and the "reasons" for the Christian faith.  A more definitive title could well have been, "The Reason Why Jesus Christ has the Only Answer to Life."  Since that original writing, this booklet has been translated into more than thirty languages, with an estimated 25 million copies in print.  This edition has been published by the Christian Business Men's Committee, an international non-profit organization of Christian business and professional men, of which Robert Laidlaw was a member.

Is Christianity credible?                              Is there a God?

Does man need Him?                                  Is the Bible true?

Is Man responsible to God?            Can man find Divine forgiveness?

.    When honest with himself, man questions his existence, he wonders at his world--its beginning and end he searches for personal meaning this man has explored life and found its fulfillment here he explains the intellectual evidence he weighed the questions he had answered the  resulting belief he experienced.

.    Robert Laidlaw is convinced of God's reality he believes in the Bible in Christ, in Divine salvation, in purposeful living, in credible Christianity.

Written by a Christian businessman to the members of his staff...

.    Suppose that a young man sent his fiancee a diamond ring costing him $1000, placing it in a little case which the jeweller threw in for nothing.  How disappointed he would be, if upon meeting her a few days later, she would say, "Sweetheart, that was a lovely little box you sent me.  To take special care of it, I promise to keep it wrapped up in a safe place so that no harm shall come by it." .    Rather ridiculous, isn't it?  Yet it is just as foolish for men and women to be spending all their time and thought of bodies, which are only cases containing the real self, the soul, which, the Bible tells us, will persist long after our bodies have crumbled to dust.  The soul is of infinite value.  Longfellow expressed it this way:

                  Tell me not in mournful numbers,                       Life is but an empty dream,                   For the soul is dead that slumbers,                   And things are not what they seem.

                    Life is real, life is earnest,                     And the grave is not its goal.                   Dust thou art, to dust returnest,                       Was not spoken of the soul.

.    Indeed this statement was not made of the soul, for in Mark 8:36 our Lord Himself asks, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"  So, in Christ's estimate, man's soul is something incomparably more valuable than the whole world. .    I would like to discuss with you some of the basic things that relate to your most valuable possession, your soul.  For instance---

    Is there a God?     Is the Bible true?     It man accountable?     Is there divine forgiveness?

These are some of the problems which most perplex those who think seriously about the future.

How may I know there is a God?

