Sunday Post: Personal Thoughts
A Sunday guest post by my brilliant husband, Gregg.
Every Sunday, my clever husband offers me a “day of rest” by writing posts, usually on the subject of his primary ministry. This Sunday is a bit of a divergence and I pray that these words touch you or speak to you in a special way.
Normally, every Sunday I have prepared and researched a post having to do with the clash of two worldviews: that of Darwinism versus the Christian worldview, specifically as it has to do with creation as it is explained in God’s holy word. However, all this week, life happened. I simply did not have time to research, write, and prepare or produce the kind of polished post that I feel readers deserve or have come to expect.
I will try my very best to find time in the coming week to present more scientific evidence that supports the Biblical view of creation next Sunday. This Sunday, I will write a more personal post concerning some personal thoughts and observations that have been on my heart in recent days.
I am in Kabul, Afghanistan not far from the US Embassy. Last week, a homicide bomber made his way onto a military compound near here and killed himself along with at least one other person, and several severe injuries also resulted. In addition, we experienced a rocket attack on the military compound directly adjacent. I was on the phone with my wife at the time. There were no reported injuries from that attack. Like I said, it’s been a busy week. We are in a war zone and attacks of this nature are not, unfortunately, terribly rare as of yet.
The end result is that a lot of people here are demonstrating heightened amounts of stress. This stress manifests itself in various ways. I was discussing this with a fellow believer who is also a devoted husband father and we discussed a principle that we have identified sets us apart. We take it on faith that as believers, there is an afterlife.
We both feel that often referred to peace that passes understanding. We both have a hope that dwells within our hearts. While neither of us would prefer to be taken out of this world prematurely, each of us understands where we will go from here. This belief enables us to tell our loved ones that should death come early, it will have no effect on the long-term outcome.
When Hallee and I discussed this possibility, I told her, “Well, if that happens, then I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
I take this on faith
In conquering death and the grave, our savoir removed any power that death could ever hold over us in our lives here. Ponder the meaning of that for a moment. According to the Biblical worldview, man brought death into God’s perfect creation as a result of an act of our own free will. But scripture informs us that it is not God’s desire that any man should perish (Matthew 18:14).
The redemption of our sin against Him, in spoiling His perfect creation, was to sacrifice his very own son, the living Lamb of God, who redeemed us in full from our sin. (John 3:16-17)
I take this on faith.
The last words of Christ before his death on the cross were, “It is finished.” I will spare you the many translations and get to the meaning, or the intent of those words. When criminals were charged and convicted at that time, they had to hang a bill on the post in front of the prison, and the jailors kept tabs as the criminal would make recompense for the transgression. As the convict performed acts of penitence, the jailor was responsible to note it on the bill, until the matter was settled. At that time, the jailor would write, essentially, paid in full, or it is finished, on that bill.
In giving His life for us, in shedding His innocent blood, Jesus Christ paid our debt of sin in full. Our bill is settled. It is finished. I am redeemed. I am a new creature in Christ.
I take this on faith.
The resurrection of Christ is evidence that by that act of divine sacrifice, we are granted new life. We are remade, once more whole, new creatures and one day we will dwell in the mansions made for us with a new heaven and a new earth.
As a consequence, we who believe and call on Him accept a gift of eternal life, as God intended from the beginning. We will live forever, just as we were created to do in the original act of creation, right up until the moment before we willfully wrecked the place.
It is not so for everyone. (Deuteronomy 8:20)
I think of the book of Job, probably the oldest book in all of scripture, wherein we are informed that if we are obedient to the will of God, we will spend our days in prosperity. If we are not, we will perish without understanding and die by the sword. (Job 36:11-12) I ponder those words in the context of a people who understand nothing but violence and death, and who waste lives in intentional ignorance. Where is the glory?
What reward do you have when you constantly wage war? When you choose violence and death over love and forgiveness? When you seek to do harm instead of curing the ills of the world?
I am convicted that the power of God’s gift is pure and total and uncompromising. Who am I to introduce impurities? Who am I to subtract from that totality? Who am I to squander and compromise that gift?
I am further convicted that watered-down faith has no value in this life. So many of my fellow believers are willing to sacrifice their beliefs on the alters of the world. And for what? What use is a compromised worldview? What good is compromised religion?
The Cost of Compromise, the Price of Pride
Each and every one of the apostles who witnessed Christ’s ascension died a horrible death. Not one of them ever compromised the truth of the Gospel. For example, none of them ever once claimed that Christ’s resurrection was a lie. They chose to die instead. Do you suppose it would have been just as easy for them to recant, to compromise, and thus to live another day instead of dying in agony?
So many of my fellow believers compromise their faith over far more trivial matters. Instead of holding fast to our faith even at the cost of our very lives, we surrender our faith for the sake of reputation, or position, or … pride. What is gained by this? A momentary advantage in position? A good name among pagans? That feeling of pride in the accomplishment of self? Is any of that more precious than our birthright of eternity?
I am convinced that it is possible to be in the world but not of the world. I am convinced that we can take a moral stand, an uncompromising stand with respect to our faith, and not only survive but also thrive in this life. I am further convinced that when we stand fast in our faith, when we fully understand the impact and meaning and intent of all of our beliefs, then we are a much better living witness to those around us, both believers and unbelievers alike.
What does it cost to choose to only believe what cherry-picked passages of scripture we enjoy? What does it cost to abandon the remainder? What does it cost to say, “This part of God’s holy word isn’t really true?” Are we our own god? Or is there a God, a Creator, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow?
People often compare my belief in the Biblical account of creation to the thousand year old arguments over how many angels might fit on the head of a pin. I am going to say that this is a false analogy. The number of angels on the head of a pin is never once explained in scripture, but God’s initial act of creation is explained in some detail.
If, today, you think any part of the Bible might not be true, I would advise you to do some more research. I pray that my words hold a special meaning for you today.
May God bless you today,