Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

The logic of assurance of faith

9 Mar

If you are a Christian, do you struggle with knowing for sure that all the promises of Christ are actually for you?  That you will be eternally with God when you die?  That you won’t have to face judgment, followed by sentencing for your crimes against the Creator and Sustainer God of the universe?

Assurance of salvation

There’s actually a logical way, I think, to know for sure whether you are IN Christ and under no condemnation from God the Father or excluded from Christ’s saving work on your behalf.

As I was thinking about this topic the other morning (prompted by reading from Puritan William Gurnall’s work on the armor of God) I mused about the state of our spiritual health before my husband and I actually became Christians.

Until the age of 22, we had NO doubt that we were Christian.  The topic never came up.  We were baptized, confirmed members of the Episcopal Church.  That denomination’s current (or at least de facto) doctrine teaches that all those who are baptized are in fact Christians. End of discussion. Period.

But once we heard the ‘bad news’ of our natural state (“all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard….and deserve death” – combo of Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23), we grasped with haste the ‘good news’ of Jesus’ atonement and fulfilling of the Law on behalf of those who will receive it by faith.

That’s when occasional doubts about our actual salvation began to jab at our assurance of pardon and peace. Those fears bothered us! The very fact of our DIS-stress over our eternal future is likely a healthy clue and evidence to the saving faith we actually possess.

But over the years, I’ve come to see how clear thinking and a logical hypothetical true statement can bolster my confidence that what Jesus has done actually DOES apply to me.

Ephesians 2:8 teaches Christians that only by a GIFT have we been saved from God’s rightful wrath. (For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God)

Gift of faith

By a gift, not by baptism, or confirmation or any work done by a religious person or us!

When I start to second-guess myself, I am tempted to imagine or hypothesize….

  • What if I believe this fact (that I’ve received the Gift) TODAY, but tomorrow I DON’T believe?  How do I know that I TRULY believe?  Maybe I’m fooling myself?

But with the temptation, the Holy Spirit reminds me of  Gospel logic so I can plug that hole in the dike holding back false fears and guarding that precious gift faith.

Here’s my pre-supposition based on Paul’s teaching in Acts:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” Acts 16:31

The Bible defines this kind of faith or  ‘belief’ as relying on/counting on/ trusting in.

Premise 1: Either I am relying on my own merit and works to be righteous enough to please God OR I’m relying on Jesus’ work for me to please God

Premise 2: I’m not relying on myself to please God

Conclusion: Therefore, I’m relying on Jesus’ work offered to me to please God

It’s as simple as that.  I have to keep asking myself this fundamental question:

  • Maria, who are you trusting in, you or Jesus.

That’s usually enough to quiet the doubts.  What about you?

 

 

 

 

 

Logical Gal – when pre-suppositions lead to different conclusions

20 May

suspicion

Listening to some commentary the other day, I learned that secular scientists now have data to prove that even babies draw back with hesitation when they see the face of a person of a different color.  Their conclusion was that racial bias is hard-wired into us through the evolutionary process.  These naturalists can even point to and impute a safety, survival benefit to being suspicious of ‘other’.

It turns out, that if one subscribes to the theory of evolution as a means of explaining human development over time, then one simply accepts racial distrust as something, although regrettable, at least natural.

Here’s the rub.  If we can explain the foundation for hateful behavior as something the evolutionary process has brought about, there is little we can do to eradicate, let alone curb, ugly actions at their root!

However, Christians evaluate the world through a different lens, that of Original Sin.  According to this foundational doctrine, we are pre-disposed, from the womb, to be sinful.  And in a racial context, that sin works itself out through suspicious behavior at its mildest to mean-spirited, cruel and downright evil actions at the other end.

But……(a life-giving 3-letter-word if there ever were one!) only one world view offers hope – Christianity.

If racial prejudice is part and parcel of species survival, then there is no significant hope for eradicating it permanently.  At most, one can TRAIN humans to act not in accord with their natural instincts.

However, if sin is the root cause of racial prejudice, then Jesus’ atoning death on the cross, His righteous record applied to believers AND His power through the Word to kill sin provide mountains of hope for change!

Power of God's word

When Christians see that we are ALL ‘other’, all alienated from a Holy God, then what we have in common is far greater than physical or cultural differences.  Therefore, we can begin to apply truths from the Bible to our hearts, to convict us of the sin of NOT loving our neighbor as ourselves. And since the FACT of being greatly loved by God at the cost of His Son comes before ANY of God’s commands about love for God and love toward neighbor, we can grow in our trust of what God says about all of us.

If ‘this’ is just the way I am, then there is no obligation on me to change.  Evolutionary explanations and beliefs, it would seem, challenge NO ONE to give up comfortable habits. In fact they actually talk out of both sides of their mouth. In essence, they preach:

  • You shouldn’t act like this, so don’t!
  • Due to evolutionary survival of the fittest, the way you are is how nature saw best to continue the species!

So which is it……?

Logical Gal and How to Figure out the Truth

10 Sep

Truth

Recently I heard a clear-thinking talk show host provide a method of discovering the truth about a topic. Of course, none of us can be 100 % confident that we have ‘the truth’. But we CAN arrive at a position with a reasonable degree of confidence of its correspondence to reality.

As an aside, why can’t any of us be ABSOLUTE certain of anything? Because in this universe we only occupy a position as created beings. We are part of the creation and we don’t stand above it, with a 360 % view (so to speak).

Back to the radio show I heard – the illustration used to showcase this method was the argument for the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This system works for any event, from crimes being tried in court to your teen’s assertion that the car WAS home before midnight.

When we look at the historicity of Jesus Christ, there are apparently 4 unattested facts. Atheistic, agnostic and Christian scholars alike agree on these four points because one does not have to point to the Bible or any supernatural cause.

 

Jesus' tomb is empty, unlike others

Gary Habermas is credited for having boiled these down to clear indisputable data:

  1. A man named Jesus of Nazareth was put to death by crucifixion at the hands of Roman soldiers on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
  1. The dead Jesus was put into a tomb that was sealed and guarded.
  1. Three days after his death his disciples claimed the tomb was empty and that they encountered the resurrected Jesus and continued to see him for 40 days.
  1. Based on that claim/belief, the Christian church exploded into being and grew exponentially.

Those are the facts. Now what?

What follows next is to open the discussion to competing explanations. All are welcome to hold forth. But….

After you lay out your best scenario that explains all the facts, there is still one crucial piece.

You must provide EVIDENCE to support your explanation. Otherwise, your explanation is nothing more than a ‘just so story’. Or as I’ve heard another Logical Joe say:

  • One could say THIS….
  • Or one could say THAT….but what does the evidence support?

Evidence

In  summary:

-lay out the facts

-suggest possible explanations, looking for one that has the most explanatory taking into consideration ALL the facts

-examine the evidence

Question: What situation comes to mind that would benefit from this method for getting at the truth of the matter?