Romans 4:20-21 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, (21) fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
How lovely. This is the faith (confidence) the justified LIVE by. God can give us a strong faith (thru the word of Christ, by the Spirit) in God, that He can deliver on His promises (which flow from Christ, the Amen!). This is the faith that glorifies God. This is the faith wherein we are sanctified.
Where the Gospel “seems” to lose traction – failing to “improve” our lives – we are apt to apply the chains of the Law in some form.
However, the believer’s traction, in whatever degree God causes it, is never apart from the Gospel itself. In our beholding the person and work of Christ, the treads of the Gospel grip upon our lives, causing our minds and hearts to genuinely love God and neighbor.
The treads of the Spirit leave the marks of the Gospel. So, let’s hang those Law-chains where they belong…upon the Cross.
As believers, we all stand by grace answering the hardest call…”believe and be-living!”
What we experience when moving away from grace is not liberty, but the bonds of legality, whether formally or practically. (Yes, licentiousness is a form of legalism.) Where we are not overcome by the abundance of His life-giving love…we are apt to be found attempting to build ourselves up into His image.
Idolatry is banished only in the light of God’s glory beheld in the face of Jesus Christ.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you!
The following are notes based upon a Ken Samples lecture, which can be listened to here: Dangerous Ideas (part 4)
NOTES on Making Sense of Reality from a Christian Perspective – Compatibility of Faith and Reason
1) Ultimate Metaphysical Question:
- Why is there “something” instead of nothing?
- Why does anything exist?
2) The existence of God is the best explanation of reality.
- A cumulative argument is sufficient
- Being more plausible, credible, and reasonable
- Having ‘explanatory power’
- Not arguing for certainty, but plausibility
- We believe that to make sense of the world “faith” is essential
- Denial is a willful choice
- Fool: suppresses the truth
- Atheism requires a great faith
- They too have to bear the burden of proof, in explaining God’s alleged nonexistence in light of reality
3) Reason does not cause faith, but reason supports faith
- Reason = general revelation
- Faith = special revelation
- The latter is in itself reasoning, but more particularly on the basis of special revelation and divine intervention
- The former reveals that it is epistemologically and morally inexcusable to reject a biblical faith; particularly that it would be irresponsible to do so without giving due consideration to the true nature of reality and how well a Christian faith coincides with it.
Cosmos: cosmological argument
Life: meaning realities
Ethics: objective, prescriptive realities
Abstractions: ultimate source of conceptions
Religion: sense of the divine
- Cosmological Argument
- Singular beginning (origin)
- Order and elegance
- Fine tuning
- “Almost everyone believes there was a beginning of the Universe and Time.” Steven Hawking
- Matter, Energy, Space, and Time
- All have a mysterious origin
- Big Bang
- Bible: only holy book to address the particular dynamics of this
- Universe: 13 Billion years old
- Earth: 4 Billion years old
- A look into outer space displays an undeniable order
- The universe is just the right place for life
- Laws of physics do not demand a universe as such as we have.
- It doesn’t have to be the way it is to exist
- It does have to be the way it is for us to exist
- Extremely complex design requires an explanation that is not bound by the laws of physics
- Meaningful Realities
- Human consciousness; free-agency; and meaning
- Materialism, etc. cannot give us a plausible explanation for their existence.
- Objective, prescriptive ethics
- Duties and Human Values
- Universally objective law
- Murder is always wrong
- Moral values are built into reality, our existence
- Why is there not absolute moral chaos?
- Atheism: Morality is invented, descriptive, and subjective
- Nazism could have been considered right, if they won the war!
- Problem of Good
- Why is there good?
- This is equally as important to answer as is the question of ‘why there is evil?’.
- Numbers; Logic; Propositions
- Conceptual realities
- Never in your life have you seen a number
- “9” is a symbol that represents a notion of nineness
- These make life meaningful and intelligible
- These come from the mind of God
- They are unexplainable on the basis of matter alone
- Physicalism; Materialism
- Sense of the divine
- Awareness of God
- Universal religiosity of humanity
- Inherent in man
- Intuitive awareness
- Jesus Christ
- Called himself “God”
- “I am.” (Jn.8)
- Matchless moral character
- In three years…turned the world upside-down
- Prolific miracle work
- His enemies never denied that He did them!
- Messianic prophecies
- Empty tomb
- Post-mortem appearances
- 500+ witnesses
- Paul’s conversion
- From Judaism to Christianity
- The equivalent of Hitler becoming a Jew!
The Christian faith, based upon the Holy Bible, makes the most sense of life, of reality.
Came across this quote a week ago or so:
“We do tend to reduce the Gospel to moral living and the American way of life. Even those of us in the church act as if God is powerless and we have to do everything for Him. The early church knew a supernatural God who didn’t always do things the way they thought He ought to. Maybe we should look to and rely more on Him and less on ourselves.”
Question: “Does the Law serve ‘to correct and discipline’ Christians?”
Answer by St. John’s (abbreviated):
We are God’s children now…and hoping in Him…purifies us;
…believing in his Son Jesus Christ…is obedience. (1Jn 3:2,3,23)
We live through Him…believing the love that God has for us
…having confidence for the day of judgment
…having no fear in love…for His perfect love casts out fear.
We love because He first loved us in Christ. (1Jn 4:9,16-19)
We overcome the world, [flesh and devil]…by being born of God.
The victory? Our faith…believing that Jesus is the Son of God! (1Jn 5:4-5)
So then: Whoever has the Son has Life! (1Jn 5:12)
We are from God! Not as those living under the power of the evil one. (1Jn 5:19)
My confidence: Having faith in Christ, we know ourselves to be alive toward God and neighbor, governed by the Rule of His Spirit, even now. (mjm)