.    I have an innate conviction that God exists.  No matter how my intellect has tried in the past to produce reasons proving He was not, or how much I have wanted to believe that there was no God, that "still, small voice" came to me again and again, just as it has come to you, in the quiet of life's more sober moments.  Yes, I knew that at least for me there was a God.  And as I looked at others I realized how many were looking for God, seeking in "religion" to silence that same voice that spoke within me. .    True, there are some men who don't believe in God.  But to me the problems of unbelief in God are greater than the problems of belief.  To believe that unaided dead matter produced life, that living matter produced mind, that mind produced conscience, and that the chaos of chance produced the cosmos of order as we see it in nature, seems to call not for faith but for credulity. .    The president of the New York Scientific Society once gave eight reasons why be believed there was a God.  The first was this:  Take ten identical coins and mark them one to ten.  Place them in your pocket. Now take one out.  There is once chance in ten that you will get number one.  Now replace it, and the chances that number two will follow number one are not one in ten, but one in one hundred.  With each new coin taken out, the risk will be multiplied by ten, so that the chance of ten following nine is one in 10,000,000,000 (ten billion).  It seemed so unbelievable to me that I immediately took pencil and paper and very quickly discovered he was right.  Try it yourself. .    That is why George Gallup, the American statistician said: "I could prove God statistically.  Take the human body alone-the chance that all its functions would just happen is a statistical monstrosity." .    Surely no thoughtful persons would wish to base their eternal future on a "statistical monstrosity."  Perhaps that is why the Bible says in Psalm 14:1 "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God.'" But let us consider the problem from another viewpoint.  .    Suppose we are standing at an airport watching a big jet come in for a landing.  I say to you "A lot of people think that plane is a result of someone's carefully designed plans, but I know better.  There was really no intelligence at work on it at all.  In some strange way the metal just came out of ground, and fashioned itself into flat sheets.  And then these metal sheets slowly began to grow together and formed the body and wings and tail.  Then after a long while the engines slowly grew in place, and one day some people came along and discovered the plane, all finished and ready to fly." .    You would probably consider me a lunatic and move further into the crowd to escape my senseless chatter.  Why?  You know that there is a design there must be a designed, and having seen other productions of the human mind just like the plane in question, you are positive that it was planned by human intelligence and built by human skill. .    Yet there are highly educated, professional men who tell us that the entire universe came into being by chance, that there was really no higher intelligence at work on it.  They claim to know no God but nature. .    On the other hand there are many thoughtful men who believe that God is transcendent; that is, while He reveals Himself in  nature (in that its laws and principles are expressions of His power and wisdom), He Himself is greater than the universe.  But all that atheists can offer us in the riddle of design without a designer, of creation without a Creator, of effect without cause. .    Every thoughtful person believes in a series of causes and effects in nature, each effect becoming the cause of some other effect.  The acceptance of this as fact logically compels one to admit that there must be a beginning to any series.  There could never have been a first effect if there had not been a First Cause.  This First Cause, to me, is Deity. .      Although man has discovered many of the laws that govern electricity, the greatest scientists cannot really define it.  Then why do we believe it exists?  Because we see the manifestation of its existence in our homes and industries and streets.  Though I do not know where God came from, I must believe He exists, because I see the manifestations of Him everywhere around me. .    Dr. Wernher von Braun, director of NASA research, and developer of the rocket which put American's first space satellite into orbit said: .    "In our modern world, many people seem to feel that our rapid advances in the field of science render such things as religious belief untimely or old- fashioned.  They wonder why we should be satisfied in 'believing' something when science tells us that we 'know' so many things.  The simple answer to this contention is that we are confronted with many more mysteries of nature today than when the age of scientific enlightenment began.  With every new answer unfolded, science has consistently discovered at least three new questions. .    "The answers indicate that anything as well ordered and perfectly created as is our earth and universe must have a Maker, a Master Designer.  Anything so orderly, so perfect, so precisely balanced, so majestic as this creation can only be the product of a Divine idea." .    The last professor Edwin Conklin, a noted biologist, very aptly said:  "The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of an Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop." .    God exist whether or not men may choose to believe in Him.  The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.  Many people are unwilling to do this.  Most of those who take refuge in atheism or agnosticism do so because it is a convenient "escape" from the stern reality that man is accountable to his Creator. It is usually not so much a case of "I cannot believe" as it is a case of "I do not want to believe." .    I know only two ways by which God's purpose and God's person may be known.  First there is the process of reason.  As a good detective can, for example, tell you many things about my skills, habits and character just my examining something I may have made or handled, so much can be learned about God by a careful examination of the universe, the work of His hands. .    But the detective who examines only what I make can never say that he knows me.  He may know some things about me, but before he can say that he knows me, there must be a process of revelation:  I must communicate with him.  I must tell him what I think, how I feel and what I want to do.  This self- revelation may be in conversation, in writing, or in some other way.  Only then does it become possible for him to know me.  Just so, if God is ever to be known and His thoughts, desire and purposes perceived, He must take the initiative and make at least a partial revelation of Himself to men. .    Of all the many books this world contains there is one only that claims to be a direct revelation from God, telling us of Himself and His purposes for us.  That book is the Bible.  The Bible is a book of such importance that it is surely worthy of thoughtful investigation.  So, with that advice of Francis Bacon neither to accept nor reject, but to weigh and consider, let us approach this book with its unusual claims. .    To be fair to ourselves and to the Bible, we should read it through.  As a judge must not make his decision when the case is half heard, neither must we.  Rather, like the judge, we should compare the evidence of the witnesses, and weigh and consider every word, seeking for its deepest significance rather than accepting its surface meaning. Surely the importance of its claims justifies spending the necessary time on the study of its sixty-six books, written by at least forty different writer (some well educated, some barely educated, some kings, some peasants) over a period of 1600 years in places as far apart as Babylon in Asia and Rome in Europe.  With such authorship one would expect to find a miscellaneous collection contradictory statements.  Its unity is therefore especially striking, for each contribution is the complement of the others. .    In my considerations of this whole matter, slowly the truth of 2 Peter 1:21 became certain to me.  There was not reasonable explanation. "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."  This belief was confirmed as I read prophecy in the Old Testament which found its fulfillment, even to the letter, hundreds of years later.  For instance, Isaiah 52 foretold the death of Christ with minute accuracy more than 700 years before His crucifixion.  Yes, the difficulties in the way of doubting the Book seemed to me greater than those in the way of believing it.  I had to be honest with myself and admit that the problems were all on the side of unbelief.  I even went further and said:

