Friday, June 30, 2017

Know that you know ad infinim

To believe is "to have a firm or wholehearted religious conviction or persuasion :  to regard the existence of God as a fact," (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Some believe that the earth is flat but that doesn't make it so! Belief is extraneous to fact, but fact should be easier to believe than fiction because there is tangible evidence. Being persuaded is not evidence of truth.

In order to become a Christian there is a pre-condition:
Mark 16:16 "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Let us ignore the "baptized" condition for this moment, and focus in on the "believes" pre-condition. Using Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, this verse can be paraphrased as:
Whoever is persuaded will be saved, and those who are not persuaded will be condemned.
As such, a Christian is convinced - being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:21). (This commentary will not venture into what salvation is, or the time it happens. That is for another day, and I have discussed that earlier. It is clear that "will be" implies a future event - either shortly or a longer time, but never in the past. One cannot be saved before they believe.)

Therefore, fully persuaded is accepting something as truth that was not accepted before. This brings me to the subject at hand - Joyce Meyers has made famous the cliché. We are to keep our yes, yes and our no, no. (Matthew 5:37). Are you saved? The right answer is "yes" or "no". Better yet, since salvation's timing is different for different doctrines, a better question is: "Are you born-again?" If one claims to be a Christian and knows not what born-again means, then perhaps the second birth needs revisited, and it becomes obvious that one does not know, let alone know that he knows that he knows!

The underlying thought behind believe, then, is truth. Christians believe it to be truth, and to be efficacious, truth it must be to be saved. That truth is that Jesus is who he says he is (God), that he did what he would say he would do (die), and it was for the reason of redemption (dying in our place), for our resurrection to be possible (immortality). Although I dislike the cliché, I certainly believe all those things. Furthermore, it's imperative to understand that I can not facilitate my new birth, and that only Jesus can - only Jesus saves. All our efforts are in futility.
Mark 19:21 "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23  “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
The boy who had a spirit from birth was healed. It took a miracle to endeavor to fully convince the believing father. There was within his mind a dichotomy: belief couple with doubt. He saw Jesus, he knew Jesus, he believed in him but he fell just a little short of pure belief? Why? I am persuaded it was because he was mere man. We all came pre-conditioned to doubt truth. Ever since the serpent said, "Thou shalt not surely die," doubt has always been on the minds of all mankind. Salvation is overcoming enough doubt to accept Jesus and his teachings. Even a little faith is saving because Jesus admonished believers who had just a little faith.

The apostles were afraid of the storm. Jesus pointed out their dichotomy:
Matthew 14:31 "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Those who had faith - believed, but also had doubt. These were all apostles, yet whole churches of people claim to know that I know that I know. This claim is in effect saying, "I have more faith than the apostles who walked with Jesus!" I don't buy that, but I don't have to. Does Jesus accept that statement as true. My opinion is that we delude ourselves. It's prideful to think that we are invulnerable to doubt. Each time that we sin is the expression of doubt: "Do I really love God?" because he calls on his people to demonstrate love by obedience to Him.

The faith of God is pure. There is no doubt. The temptations of Christ are evidence of God's faith in Himself. There was no doubt at all in Jesus' mind that he could overcome temptation. Can you say that? If not, then it would appear that none of us have perfect faith. Anything less is less faith and more doubt. One can not know that he knows that he knows and have any doubt. My opinion is that all Christians have some degree of doubt. That is okay because we are mere men, but to think that we are without any doubt elevates ourselves to the stature of God!

Christians can believe the lie:

Matthew 24:23 "At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it."
Jesus warned firm believers to not be fooled. Why would Satan attempt to fool Christians if we were beyond fooling? Being fooled is believing untruths. Since we are capable of believing untruths, doubt can be instilled within our minds. One of the doubts is knowing our own lack of love.

We all know that we don't love Jesus enough because we sin even after we're born again. Some who are of the Calvinist doctrine, fail to believe in apostasy - that faith can be replaced by total doubt. That's actually why Satan tempts Christians. Only God knows when our little faith turns into no faith, but  that is scriptural and does occur. Few of us have great faith or all our prayers would be answered. We could even moves mountains (Mark 11:23). There remains much doubt. How can we claim that we know that we know that we know when so much doubt is there?

Our belief is instilled by Holy Scripture, what is canon and what is not, the translation of it, and if we're convinced of the truth of it all. One of the people I heard indicate that she knows that she knows had just used the Lord's name in vain. That's a show of not loving God enough to obey him. That act of vanity should instill some doubt in her because she doesn't have perfect love.

Paul refers to "the hope of salvation" (1 Thessalonians 5:8). That means that because something which we anticipate is beneficial we want it to be true. That want is based on belief. We want heaven to be real but it is based on the unseen. Satan constantly tells us that what we believe is not real. That is doubt, and we don't fully know, but accept what we cannot see. To prove that you know that you know that you know, would you walk on water in a storm? Peter did, but Peter doubted although Jesus was physically right there with him. Are people who are that certain of their faith just as faithful as Jesus who did walk on water without falling?

Belief isn't certainty. It's accepting what as said as factual. Some who know that they know also believe that it took great time, even millions of years, for the creation. They doubt God, then say they believe he can create a heaven for them to live eternally! They show doubt by their unbelief!

What I believe is not profound truth. I don't have perfect belief. What I write is my own revelation from God. I base it on scripture as I understand it. You may have a different understanding which means one of us is wrong. I don't like to be wrong, but the truth is that I often am! In this case, my personal conviction is that I won't say that I know that I know that I know that I'm saved because I realize that my belief is based on what I cannot see which influences my understanding.

I humble myself that I am no apostle nor even a prophet. I can say that "I believe", which implies that I am convinced. Am I convinced enough that I would sacrifice my only son as Abraham was called to do? I'm unsure because Abraham had great faith. I know that I have more doubt than Abraham because he was willing to do what most Christians could not do!

Let's quit responding to clichés unless we examine ourselves thoroughly. If I am so convinced of my belief, where is my action? If we have less doubt than the apostles, why are we not out saving the world as the Great Commission dictates? It's because we need more proof from our unbelief. Since Jesus isn't physically here any longer to demonstrate those miracles, we must only trust that he did. If we don't trust Jesus that much, why can't the evil spirits which inhabit our children be prayed out? We don't have enough faith in Jesus to pray and fast! Our acts negate our claim!

I won't answer, "I know that I know that I know" because of these things. You may disagree and that's okay. That's my own thinking, valid or not. I will say this, "I am born again!" Are you?

No comments:

Post a Comment