Wednesday, December 20, 2017

You Know Who I Am

since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. - Romans 1:19

Nearly all, if not every, culture has carried along with it some sort of religious belief. These beliefs might range from the belief in multiple gods, the belief in a divine essence, or the belief in one transcendent being, but it seems as though all cultures have some sort of belief in the divine. How is this possible? Truth be told, we all know that God exists.

You might not acknowledge it right now. You might call yourself an atheist or an agnostic, but until you were educated out of belief in God, you knew He existed. The truth of God is undeniable from the earliest days of our lives. It is through pride and maybe even frustration that we choose to walk away from the truth of God's reality.

King Agur, the author of Proverbs 30, prays to God that He would not make him too rich or too poor so that he might remain faithful. Being too rich, he was fearful that he would become too boastful and believe that he did not need God any more. Being too poor, he was fearful that he could become so desperate that he would need to steal and dishonor the name of God (Proverbs 30:8-9). Pride and frustration are truly at the heart of those who turn against God.

In his book, God Forsaken, Dinesh D'Souza pointed out that science was not really the reason why the New Atheists disbelieve in God. He revealed that it was because of a tragedy or a let down of some sort that these people chose to stop believing. The New Atheists assert that God cannot be all powerful and all good. If He is all powerful, he cannot be all good because He does not stop evil from happening. If He is all good, He is not all powerful because he fails to stop evil from happening. This line of reasoning employs logic that is not rooted in sound scriptural understanding. Nonetheless, it defines their frustrations very well.

Ultimately, pride is the root cause of disbelief. People do not want to submit to an ultimate authority. Many people who believe in God still want to live as though there were no God. Should it surprise us when some people simply choose not to believe in God? We do not want to be restrained from fulfilling our basest of passions, thus, it is easier to deny the existence of God than to willfully defy God's commandments.

By doing this, we defy our very nature. We can see it plainly in our culture that people who deny God abandon the natural order of things. That which is natural and good, by design, is exchanged for that which is unnatural, perverse, and demonic. These unnatural passions drive people insane. Because what may be known about God is plain to us because He has made it plain to us. It is to the world's detriment to abandon the knowledge of God.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Frightening Truth about Jesus' Birth

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Romans 1:18

Jesus' birth brought to light a remarkable reality. After over 500 years of silence from God, to the people of Israel, God provided a sign to His people to remind them that He is still there. The truth of God's existence restored hope to a remnant of His people and set the hearts of millions of people ablaze with hope. That same hope has echoed throughout the ages as countless millions have committed their lives to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Having said that, there is something frightening about the gospel message.

Romans 1:18 says that, "The wrath of God is being revealed.'" God's wrath has not been revealed through past testimony (although it has been), but is being revealed against all existing godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth. Wow. What does this mean?

This means that we were previously unaware of the wrath that we were accruing against ourselves. Modern day Jews claim that neither the Old Testament, nor Judaism, teaches the concept of hell. In all fairness, whether or not this is true, the Old Testament does not paint a very clear picture of God's eternal judgment against mankind. In the New Testament, the reality of hell is undeniable. With such a lofty debt against us, how do we avoid the torment awaiting us in hell?

John 6:29 reads, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." Jesus' birth was not merely a revelation that mankind is wicked and on a crash course with hell. The advent of Jesus is the revelation that although mankind was, and is, on a crash course with hell, God, in His mercy, has made a way for people to be made right with Him so that they may live with Him forever.

Although wicked men suppress the truth by their wickedness, God has revealed that they will suffer His wrath on one fateful day. That is why we all need to submit to the grace given to us, by God through His Son Jesus, so that we can experience the riches of His blessings instead of the terrors of His wrath.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is being revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last... - Romans 1:17

The three wise monkeys, Speak No Evil, See No Evil, and Hear No Evil, are an Eastern symbol that represents a philosophy which says we should not dwell on evil thoughts. Thus, we should avoid speaking evil, seeing evil, or hearing evil. This is wise advice for those who wish to live a righteous and holy life.

However pious this may sound, Western philosophy has used the symbol of the monkeys to signify a tolerance of evil. To say that you speak no evil, see no evil, and hear no evil avoids acknowledging their existence in this world and the injustices that regularly occur. The only way to truthfully avoid evil is to remove yourself from normal interactions with the world as it exists.

In the gospel a righteousness from God is being revealed. The difference between Eastern philosophy and Christian doctrine is that the East sees righteousness as being a peace that you create within yourself. You put aside all of your covetous desires and focus simply on appreciating the universe as it continues to tic away into eternity. Christian doctrine is significantly different, in this regard.

Christian doctrine teaches that righteousness is not earned but credited. A person living in the world cannot be deemed righteous by his or her own doing. Rather, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is acknowledged and our shortcomings are confessed. Thus, the peace that Christians confess is the revelation from God that as we serve Him, we fall short in achieving perfect righteousness. But, it is through Jesus' righteousness that we are justified in the eyes of God.

It was perfectly displayed when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. When Jesus went to wash his disciple Peter's feet, Peter refused. Peter would not allow Him to wash his feet. Jesus said that he must allow it to happen if he wanted to be with Him. Peter then said, "then wash my whole body, not just my feet." Jesus then said, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet" (John 13:10). In other words, Peter was already clean because Jesus made him clean. But, even though we are clean, as we serve, our feet are soiled as we walk imperfectly through the muck of the world. So it is not our righteousness that makes us clean, but Jesus' continual cleansing of our unrighteousness. This means that we must have faith and allow Jesus to cleanse us, if we want any part with Him.

For in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is being revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I Am Not Ashamed

I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes... - Romans 1:16

How often do you get into conversations with people where you feel like you must start off by apologizing, before you give your opinion. Our culture has brainwashed us into thinking that we must apologize, even for our personal convictions, that might offend someone. We've even created a category of terms that might set someone off, known as triggers. The absurdity of this world knows no bounds. One thing you need never apologize for is speaking the truth in love.

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed that He was born of a virgin, died on a cross, was resurrected from the dead, and ascended to heaven. I am not ashamed that He will return to the earth one day to judge the world in accordance to His righteousness. All truth resides in Jesus and He determines what practices and traditions are good, pure, and holy.

In Jesus, I know that one day I will go to heaven. In Jesus, I know that many people will be judged for rejecting His grace. I am not ashamed to confess these truths because there is life in no one else.

For many people, the Gospel of Jesus Christ sounds like a fairy tale. There are people who will try to shame those who have trusted Him as their Lord and Savior. Fear not. Jesus warned us that there would be people like this. The Apostle Paul has told us that the foolishness of God is more wise than the wisdom of the world. So, I am not ashamed that I believe in something that might sound foolish to the world. His word is truth and the truth will set you free from the lies that keep the world from living life to the fullest.

Everyone who believes in the Gospel will have eternal life. There is nothing in this world more valuable than the promise that we might one day reside with God forever in His heavenly kingdom. If nothing else in this life is worth believing in, the Gospel is worth it. Thus, I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.