Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Conclusion: "Biblical Glassses" offer a truthful worldview

In the introduction of this book, we looked at the decay of morality and the rise of extreme tolerance throughout the world and especially in America. We considered the decline to be due to a steady stray from absolute truth, the truth found in God’s Word. I mentioned that I would provide a taste of the evidence for God. With the diverse range of topics addressed in these chapters, you may feel like you have been fed a series of ten-course meals. Let me assure you that I have provided only a taste. Without experiencing an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, nothing I write or say can ever be more than a taste. So now, “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:3).

In chapter one, we discussed the history of the Bible. We learned about its origin and its preservation. We reviewed the following reasons to believe that the Bible is the Word of God:

1) Historical Accuracy
2) Archaeological Accuracy
3) Scientific Accuracy
4) Complimentary Accounts
5) Prophetic Accuracy
6) Structure, Unity, and Consistency
7) Amazing Preservation
8) Power to Change Lives
9) Claims of Divine Inspiration
10) Painful Honesty
11) Jesus’ Claims
12) Eyewitness Martyrdom

I suggested that the best place to begin investigating the evidence for God and the claims of His Word is in the beginning. The Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). It is easy to doubt the authenticity of the Bible, but we must at least examine the evidence! It is foolish to overlook what God puts right in front of our faces! Paul said:

The Holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in
Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may
be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

In chapter two, we looked at the beginning of time, starting with the days of creation. Several viewpoints regarding the origin of life were considered, but we concluded that Biblical creation fits with the evidence. We briefly introduced natural selection, mutations, fossils, symbiotic relationships, and the flood. Pointing out that many of the most prominent evolutionists admit their theory is unstable—indeed, it is man’s attempt to exist apart from God—we discussed evolutionary lies, which have infiltrated the school systems and taught children that there is no God. Even a majority of Christians believe in some form of theistic evolution, the worst viewpoint to take; it leads to a half-hearted faith. The Bible says:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power
and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been
made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
In chapter three, I gave a briefing on the Old Testament. We mentioned the relationship between dinosaurs and the pre-flood world and looked at some of the most prominent figures of the Bible, people such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and David. God formed covenant relationships with these men to carry out His will. We saw that ever since the first sin, the world has been “subjected to frustration” (Romans 8:20). There is pain and suffering, disease, decay, and death everywhere we look. Jesus said: “In Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

In reading His reply to Job’s inquiry, we experienced God’s sovereignty in chapter four; reviewing an old yet effective sermon by Charles Spurgeon, we discussed the ultimate sin of unbelief. We also focused on the Old Testament prophets. Brief biographies of the Major and Minor Prophets, who preached messages of repentance to the nations in hope that the people would return to God, were documented. The Old Testament prophets saw little success, yet their collective mission was brilliantly carried out. Paving the way for the Messiah to come, “all the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43).

Regarding his own message, Paul said, “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to His own people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23). Peter explained, “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Guided by the Holy Spirit, the prophets spoke not only to the people of their time, but to us as well! Peter said:

Though you have not seen [Christ], you love Him; and even though you do not see
Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious
joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come
to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the
time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when
He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was
revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke
of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the Gospel
to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven (1 Peter 1:8-12).

In chapter five, we examined the Gospel, the glorious message of hope in the perfect life, atoning death, and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. We learned that Jesus Christ is eternal, always existing with God the Father. The Bible says:

When the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law,
to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. … So you
are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also
an heir (Galatians 4:4-7).

The perfect life of Christ fulfilled the law; He was sinless! He chose to die for our sins, so we do not have to experience God’s wrath! The Bible says: “God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We discussed the significance of Jesus’ last words. It is finished signified that the debt sinners owe to God has been paid in full by Jesus. He redeemed us, bought us with a price of His own blood. The Bible says, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus bore the wrath of God, which was reserved for us out of love for us; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

Now, His physical resurrection is just as critical as His life and death. Death could not hold Christ captive, because in His perfection, He has power over death. He was victorious over death, the ultimate consequence of sin, in His resurrection. We can be joyously certain of our resurrection as well. Paul said:

With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we
know that the One Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us
with Jesus and present us with you in His presence. All this is for your
benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause
thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by
day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what
is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2
Corinthians 4:11-18).
In chapter six, we reviewed the Book of Acts, which details the escapades of the early Church. Most notably, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and gave them confidence, assurance, and spiritual gifts to accomplish the Great Commission set before them by Jesus Christ. We saw both the infiltration of sin and the beginnings of persecution in the young Church. We learned what it means to be a Christian. It is a possession of the Holy Spirit enabled by God’s grace alone, which makes us believers in Christ, born again to new and everlasting life with our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

We saw both the transformation of Peter from the days when he denied knowing Christ to his bold preaching before the Sanhedrin and the astonishing conversion of Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee and harsh persecutor of Christians. Becoming the apostle Paul, he considered himself to be “less than the least of all God’s people” (Ephesians 3:8). Knowing God was using him to show others that anything is possible, Paul said:

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for
that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ
Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would
believe on Him and receive eternal life (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

We reviewed the teaching of the New Testament in chapter seven by summarizing each letter to learn how God used different men from varying backgrounds to spread His Word around the world. We caught a glimpse of how to live like a Christian from the life of Paul. We noted a few of the in-house debates, such as the qualifications for baptism, on doctrinal issues discussed in the New Testament; but the clear message of the Gospel is that Jesus died to save sinners. Regarding that issue, there must be no debate.

