Thursday, 21 July 2011
Would you live differently if we knew objectively whether God was a fictional character of ancient religions, or if His account contained within the Scriptures is completely inerrant? Reading most of the comments, I am finding myself confounded that a lot of them wouldn't have changed much. A lot of them thought that they could be living the way they are, without God.
The question itself is not entirely different from the question which asks if you suddenly died would anyone notice? Of course you would hope people would notice if you disappeared in a rapturous manner one day. And you hope for this reason: you have fundamental changed them in some way. In the same way, surely God changes the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts--that our lives would not be the same otherwise.
A dead God cannot change anyone, he lays in the grave, and cannot see or love His own creation.
Verily, belief in a living God is life-changing. When I say belief, I must firstly define that I mean, true belief--that is, complete faith. I define it so stringently because merely saying "Lord, Lord" will never get anyone into heaven--but as Jesus said to Nicodemus, only those who are born again may get into heaven. I can hear the masses accusing me of being judgmental, but I cannot say this is directed at anyone, and if it is directed at anyone it is most likely towards myself. I find myself falling back into sin continually, and questioning whether my faith is enough (though it is).
But to say you believe in Jesus Christ, and to acknowledge what work he has accomplished through His resurrection from the dead. Have you ever paused to think about what a monumental statement that is? This truth has to transform and renew our passion daily--Knowing and proclaiming this to be true, how can you not be changed? Jesus Christ rose from the dead! Surely, this Man deserves our complete attention because He holds the key to eternal life. If we say that we would continue to love, even if God doesn't exist. Then we do not believe in God--you believe in a impersonal false love.
There should never be a shadow of a doubt that He exists. If there is doubt, then the question is--have you believed? Because surely, if we know and are known by a benevolent and loving God, we would love with a supernatural love. And this love is only through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
"You are most likely familiar with the "fruit passage" in Galatians 5, which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (v.22-23 NIV). You may even have the list memorized.
But look over those traits right now and ask yourself if you possess each to a supernatural degree. Do you exhibit more kindness and faithfulness than the Mormons you know? Do you have more self-control than your Muslim friends? More peace than Buddhists? More joy than atheists? If GOD truly lives in you, shouldn't you expect to be different from everyone else?" (1)
Anyone can love. Anyone can be patient. Anyone can be slightly more righteous than the next person--but only through Christ can we truly be extraordinarily changed and renewed in our minds, then our actions may be only from God. I don't think that Moses could have gained enough courage, Elijah enough faith, David enough humility, Solomon enough wisdom, Esther enough grace, Nehemiah enough words of prayer, Isaiah enough inspiration, Amos enough willpower--except through the Holy Spirit. I don't believe anyone can accomplish anything except through the Holy Spirit, and what sanctification He encourages through us.
Sometimes, I think we want to diminish what it is to be a Christian, to the extent that Christianity is defined by comfort and luxury. We are too easily contented if we think that how we are now, is all that God wants to accomplish within us. If that is true, then surely we have a powerless God, who hold no weight in our lives. It says in Ezekiel 37: "Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." (28)
If God does exists--how are you changed? What does your life reveal about Jesus? If the Holy Spirit left you, would you yearn and long for Him to return?
(1) Chan, Francis. The Forgotten God: Reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit. 2009. 146-47 (HT to Cygnus33. )