Friday, January 13, 2012

The True Witness

All of mankind must answer the ultimate question, does God exist?  This question cannot be ignored.  God has ‘set eternity in the hearts of men’. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)   There is an innate desire rooted deeply within the heart to know the living God.  There is a void, a vacuum within every heart that yearns for a knowledge of the Holy One.   How might we satisfy this inner yearning?  ‘No one has ever seen God.’ (John 1:18)   No man has ever heard his voice nor have they walked any distance with God as though he were a man.  The great dilemma was how to fill the great gulf that separated God and man. The magnificence of his beauty and the glorious sight of his face was enough to kill a man.   "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."  (Exodus 33:20)  Yet, the Bible makes clear that men who fail to believe in his existence are without excuse.  Paul wrote to the Romans these words:  ‘what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them’.  (Romans 1:19)  

Men may realize God’s existence by observing the beauty of nature.  Have you not looked at the glory of a majestic mountain, have you not seen the rush of Niagra or looked upon the vastness and depth of the great ocean and not said to yourself, “There must surely be a God”?  Paul reaffirms the revelation of God through nature when he says ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.’ (Romans1:20)  

We will be without excuse on the day ‘every knee shall bow’ (Romans 14:11)  before the Creator of the universe.  One will say, “I saw no evidence that you existed”.   The jury will gasp that they he not see God in the great overflow of the Divine manifested in his creation.  Another will say, “But I wanted so much to eat, drink and be merry and so I thought I would delay the issue until a later date.”  In the movie, Rocky 3, Balboa’s opponent, Clubber Lane, is asked about their upcoming match.  Lane replies, “I pity the fool!”  Will there be anyone there at the judgment to ‘pity the fool’ who exchanged the blessings of eternity for a few short moments of earthly pleasure?  Some on that day will look into the face of the One who came to earth, submitted himself to the torture of his enemies, who allowed himself to be brutally nailed to a cross and took upon himself the sin of all mankind as he died a cruel death.  And they will say to him, “I just didn’t take it seriously”.  Heaven will surely echo the gasps of the multitudes as they witness such arrogance and carelessness.

How might we believe in God?  We might consider all the evidence and logically conclude that he exists.  We might look at the rotation of the planets and the revolution of the heavenly bodies and come to a rational conclusion that what we are observing has to be a result of intelligent design.  We might consider the fact that there is good in the world, there is a standard of morality and that standard must certainly have an Origen.  God has certainly made it possible for us to arrive at a point where we have an unshakeable belief in the existence of God because we have followed the road of reason to such a conclusion.

But those who arrive at the door of belief by following the road of rationality might find themselves deprived of a personal relationship with the God they believe in.  God wants not only that we believe in him, he wants us to have relationship with him.  You can’t have relationship with someone you can’t see, with someone you can’t talk to, with someone impossible to know.  So, God sent his only begotten son to reveal himself to us.  The Father sends his son as an eyewitness, a primary witness to reveal to men the true nature of God, ‘He testifies to what he has seen and heard’. (John 3:32)  What has he seen?  He has seen the face of God.  What has he heard?  He has heard the voice of the father. 

All other prophets who shared truth could only claim that they had a partial grasp of the whole truth.  Jesus boldly declared that he was the truth.  John the Baptist came with a message, he pointed ahead to the One who was yet to come.  But Jesus didn’t come with a message, he was the message.  The apostles revealed the way to God and to heaven.  Jesus proclaimed, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’  (John 14:6)  

Believing that God exists is only the first step to having a meaningful, fulfilling personal relationship with him.  The foundation of this relationship is provided by the reality that God chose to reveal himself to us through his Son.  The Christ that rose out of Bethlehem revealed himself to many people.  He had family and friends and followers who saw his face, they heard his voice and walked with him from place to place.  One important thing they learned as they walked with Jesus was that he could not lie. (Titus 1:2)  Jesus told them, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."  (John 16:28)   He wrapped himself in human flesh, fulfilled his mission and returned to the Father.  No other person has ever existed before conception.  This means he was the incarnate Christ.  This means that he was God.

We will be judged, not by our belief in him, even Satan believes that God exists.  We will be judged by our relationship with him.  I believe in the existence of God but I want to experience this ‘love that surpasses knowledge, I want to be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God.’ (Ephesians 3:9)  ‘I want to know Christ’.  (Philippians 3:10)  

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

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