Category Archives: Truth

Though You Have Not Seen Him

Blog_ThumbnailOne of my favorite parts of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis occurs towards the end of the Prince Caspian book. Aslan has returned to Narnia after being away for a long time. The land had fallen under the tyrannical rule of King Miraz. He had banished all remnants and talk of the old Narnia, the time when animals talked and Aslan walked the land. These stories were regarded as fairy tales or “baby talk.”

Now, however, things were being put right once again. Prince Caspian, the true heir to the throne, would be made king and the land would once again awake to the wonder of the talking animals and the joy that Aslan had intended for Narnia. As Aslan bounded through the countryside, he came upon a small cottage, where Caspian’s old nurse lay dying. She had been banished by Miraz for teaching Caspian of the old, true Narnia.

Aslan began to enter the house, but, being too small for him, the whole house lifted up, fell backwards and came apart as he pushed through the door. The old woman, still in her bed, which was now in the open air, opened her eyes and saw Aslan: “…when she opened her eyes and saw the bright, hairy head of the lion staring into her face, she did not scream or faint. She said, ‘Oh, Aslan! I knew it was true. I’ve been waiting for this all my life.’”

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9

The example of the old nurse in Prince Caspian illustrates what the apostle Peter is saying in this passage. For those of us who have believed and trusted in Christ today, we are in much the same situation. We have believed the revelation given to us through the Word of God and the testimony of the many believers that have followed through the years. We have not seen Him, but we love Him.

Many will scoff at our faith. Don’t expect the world to support you in your love for Christ. Oh, they will tolerate you, up until the time when you really get serious about following Christ. At the point your faith really starts to make a difference in your life, though, they will start to avoid you, mock you, and even try to silence you. Because the life of Christ in you is the smell of death to them. However, for some, who are drawn to Christ, your life will bring the aroma of life – the life that Christ wants to give them (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). So, hold fast to your faith and following Christ, because He is working in and through you. Doubts and trials will come, but we have a sure faith, based on a God Who is trustworthy.

The truth about God and the life, death, and resurrection of Christ are reliable. Even C.S. Lewis, who was an atheist, had to come to terms with the truth. In the end, it was unavoidable to him, even though he was reluctant to give in. Don’t be fooled by the voices who tell you that there is no evidence for God and that no “real” scientist believes that there is an all-powerful God Who created the universe and holds it together. That is a flat out lie. In fact, the more I hear of recent discoveries being made in the sciences about our universe, rather than present less evidence for a creator, I believe that it demonstrates even greater the evidence of design and a creator. It’s almost as if God were coming right up to the scientist, nose-to-nose, and saying, “Look at me! I am right here.” But they still choose to not believe.

In addition, the reasons to believe in the Word of God, and the truths and historical details presented there, are great. There are many who will scoff at the reliability of Scripture, even those who call themselves Christians. They will tell you of errors and legends and go on and on about reasons why the Bible is reliable for certain things, but not all things. And, of course, they in all of their wisdom, are going to tell you the parts that are not reliable. I guess they forgot to discuss this with Jesus, Who said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18

There are many biblical scholars who uphold the authority and trustworthiness of the Word of God. And I am not talking about the kooks that they parade before us on television or the internet every time they want to demonstrate how out of touch the “bible thumping fundamentalists” are.  I am referring to godly men and women, who pour their lives into studying Scripture, its historical roots, archeology and ancient cultures, and the ancient biblical and early church manuscripts. Their work continues to demonstrate the reliable nature and truthfulness of the Word. So, when doubts arise or someone questions the Bible, don’t run from the situation. Take on the challenge as an opportunity to dig in and learn more and work through the questions and difficulties. Throughout the years, the Bible continues to prove skeptics wrong, demonstrating the faithfulness of God’s Word. For a great message on the evidence for the resurrection, listen to The Great Awakening, presented by Mike Priest on Easter Sunday.

Faith and trust in Christ brings joy and salvation. Though we have not seen Christ, the life He is producing in us results in joy that is not available from any other source. It is the joy that transformation brings. It is the joy of victory over sin and death. It is the joy of hope and expectation, looking forward to that day when we see Christ face to face. On that day, we will see the One Who we have been waiting to see since that the day we gave our life to Him. On that day, when we are made completely new, our salvation complete, we will see Him as He is and be filled with awe, wonder, and joy that is inexpressible.

What a day that will be. Until that day, we walk on in faith, placing our trust in the One Who is more than reliable. God’s Word is true and He confirms this in our hearts and minds by His Spirit. When many of Jesus’ followers had turned away, He asked His disciples if they wanted to go away also. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69). Though we have not seen Christ, God has confirmed in our hearts that He alone has the words of eternal life. He is our sure hope and salvation.

Together for His glory…

Simple Truth: Simply Amazing

As I left for work this morning, our youngest son, Caleb, was sitting on the floor in front of the bookshelf. I looked to see what he was reading. It was one of the Dr. Seuss books that we bought back when the kids were young. My wife has kept them for grandchildren and when families with kids visit the house. Also, though, our youngest son still likes to read them.

As I drove to work, I was thinking about him pulling one of those books out to read. I thought also about how he still likes to watch the children’s public television programs that are on in the afternoon. He has never grown tired of them. In many ways, he will always have the mind of a child. This is not to say that he does not also have interest in more adult topics. After he finished with Dr. Seuss, I am sure he pulled out his sport’s page from the newspaper, in addition to watching Sports Center, to get the latest updates in the sports’ world.