"I believe the Bible to be the word of the living God. I can account for it in no other way."

.    Such an admission brought me face to face with a serious difficulty, however, for the Bible set a standard of righteousness that I had not attained.  It pronounced that anything short of its standard was sin.  Remembering that God knows you every secret thought, just measure yourself alongside the standard:  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment" (Matthew 22:37,38). .    Confronted with such a standard, can you claim to have lived up to it throughout you life?  Have you put God first in everything?  No man can honestly claim such perfection.  Every honest heart echoes Romans 3:10 and 23:  "There is none righteous, no, not one....All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."  All have failed to reach God's standard. .    A young man once asked me, "Do you think it fair of God to set the standard of holiness so high that we cannot reach it, and then judge us for falling short?" .    I replied, "God has not set an arbitrary standard of holiness as an official sets an arbitrary standard of height for his bodyguards.  It such a case, a man may have all the other qualifications, but it he is an inch too short he is disqualified. .    "God has not really set a standard at all; His is the standard.  He is absolute holiness, and to preserve His own character He must remain absolutely holy in all of His dealing with man, maintaining that standard irrespective of the tremendous implications which it may hold for both Him and us." .    My conscience and my common sense compelled me to admit I had fallen short of God's standard of absolute holiness and, therefore, I was a sinner in His sight. .    On my admission of having sinned came God's condemnation is Ezekiel 18:4:  "The soul that sins, it shall die." .    It appealed to me like this:  The law in Great Britain says that all drivers must keep to the left side of the street, while in New York that rule of the road demands that a driver keep to the right side.  Now suppose I go driving in London and keep to the right side.  On being brought before the judge, I say, "This is ridiculous.  In the United States we are allowed to drive on the right side." .    "You are not being judged by the laws of America," he replies.  "It does not matter what the laws of other lands may be, you should have concerned yourself only with the laws which judge you here, where you are." .    In the same way as far as god's standard was concerned, I was lost, because God's standard was the only one by which I was judged in eternity.  I was hopelessly lost.  I began to see that it didn't matter at all what I thought, or what my friends told me.  The judgement would be on what god has said, not what my friends say.  Moreover, because in God's judgment we had all sinned, there was no use in looking to other men for help, for they were under the same condemnation as I.

.    But this same Bible, which told me of my sin, told me also of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the Son of God.

