Faith is the basis of Christian life, but the problem nowadays is that people don’t know what faith is.
The church is in trouble … and the trouble is that we are not taking our God seriously enough. What’s the proof of that? Why, that we’re not taking His Word seriously enough, and we’re not making sure that our faith matches the teaching of scripture… We don’t even seem to be interested in finding out! That’s not good enough.
Maybe you call yourself a Christian but, do you know what Christian truth really is? Could you explain your faith? Do you base it on the Bible? Could you defend it against challenges? Faith is the most momentous reality that I can think of! We need to know what we believe; We need to be able to defend it when it’s challenged, and we need to have reason for relying on it as a basis for our lives.
When i heard these words by JI Packer, i felt challenged to my core!
The problem with spending a lot of time reading and listening to messages by brilliant theologians like JI Packer, CS Lewis and C. Spurgeon, is that the truth of what they say often smacks you right between the eyes! I have found that most of the time, it’s a truth that is rather hard to swallow… like the piece i quoted above.
These great men get me to really look at myself in a way that highlights the contradiction between what I say I believe and the way I’m living. I wonder what I have been doing with my life, and my brain …
Do I take God seriously? Do I even care about finding truth? Do I know why I believe the Bible and why I believe Jesus to be God? Can I defend my faith against challenges?
Well known Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias says:
“If we don’t reach our young; if we don’t encourage our students to think; if we don’t train them how to think, and if we don’t give them the disciplines on how to answer questions, we are flirting with the extinction of the church in the next generation.”
Now, how do we teach them if we don’t even know how ourselves?
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
When the people heard Paul’s words they were ‘cut to the heart’. The word used for ‘cut’ in that verse is more like the word ‘sawed’. His words were like a saw through their hearts! Do we feel sawed open by the words in the Bible or by a message heard in church? Or do we just want to hear that everything is fine, God loves us, all is forgiven and we can grab a cappuccino on the way out?
Are we taking God seriously?
We need to take God seriously. We need to take our sin, our lives and our responsibilities as Bible believing Christians seriously. When I thought of the crucifixion generally, I think I imagined my sin almost getting diluted with everyone else’s sins, and it didn’t seem so bad. But when I think of the crucifixion as Christ dying for me, personally, I find myself wanting to be ‘better’. To be found without blemish. To be above reproach. To be a pleasing aroma to God.
I want my heart to be sawed open and transformed by the Word of God, challenged, grown and changed continually! I want to be a believer who thinks, who asks, and who can defend my beliefs against challenges, and help others to do the same.