The real reason people refuse to believe in God is not logical, rational, or scientific. People simply refuse to open their eyes and see the fingerprints of God all around them. This was caused by humanity’s thinking becoming futile at the fall. Apart from God’s grace, humans no longer use their God given intellect for what it was made for – glorifying God – but instead use it to prop themselves up. Instead of giving God glory for the works he has done, they live as if God can be molded into their liking.
The truth about God has been made plain to even the most devout atheist. The invisible God has made himself visible through what you can see. You can think of this as the wind of a tornado. You cannot see the wind of a tornado, but when you see the cone-like shape touch the ground and cloud and debris circling around, you know to run. We can say something similar about God. You cannot see him directly – he transcends creation – yet you can see his fingerprints on his handiwork all around you.
You probably had textbooks in school. For me, they were bricks in my bag, but for many students today they might be a bit lighter and electronic. The textbooks in my day included a glossary in the back. Whenever a glossary term appeared in the text, they were bolded. Those bolded terms signaled to the reader, “If you don’t know what this word means, please look it up in the glossary.”
We need to do the same thing with the term “wrath of God,” which appears frequently in the Bible. Many have misread this term thinking it means that God flies off the handle from time to time, overwhelmed in a flurry of angry passion against you or me. However, if we look at how this term is used of God throughout the Bible, we find the term means something different.
Do you want a three-word definition of the gospel that even a two-year-old could remember? Jesus saves sinners.
If we are not sinners, the gospel message is not good news at all. It would be predicated on a lie, and Jesus would have died for nothing. That is why the Apostle Paul spends from chapter 1 verse 18 to chapter 3 verse 20 in his Letter to the Romans giving a preface to the gospel message. For just as the author of a book will state why he or she went about the effort of writing a book in the preface, so the Apostle states why the All-knowing, Almighty, and Holy God wrote the gospel into his eternal plan for restoring his world. It is as if the Apostle, like a specialist in precious jewels, lays down a black cloth, so that when he places the diamond of the gospel upon it, we will see it in all its multi-faceted splendor.
The Apostle Paul wrote the gospel “to bring about the obedience of the faith for the sake of [Jesus Christ’s] name among the nations (Romans 1:5; 16:26).” Many Christians have a reduced understanding of the gospel message. They see it as a ticket to heaven and little more. While the gospel comes for free to all who repent of their sin and receive both forgiveness from sins and Christ’s righteousness, it nevertheless makes demands on our lives. Those who receive it do not remain stagnant, simply awaiting the city of gold. The gospel takes root in them and begins to produce fruit now.
Paul of Tarsus became one of the biggest antagonists of the resurrection message. He persecuted those who believed Christ had risen from the dead, hunting them down and throwing them into prison. But after Paul came to believe it himself, he held on to the resurrection message with his dear life. He even gave his life to tell others about it.
Last week I said that one of the difficulties of our current, polarized political climate is that to speak up on any controversial issue is to be pigeon-holed into a political party or agenda. As Christians our loyalty lies not on a political platform, which will rot and decay, but on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, which lasts forever. It is important to say this again, before addressing another hot-button topic. Continue reading →
Have you ever had a morning when the alarm went off and you hit the snooze button and pulled the sheets over your head, because you knew what lay ahead of you that day? Though I am rarely one to tarry in bed, I have had many mornings when the task list seemed insurmountable, and I was dropping balls faster than I could pick them up. How we start our day can determine how our day will unfold. Continue reading →
Hebert Fingarette taught philosophy at the University of California for many years. He wrote several books on a range of subjects including death. In his book on death, he stated that you should not be afraid, concerned, or anything about death. You are not going to suffer after you die, he asserted, because you will not exist then.