.    It is the clear teaching of the Bible that this person, Jesus Christ, is God the Son.  He saw that men were lost and that they had forfeited their lives to sin.  His life was not forfeited.  It was sinless and spotless.  This pure life of His He was willing to give in place of man's sinful life, that we might go free. .    He Himself tells us in John 3:16 that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." .    If Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then we may indeed be sure of salvation; but the difficulty faces us: Is Jesus Christ really the Son of God? He could only be one of three--the Son of God, or a deceiver, or an honest man Himself under a hallucination.  But we find Him meeting some of the cleverest men of His day, who were purposely sent to catch Him in His words, and He so silenced them that they did not dare ask Him any more questions (Matthew 22:46).  And when we ourselves consider the wisdom of His statements from an intellectual standpoint, we see plainly that He was under no hallucination as to Himself. .    Then was His wisdom so great that He was using it to deceive the people?  Have you ever heard of a young man associating with swindlers and rogues and because of that association becoming ennobled, pure and honest? No! You admit you have not heard of such a case; but I know a young man who by the reception of Christ into his life has been lifted from the basest desires to the noblest manhood,  I simply cannot believe that the reception of a deceiver into one's life could transform it for good. .    The other day I heard a man say, "I owe it to Jesus Christ that I can walk down the street with my head erect and my shoulders squared to the world.  I owe it to Him that I can look a pure woman in the face and grip an honest man by the hand." .    I call to witness the opinion of the whole civilized world that Jesus Christ was at least a good man.  If so, then an honest man, and if honest, He must have been what He claimed to be, the Son of God, sent to lay down His sinless life in place of your sinful life and mine. .    Leaders from several professions have this to say about Jesus Christ: .    United States Senator Mark O. Hatfield, testifies: "I saw that for 31 years I had lived for self and decided I wanted to live the rest of my life only for Jesus Christ.  I asked God to forgive my self-centered life and to make my life His own.  Following Jesus Christ has been an experience of increasing challenge, adventure and happiness.  Living a committed Christian life is truly satisfying because it has give me true purpose and direction by serving not myself, but Jesus Christ." .    Robert E. (Bob) Richards, former Olympic track star, said: "My only reason for being in sports is to give my testimony to youth of all the world that Jesus Christ can save from sin, and that one can be a Christian and still excel in good, creative things.  Young people need to realize that God unleashed a tremendous spiritual power when Jesus Christ died on Calvary." .    Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison (Ret.), former Senior Delegate of the United Nations Command Truce Team in Korea and later Commander-in-Chief of the Caribbean Command, wrote: "It is wonderful to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and I am exceedingly thankful that God has graciously led me to saving faith in Christ.  God gives us who believe in Christ a daily, personal experience which is convincing evidence of the reality of the new life in Christ."

Convinced that the Scripture is true, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, believing that He willingly came, that God so lived me that He has willingly sent Him to suffer the full penalty of my sins that I might go free, if I would retain my self-respect as an intelligent being, I must accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.

.    But I do not ask you to accept Him as yours, for you may have an objection: although it is plausible that the Bible is true, are not alternate views also plausible? Who not be reasonable and submit them to a fair test as well? .    On telling my conviction to a friend, he replied, "You are all right, but so am I, although I don't see things as you do.  It seems to me that it doesn't matter so much what a man believes, so long as he is sincere in this belief." .    Let us test that statement.  One fine Sunday morning a neighbor of mine said to his wife and family, "Let us take the car and go for a picnic."  Traveling north, he came to a railway crossing and , sincerely believing there would be not trains on a Sunday morning, attempted to drive across.  He as killed on the spot, one son had an arm broken and his little daughter was in a cast for months.  Did his sincere belief that all was clear save him?  No, it did not. .    I know a nurse who, on night duty, sincerely believed she held the right medicine in her hand, but she was wrong, and in twenty minutes her patient was dead in spite of frantic efforts to save him. .    Of course we need sincerity, but we must sincerely believe truth, not error.  If fact, having sincere belief in error can be the very means of deceiving and finally destroying us. .    The Bible leaves no room for doubt.  In John 14:6 Christ says:  "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man come to the Father but by me."  Acts 4:12 states:  "There in no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."  If you can get to heaven any other way you will be a witness throughout eternity to the fact that Jesus Christ spoke falsely when He said there was no other way.  But, since He gives full evidence of being the Son of God, is it not folly to attempt coming to God by any other way than through Christ Himself, who claims to be God's appointed way? .    The real reason we want some other way is because the way of the cross is a humbling way, and we are proud at heart.  But let us remember the way of the cross was a humbling way for Christ also, as we read in Philippians 2:5-8:

            5  Have this attitude in yourselves which was                           also in Christ Jesus             6  Who, although He existed in the form of God,               did not regard equality with God a thing to                               be grasped,             7  But emptied Himself, taking the form of a                 bondservant and being made in the likeness                                   of men             8  And being found in appearance as a man, He                 humbled Himself by becoming obedient to                 the point of death, even death on a cross.                     (The New American Standard Bible)