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). James White said, “Man believes [in Christ], because he is born again, not in order to be born again.” The Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, makes us born again. Jesus said: “No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him. … No one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him” (John 6:44,65).

We examined post-Biblical history in chapter eight, noting how the Church strayed from its Scriptural roots in the first millennium A.D. The Church failed to simply “preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23), and instead relied on its traditions over Scripture. Jesus said: “‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:6-8). He said not to “nullify the Word of God by your tradition” (Mark 7:13), but that is exactly what the early Church did. The Reformation, led by educated men who took it upon themselves to study the Bible, moved many members of the Church back in the right direction—toward the Word of God.

In chapter nine, we discussed the world today and looked at the character of God. Most people do not understand Who God is; they think of Him as merciful but forget He is just and sovereign, able to accomplish His will by whatever means He deems necessary, as long as those means are consistent with His character. How does He accomplish His will? “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).

God is not passive when it comes to world events; rather, He is involved in the world, appointing kings and rulers and raising up nations to accomplish His will. We considered how He was involved in the 9/11 tragedy. He desires His people to repent of their sin and turn to Him. The prophet Elijah asked, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). The Bible says: “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. … As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

In chapter ten, I, like a child, listed some fantasies of heaven that may await believers. We noted the significance of the Arab/Israeli conflict and reviewed the Book of Revelation. Mentioning my lack of knowledge in eschatology, I offered several viewpoints and discussed the evidence for the dispensational pre-millennialist position using an outline provided by David Reagan. Regardless of your end times viewpoint, all Christians can be certain that Jesus Christ will return as judge of the world. The Bible concludes: “He Who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Revelation 22:20-21).

We come now to the conclusion. James answered his own question: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Solomon declared, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs” (Ecclesiastes 5:15). So what is this life for?

Think about it. Life is truly meaningless unless it is lived with eternity in mind. Christians can know that eternity with Christ lies ahead, so we are free to truly live! In fact, we are free to live for Him Who defeated death—not to merit anything, but simply to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. Paul said:

Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is
more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whose sake I have lost all things. I consider
them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a
righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith
in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Philippians
Recall from the preface of this book that my vision had gradually weakened over time. In fact, I did not even realize my eyesight was failing. A look back after the fact helped me to understand what had occurred with my eyes. After writing this book, I have noticed, in a similar but inversely related way, that researching Christianity and writing about it has gradually strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ. Rather than simply being fit with “Biblical Glasses,” my eyes have actually been permanently changed. In being sanctified, I am slowly receiving the eyes of Christ through a form of surgery from within by the Holy Spirit. By the light of the living and active Word of God, I now see everything else more clearly.

Benjamin Disraeli said, “The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.” I did not realize I was being edified and sanctified while writing this book, but looking back now that it is complete, God has drawn me closer to Him by the power of His Holy Spirit living within me. How exciting!

As far as this book goes, perhaps it can help people become the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13), preventing further decay of at least a small portion of American culture for the time being. I plead with you, just as Peter exclaimed in his first sermon, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40)! Maybe this book can help people become “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), encouraging a better Christ-like lifestyle so others will see the changed lives and glorify God. Now it may do neither of these two things, but I am certain this book has accomplished at least one of God’s goals. It has made me know Him more!

I set out to show how America’s worldview has gradually deteriorated and how a Biblical worldview might help turn things around; while I hope I have accomplished that mission, I now understand the real reason I felt inspired to write: It was for me to learn more about God! Knowing God more has been the greatest reward! Now that I have better knowledge of God, I can “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks [me] to give the reason for the hope that [I] have” (1 Peter 3:15). Perhaps God can use me more effectively now that I know more about Him!

Of course, my spiritual knowledge is still quite basic; I have a long way to go. Honestly, before writing this book, I think I fought the fire of the Holy Spirit, Who desired to transform me. Now, I have learned to love this transformation going on within, and I no longer desire to quench the flame of the Spirit. I look forward to continuing my study of God’s Word and writing another book to answer some additional questions and examine some theological issues left un-discussed. I long for the Holy Spirit’s work to continue in my life. Most of all though, I look forward to spending eternity in the presence of Jesus Christ—to see Him face to face; to “be like Him” and to “see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

I would like to end with the lyrics from Amazing Grace, written by John Newton in 1772. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular and powerfully touching songs ever composed. Read the lyrics slowly, let their truth touch you, and rejoice in the grace and glory of the Almighty God, Creator of the universe.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,
In a believer’s ear;
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for ev’ryone,
And there’s a cross for me.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

The Bible says: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20). Jesus Christ is the Light of the world! Come into the Light! Put on “Biblical Glasses”—or better yet, let your eyesight be permanently changed—and sing along, “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

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