Certainty of believing

December 2010

Dear brethren,

Perhaps because I am past three score and ten has something to do with it, but I am increasingly aware of the fact that we live in a tenuous, troubled, unsure world. What do we know for sure? What is genuine and true? The explosion of communication and available information as a result of technology has changed our culture and mores.  Confusion has been created in many cases because what was considered true yesterday is not considered true today. To help us ascertain truth web sites like Snopes.com have come into prominence, but how do we know they are telling the truth? Recently information has been sent to me stating that they are biased and sometimes their research is lacking.

In the light of all of this uncertainty, I’m amused at the story of the woman who loved vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and nuts. Probably in jest (I hope), she said she thought in the future this treat would be found out to be a cure for both cancer and heart disease. So in the meantime she was going to eat as much as possible of that treat.

This lack of certainty and surety coupled with rapid change has had a negative effect in many ways upon our society. For one it has resulted in extremism. At one end some have become arrogant and condescending in their efforts to display certainty. At the other end some have become too wishy-washy.

With regard to the community of believers, Satan has capitalized upon this situation. Recent studies have shown that “baby boomers” and young people left, or are leaving, the churches and losing their faith because of not having and seeing a sureness of faith in the lives of their parents and friends. They see lives where God and His will have been compromised and diffused by the desires and will of man. They see half-hearted commitment. They see people using God and His will as a crutch or fad, not the lifestyle of committed hearts. They see lives divided into the sacred and secular. They see the confusion of divisions wherein believers will sacrifice the fellowship of brethren for their own personal opinions relative to “disputable matters”.

I will readily admit that in this age of complexity, explosion of available information, and rapid change it is difficult to speak with certainty about many things, even some Bible subjects. I certainly don’t know all the answers. Nobody does, but there are some things that undergird our faith that gives it a consistent degree of surety so that we don’t have to be deterred or undermined by doubts. We can live confidently with a reasonable degree of certainty or surety.

Belief in God

One of those is belief in God. I don’t think we can absolutely prove the existence of God, but neither can atheists absolutely prove that God does not exist. In the final analysis though I think the preponderance of evidence rests with the former and we can believe in God with a very high degree of certainty.

When you consider the mathematical probability of creation coming into existence on its own without a cause this in itself gives a solid foundation to belief. Then when you couple this with the magnitude and detailed specificity of creation along with the psychology of belief within man you know that belief is reasonably solid. Something did not come from nothing as some would like us to think.

The Bible

To me it makes sense to believe that if there is a God he would communicate with us. Why would God create a closed system, giving us no direction, nor conveying a purpose for our existence? That would be cruel and not God’s nature.

Agnostics, atheists, secular-humanists, and similar disciples of fallen man don’t like the idea of belief in God and His communicating with us because evolving out of such beliefs are principles and standards and values for living that cramp their desires and styles for living and hold them accountable. They don’t want to live by any set of standards, but by what makes you feel good at the time.

The Bible speaks with certainty. It says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and everything contained therein. The atheist says that spontaneously out of nothing there was a “Big Bang” about 200 million years ago and the earth and universe were created. He is right in one aspect. The heavens and earth were created out of nothing, and the process may have been a “Big Bang”, but the Almighty was behind it.

Then the atheist says that man spontaneously evolved from a tiny blob in the sea until we had man. He wants us to buy this as fact despite the missing links which he says will someday be found. In contrast the Bible says that God created man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Which is a more rational belief, the former or the latter? Are we here by chance or by divine fiat?

You have to admit that at the present we are not living in the best of times. Why? Why so much crime? Why so much immorality? Why so much poverty? Why is man so hateful and violent? Why so much terrorism and war? Why can’t we all just live together peacefully?

Some of the alleged finest minds in the world are trying to answer why. Economists say it is the fault of the economy. Educators say it is a lack of education. Governmental authorities, politicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, religionists, secular-humanists, sociologists, all have their answers, but their answers all tend to point to something external and ignore the simple answer underlying all of our problems – SIN.

Crime is sin. Immorality is sin. Sin produces poverty. Sin makes people violent. Sin causes wars. Sin prevents peaceful living. Fallen men and his sinful nature cause the problems, so the answer or solution is to deal with the sinful nature of man.

Sure man can do things from a fleshly or worldly standpoint to alleviate these problems such as better laws, more police, more work, governmental help, etc. Nevertheless, if you really want to change the world significantly you have to change hearts and minds, emotions and wills. You have to change people on the inside and the gospel of Christ is meant to do this. The Bible speaks to this in no uncertain terms. If the gospel isn’t preached though it won’t occur. It becomes like soap which does you no good unless it’s used. I might add that one of the reasons we have not preached the gospel effectively is our divisions. In my opinion it has been our primary impediment.

So what’s going to happen to us when this life is over? Ask an agnostic, ask an atheist, ask a secular-humanist. They don’t know other than to speculate – “That’s all folks!” They have no basis for hope.

The Bible speaks with certainty. Believers in Jesus Christ will live eternally. Those who turned their backs on Jesus Christ will go to a Christless grave and eternal destruction. Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” John said, “And this is the testimony: that God has given eternal life, and the life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). It’s a gift God has given us and that’s the certain testimony of God. Dare man call Him a liar? Some have.

God wants us to be confident, to be as certain and sure as possible. Take the time to read Romans 8:31-39. Nothing on this earth, nothing in this world, nothing in this universe, nothing in heaven, will separate us from the love of God. What more could we ask? God is not fickle like we are sometimes.

God doesn’t want us to meander or wander through life with no real meaning or purples. That’s the way of the godless who prefer their will to the will of God. God wants to give direction and meaning to our lives. He doesn’t want us to waste them and end them with regret rather than hope. He wants us to live our lives based upon the certainties connected with belief.

Thanks for reading, and as this year ends, and another begins, may we truly build our lives in Him and know the comfort, contentment, joy, peace, and satisfaction of a believing relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of life.

In Him,

J. James Albert

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