By Faith, Part 1

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:17 (NIV)

John Lennon once sang, “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.”  Now, if you are reading this blog, my guess is you probably do not agree with that assessment.  (For the record, I do not believe the ex-Beatle’s theological views were correct.)

Still, I wonder how many people would agree with this lyric – at least in part.  How many believe in a concept of deity as opposed to the God of the Bible?  Now… considering the topic at hand, I am quite mindful of the depths and prayerful that I do not stumble over a cliff here.  If one wants to dig deeply from the theological mine, I would suggest reading Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology or Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology. Both are incredible volumes (in my humble opinion), and both very heavy – in content and physical weight.

Many of us try to figure God out.  We come up with ideas about who He is that make sense to our way of thinking.  But, if we think it through, Christianity is very illogical.  Consider this:  God – the Immense, Immeasurable Creator of the Universe – took the form of a human (Jesus Christ, God Incarnate).  Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfectly pure and sinless life and died the horrific death of a common criminal.  On the third day following His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to hundreds of witnesses and, forty days later, ascended into heaven. 

This is not an allegory.  This is no morality tale, no mere story meant to teach us a lesson.  It is a historical event.  It happened.  It is real. 

And, from a human standpoint, it is illogical.

Frankly, I’m thankful that it is illogical.  And you should be, too.  I would be greatly disappointed to discover that the God I worship and serve is no smarter than a mere human and thus bound by our logic.  The idea of a God Whose cognitive abilities are no better than mine is disappointing.  Depressing.  Detrimental to faith.

Faith is the bedrock of the whole thing.  The simple fact of the matter is we – as in humanity – do not possess the powers of cognition to fully “get” God.  We come up with so many theories and ideas and this and that to try to explain what God does / did and how and why… We come up with notions and develop theories, when all we need to know is in Scripture, the Bible, the inerrant (in its original autographs) Word of God. 

Prove it?  That’s just the point.  (And, for some, it is a sticky point at that.)  We need to take it on faith.  There is plenty of evidence to weigh if you need some proof for God’s existence or Scripture’s reliability. (Another big heavy book, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell is a great read).  Frankly, you’d be a fool who’d believe anything to buy into a belief system without some good evidence for its legitimacy.  But, no matter how educated one becomes, at some point everyone will run up against the same wall: it is a heart matter.  It is a faith matter.

There is a reason God didn’t provide all the tangible proof that skeptics feel the need to require.  Quite simply, the Christian life is a matter of faith.  It is about relying on God, not our feeble abilities.  It is about believing in God.  It is about believing not simply that Jesus existed.  Even atheists will tell you a man named Jesus Christ lived in the first century AD.  It is about accepting by faith the forgiveness brought by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, on the cross.  It is about accepting the Bible as the Holy (and wholly) Inspired Word of God.  It is about taking God at His Word, accepting salvation by faith.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I believe theology is important.  I believe whole-heartedly that there is no better study for a person to take part in than the study of God and the Bible.  There is no better way to know God.  Indeed, knowing God is impossible without the Bible.  However, any learning about the Lord must be built on a foundation of faith.  The two work together (faith and reason, that is).

God is no concept.  God is not bound by our ideas and isms.  God is God, and we are His creation.  And, if you think about it, isn’t it quite illogical for the creation to exceed its Creator?

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