Search This Blog

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How Faith Overcomes - Part IX

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

How Faith Overcomes – Part IX

God give universal and personal witness to stimulate the faith of mankind. Paul wrote,

“…that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-21). In the beginning, during the time man was in the condition of innocence, God manifested His presence: “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8).

However, after sin entered the world, few have really taken full advantage of God’s persuasive revelation of himself. In Genesis 5:24, we read: “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Enoch has not yet experienced death, but may experience it from being one of God's two witnesses in the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11:3) along with Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). These men fully believed God and His inward witness together with the witness of the Scriptures they had. God's universal personal witness is further manifested in John 1:9 in the pre-incarnate Jesus, described as “the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”

From the perverted expressions in world religions, it is evident for humanity is innately religious, even though the sinful nature perverts them. A clear illustration was found on Mar's Hill in Athens and pointed to by the Apostle Paul as:

“. . an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD . .” (Acts 17:23).

This basic revelation of God and His holiness is also manifested in the fact that man has a consciousness of morality built in them (Romans 2:14, 15). Even in their perverted life styles man will talk, even demand justice even though according to their standards.

3. Natural Revelation Psalm 19:1-4

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.”

Faith must be based upon some evidence of strong persuasion. When seriously considered, the presence of the Universe will be a foundation for believing in the existence of God. For everything in the universe as a cause that produces any effect that exists. The import of this demands that there is a first cause. The term first cause is a weak expression of the composition of the universe. First cause does not give the idea of personality. Personality must be involved because personality is a basic function of observable complex life forms. The thing created cannot be greater than that which created it. Therefore, since the more complex has a correspondingly greater personality, it follows that the cause must have something greater. Therefore, the word God and its synonyms, are more adequate than just “first cause!”

When an individual comes to faith because of influence of objective evidence, this faith is the basic premise, concept, for overcoming the rebellious demands of what the Scripture calls: “The World!”

The existence, growth, and vitality of spiritual life rests upon how vital the fact of God is integral to it. The present weakness of present day Christianity comes from substituting some factor for letting the fact of God be watered down by something else than practicing the presence of God in decision making!

Natural revelation functions to inform human beings of the obvious fact that there is a Creator and something of His power and intelligence. Scientists, and especially astronomers, are more and more coming to the conclusion that the study of complexity and meaningful relationships in nature's design demands that it has intelligent design. Its vastness demands that that intelligence must be personal, greater that any first cause. Atheists are right that intelligent design recognition is only a step away from calling it God.

However, natural revelation comes short in revealing how human beings can relate to Him. This is why the later half of Psalm 9, verses 7-14 speak of the utility and glory of “the Law (special revelation) of the LORD!” The Psalmist rejoices that the Creator wants human beings to be in a functional relationship with Him as their Redeemer (vs 14c). By definition revelation speaks of revealing what is hidden in a progressive way. The reason that revelation is progressive is that God ordains that man must come to know/experience Him: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3).

The complexity of Creation reflects the logical understanding for one to really know/experience God requires: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13). In his discourse to the Athenian philosophers, the Apostle Paul tells them that a consideration of natural revelation should let them know that man made idols cannot represent what God is. He also stated that a basic relationship is radially available if they would seek the Creator (Acts 17:21-29).

Like a responsible person finding a mate, one must take the time to investigate, to come to know who that person is so as to not be surprised by finding a monster behind a mask. For this reason, natural revelation is insufficient. The seeker must not only utilize all of God's revelation, but to take the trouble to understand its message. This is not to say that the various ways a person learns about God other than sound Bible exposition are useless but to have the fullest experience of knowing God, each has its place and contribution.

Anything less will not fully overcome the world's culture. God's grace continues as long as seeking continues (James 1:2-8). This saves a person from becoming overately wicked as Psalm 10:4 describes: “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, ' There is no God.'" these people become possessed by Satan and become children of wrath, dead in sin and filled with the ways of the world's culture (Eph 2:1-3).

Therefore, a careful consideration of natural revelation will overcome much of the confusion of non-biblical religious confusion.

4. Overcoming Precept Tools from Special Revelation

Special revelation is knowledge and understanding that only God can give.

The only reliable source is the Bible in its original manuscripts. The earthly battleground in overcoming world culture is the mind controlled by the Scripture which governs the content of faith:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Cor 10:3-5).

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,

for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16, 17).

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word[1] of Christ.”

(Rom 10:17).

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11).

“. . examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;” (1 Thess 5:21, 22).

“Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Cor 1:20, 21).

[1]“Word” in Greek is verbal exposition.  “Of Christ” from the earlier and best manuscripts.  This is the better understanding, because the OT historical books are a part of the Word of God, but have no basis of stimulating faith in Christ for salvation.

No comments:

Post a Comment