However, he will probably never grow tired of the simple, ordinary things of life. Even though he is in his 20’s now, he will always have a childlike outlook on life. He still holds our hand when crossing parking lots or sitting in church. It is not embarrassing to him. He rarely treats the events of daily life as if they are ordinary, repetitive, or boring.

Recently, I have been wrestling with some tough doctrinal issues, working to reconcile them in my limited, human understanding. In some ways, I have allowed the process to distract and discourage me. I realize that there are some things that I will never understand. In the realm of eternity, my pea-sized brain is never going to figure some things out. It is the impossibility of the finite grasping the infinite. But it is still frustrating.

I have faced this reality many times before. Once again, it reminds me of the vastness of the person and work of the eternal, almighty God. And I will continue to strive to understand the God Who created and redeemed me. However, in the midst of that pursuit, I must remember to not lose sight of the simple, amazing truth that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

During my remaining years, I will continue to wrestle with the depths of God and the truth of His Word. I will never fully grasp His perfect love and perfect justice; His compassionate mercy and grace and His wrath. I will never completely understand how to balance election and free will in God’s perfect plan. The problem of evil. I could go on with many other topics and issues. I am sure you have your list also.

I believe God provides us with all that we need, including truth and wisdom, for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-8). And we need to strive to grow in wisdom, love, and holiness, becoming more like Christ. But in the process, we can’t forget this simple truth shared by Jesus Himself:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

I learned this verse before I even knew how to read. It is taught to children in Sunday School classes almost from the time they are born. However, as we grow older, I think we forget the amazing wonder and truth in those words of Christ. Amazing love. Amazing grace. Amazing sacrifice. Amazing promise. Simply amazing.

I could write for a long time on the depth found in this verse, but I will leave you to reflect on that yourself. Reflect on the wonder in these words as we celebrate the coming of Christ. I was reminded of simple wonder by watching my man-child sit and read a children’s book. God reminded me that I don’t always have to have all of the answers. Sometimes, I just need to sit at His feet and listen to Him sing over me. Or maybe I just need to hold onto His hand as we cross the parking lot, trusting and delighting in Him and His love for me.

Together for His glory…

Bachelor Degree

Recently, my wife and youngest son, Caleb, were watching the evening news. The news team was doing a report on jobs and career searches. As part of that, a reporter mentioned that for many types of jobs, it was important to have a Bachelor degree. Instantly, Caleb started laughing. He thought it was hilarious that someone would go to college to get a degree in being a single man.

Obviously, Caleb did not understand the meaning of Bachelor degree (nor do many young men who go to college). However, it points out the importance of how we interpret the meanings of things. For instance, there are many religions in the world that would use some of the same words, expressions, and practices as Christianity. At first glance, it can appear that they believe the same thing as taught in the Bible. But if you look below the surface, the differences start to emerge and, in many cases, are completely contrary to the teaching of the Word of God.

I have heard many people say that all religions essentially point to the same God and that as long as you are sincere, that is what is most important. But what if you are sincerely wrong? How can different religions lead to the same God if they teach philosophies and doctrines that are contrary to each other? Ultimately, this does not make sense.

Under the umbrella of Christianity, there are churches and people who live out their lives holding to beliefs that contradict the direct teaching of Scripture. Many of the foundational principles that guide our lives are probably inherited from our culture rather than the Word of God. I wonder, if we really investigated our convictions, what we would find. Would we find that our practice and belief is grounded in truth? Or would we find that there is nothing supporting it other than cultural, religious, or ritualistic fallacies?

Don’t get me wrong. Cultural and religious practices are not inherently evil. However, if they are not grounded in truth and do not encourage us to live righteously, why would we believe or follow them? If someone tells us that, in the end, all religions are basically the same, why would we believe them? Could it be that we really don’t know whether what they say is actually true? Have we just been listening to others tell us what to believe and have never taken the time to investigate, taking truth to heart, and making the convictions are own?

As followers of Christ, we are instructed in the Word to sink our roots into the truth of God,  holding fast and letting those principles and exhortations transform our thinking and way of life to be more like Christ (Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 12:2). We are told that the world will not encourage us to follow God. It will be exactly the opposite. Even within the church, there will be those who try to turn us from the truth. We are told to walk and be built up in the truth of Christ, so that we are not taken captive by the empty philosophies and deceit that are based only in human tradition and wisdom (Colossians 2:6-8). But when we do, we should not expect encouragement from our culture or the rest of the world. Jesus said that because we belong to Him, the world will not love us (John 15:18-25) But Jesus also said to take heart, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

You don’t need a bachelor degree to follow Jesus. You don’t even need to know what one is. Following Jesus is the process of building a lifelong relationship. He founded the relationship, through His sacrifice and the forgiveness and righteousness He provided through His death on the cross. If we repent and receive the gift He offers to us, we are His, forever. This relationship deepens as we trust Him and fill ourselves with the truth from the Word of God. As we yield ourselves to God, He empowers us by the Holy Spirit to live for Him and to gain in knowledge and godliness, as He transforms us from the inside out, making us more like Christ. When we stand before God, after this life is over, we will not hand Him anything to prove our worthiness, like a degree or diploma. If we are in Christ, we will stand clothed in the righteousness of Christ alone and as the sole reason for why we are in glory. Anything else will be a worthless piece of paper, no matter how many accomplishments are written on it.

Together for His glory…