Some people have suggested that all a person needs to do is sincerely reform, do better in the future, and thus live down past short-comings. This is supposed to make one fit for heaven.  Will this work? .    Let us assume that the manager of a business goes to his accountant and finds that his company owes $50,000 to manufactures and other merchants.  He says, "Write letters to all those people and tell them that we are not going to trouble about the past, that we have turned over new pages in our ledger, but we promise to pay 100 cents on the dollar in all future business, and from now on live up the highest standard of business integrity."  The accountant would think his employer had gone mad, and would refuse to put such a proposition to the creditors.  Yet thousands of otherwise sensible people are trying to get to heaven by just such a proposal, offerings to meet their obligations toward God for the future, but refusing to worry about the past at all. Yet in Ecclesiastes 3:15 we read, "God will call the past to account." Even if we assume that we can somehow begin to live an absolutely perfect life--which is no better than we ought to do, but which is certainly impossible for us--we are still sinners. .    God's righteousness demands that no past account shall be considered settled until it has been paid to the last penny and every claim of justice met.  The murderer may cover his sin and live the life of a model citizen for ten years after his crime, but when he is discovered, man's law condemns him to death.  Though he has murdered no one for ten long years--it judges him still a murderer. .    To hide past sin, either thought, words or deeds, by what seems to be an absolutely perfect life, still leaves us sinners in the sight of Him to whom the past and future are as open as the present.  According to God's standards of holiness, we all have sinned and we must bring that sin out into the open and have it dealt with righteously. .    We each need someone who can clear the books.  The bible declares that Jesus Christ is the only One who could pay this penalty.  "We are reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10).  Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ gave up His life in place of ours that we might go free. Our past sin is paid for, and God, against whom we had sinned, has given us His receipt showing His satisfaction with the completed work of Christ on the cross in that He raised Him from the dead.  Christ, once crucified, is now our living Savior.  He died to save us from the penalty of sin and now He lives to deliver us from the power of sin.

But why did Christ need to die?  Could He not have saved us without that?  Man had broken God's law and the penalty was death.  How could Christ righteously deliver us without meeting our full penalty?  Do you not see that if He paid anything less than the full price there would still be judgment for us to meet?  But it is evident that because He died, the law we had broken can judge us no more. .    The Bible says in Romans 8:1:  "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." .    On one occasion an unfinished court case extended to a second day and as is the usual practice, so that no outside influence could be brought to bear on the jurymen, they were kept in custody overnight.  On entering the court the next morning, the Judge, addressing the jury, said:  "Gentlemen, the case is dismissed; the prisoner has been called to a higher court."  The accused had died in his cell during the night, and there was no use going on with the case, since the law cannot judge a dead man. .    Again, if a man should murder one person he is put to death, but if he should murder six people he is still just put to death, because this is the  utmost penalty of the law.  No matter what a man's sins may be, the law knows no greater penalty than to take his life. .    Therefore it matters not that there are sins in my life I have long since forgotten.  I fear none of them, for I have this confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ, my Substitute, suffered the utmost penalty of the law on my account, freeing me absolutely from all its claims against me, both great and small. .    On the basis of the greatness of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, some have suggested that if Christ died for all, we must all be saved.  But God does not say so.  He says there is salvation for all, not that all are saved. .    Here is an illustration.  It is a bitterly cold winter, and unemployment is rife in one of our great cities with man in dire need. The municipal authorities provide free meals.  You meet a poor fellow on the street who say he is starving.  Naturally you ask if he does not believe the notices that are up all over the city, and there is enough food for all provided free. .    "Yes," he replies, "I believe that is true in a general sort of way, but I am still hungry." .    You tell him that he is likely to remain hungry in spite of the provisions unless he eats and drinks personally of what is proved for all. .    Just so,although the death of Christ provides salvation for whosoever will, only those are saved who personally accept Christ and believe that He died in their place.  I must take Christ as my savior, or His death will avail me nothing--just as a man could die of thirst beside a spring of water if he refused to make its life-giving stream his own by drinking of it for himself.

.    There are some people who still pose t

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