And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” And they remembered His words. – Luke 24:4-8
This past weekend I had a business trip and had the opportunity to have dinner with some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a very enjoyable time, and the food was great. One of my friends was interested in our recent trip to Israel. So I spent some time going through a few pictures and talking about the trip.
He asked an excellent question to begin the conversation, wondering if this had deepened my faith. One of the things about walking where Jesus walked is just that. If you “believe”, and I mean really believe it can’t help but deepen your faith.
I told my friend that “belief” and faith are a gift of God, and I can attempt to prove things to people but without the gift it’s an intellectual belief and not an awakening of the heart belief that distinguishes the true believer from the false believer. As James writes, even the demons believe… (James 2:19) So if we see that the demons believe, we must realize there is a different kind of belief.
This is the difference between life altering beliefs, and just “oh yes, of course I believe in god”. The gift of God that comes through understanding His revealed will to mankind through His word. Living and desiring obedience in all areas of your life.
I’ve been continually reminded, especially recently, of the way the human heart can deceive. There is such a razor thin line between what most people will believe as obedience, and what God looks on as obedience. This is the thin line between eternity in heaven or hell. God is deadly serious about our obedience, not that it can save you, but it is the proof of your salvation.
As our conversation progressed through the evening my friend asked me an almost startling question. It surprised me because I hadn’t even considered it. He said to me, “where do you think Jesus’ bones are today?” And then he told me about a National Geographic program that they thought they had discovered the bones of Christ.
Uhhh…. Wow, I really hadn’t considered that.
I told my friend that my worldview, doesn’t allow for that. If I believe the Bible, which I do, the Bible tells us Christ is alive, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He was crucified, and raised from the dead. If we don’t have this, then we don’t have Christianity. It’s just another dead faith like Buddhism, Islam or hundreds of other false religions. They have no hope in anything other than their own righteous acts.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
This is crystal clear! We have eyes witness accounts that saw Christ crucified, Old Testament Scripture prophesied that He would die, prophesied that He would rise again and then we have over five hundred eye witness accounts of Him alive. I have no opportunity in my life to believe anything other than this. This is the truth and the cutting of God’s word.
If I disbelieve anything in the Bible, I disbelieve it all. I can’t have it any other way.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I hope in the substance of God’s word, and there is evidence of things that I personally have not seen, but it’s not a blind and ridiculous faith. It’s not a faith that requires me to do things to obtain favor with God and earn my salvation. It’s faith that by God’s good pleasure, He chose to save me, yet I must believe and I’m responsible not to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).
All around us today are people that have some sort of an intellectual understanding and a surface level belief in a god, yet don’t know the One True God of the Bible in an intimate way. This God must be believed to inherit eternal life, or the price of disobedience and disbelief will be eternal separation from Him and anything good. A place of torment, where the God that poured out His wrath on His Son to pay for sin, will in turn be poured out on those in disbelief.
That’s what the Bible teaches and we can choose to ignore, disbelieve or whatever form of denial we might want to employ, but it doesn’t change that reality. Why?
Because He is Alive!
Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
If this is news to you please consider what the Bible has to teach us about God, if you are a believer He is there with the Father making intercession for you and me.
Soli Deo Gloria!