Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

“Without Excuse.”

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” -Romans 1:18-20

Looking back on the time in my life when I rejected God and Christianity, I see things that I didn’t really see then. I had reasons for suppressing the truth of Christianity and rejecting it. I thought that it was better to live as if there was no God and as if Jesus was not the Son of God and is not the King of the universe.

I think back to conversations with my brother, when he made perfect sense and I couldn’t come up with answers for his questions other than simply saying, “I don’t know.”

As I said, “I don’t know,” I had to fight to keep a sly grin from coming across my face, because I was thinking about the reasons I couldn’t buy into what he was saying. I didn’t think that he could provide evidence for what he told me, and even when he did provide evidence, I brushed it off. If he gave me anything from the Bible, my defense was that the Bible wasn’t credible. Those things happened too long ago. How could anybody live their life around something that happened 2000 years ago? But the reason that I rejected everything he said was that I had to reject those things to live the way that I wanted to live.

Then things started to change. God started pursuing me. Certain weird things started happening in my life- I was living farther away from my dad than I had ever been, and I started having this crazy longing to have a son and thinking about what it would take to raise him and all the things that I wanted to teach him. I had this longing for the closeness that I have with my dad, along with the longing to someday build a similar father-son relationship with a son of my own. I was very strangely emotional about father-son relationships in TV shows and movies.

I started thinking more about the Christian life, and decided that it would probably be good to somehow teach my children the values that I learned being brought up in a Christian home. I remember thinking that I would definitely rather live in a neighborhood full of Christians than a neighborhood full of atheists, because I thought Christians were more “virtuous” in general.

I realized that I was being an idiot pursuing the kind of girls that I was pursuing, and I thought about all the “good girls” that I passed over when I was in college because I was looking for girls that “wanted to have fun.”

I decided that I would like to marry a Christian girl, because Christian girls are likely to be more virtuous. And because I thought that would be a good way to arrange for my kids to be brought up with Christian virtues. I decided that if I married a Christian girl, then I would be okay with going to church with her and our kids if/when we had kids for the sake of their virtues.

All of these things came together to elevate the Christian life in my eyes. Then, I “happened” to move to Houston, TX.

My brother gave me the Biblical evidence for the resurrection, and the only think I had to cling to was that the Bible wasn’t credible.

Then I came to realize that there was an enormous difference in the way that I read things. I remembered reading “The Da Vinci Code,” and I couldn’t get enough of it. As ludicrous as the ideas that “The Da Vinci Code” puts forth were, just the idea that it provided an argument against Jesus and Christianity spurred me on and I finished it in 3 or 4 days.

So, when I “happened” to stumble across Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ,” I began reading it with a realization that I read things differently depending on whether they supported or rejected Christianity.

So, with an elevated view of the Christin life, with my brother’s arguments, and with Strobel’s evidence for the credibility of the Bible, I was convinced that Jesus really was resurrected from the dead, and that He really is the King of the universe.

I truly believe that if you do not believe, then you are in the same position that I was in. Just as I suppressed the truth so that I could live the way that I wanted to, as if there was no God, I believe that you are suppressing the truth as well.

God has made it evident to you, and you have decided to reject the evidence. The poetry of life screams that there was a Divine Poet who set it all in motion, and we will all come face to face with Him one day.

If you do not repent of your sins, and turn to Jesus and accept and treasure Him as the only way to be reconciled with God, then you will have no excuse on that day.

I hope and pray that God will pursue you in the same way that He pursued me, because I know that I do not deserve it any more than you do.

Whatever explanations or excuses you have cannot account for the perfection and righteousness that God requires of us. Jesus’ death on the cross bought you, whether you accept it or not. The God who created everything in this universe requires absolute perfection and absolute righteousness from us. None of us are anything close to absolutely perfect or absolutely righteous. But our infinitely just and loving Creator provides an absolute perfection and an absolute righteousness in the person of Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man. And that perfection and that righteousness are extended to all who will accept it. It is an open invitation to all who are willing to give up the filth of this world for the treasures that God has to offer, lose the life that they want, and find the better life and the satisfaction that are only possible in Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Power that is in Heaven.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atheist, children, Christ, Christianity, family, God, grace, Jesus, Life, love, mercy, Religion, Resurrection, righteousness, spouse, testimony, the Bible, virtue | 14 Comments

The Best News

What is the Best News that God, the Bible, and Christianity have to offer?

God created this world, and it is magnificent.  But is that the Best News?

Hell is more infinitely terrible than our simple brains can fathom, and in Jesus, God gives us a “get of hell free” card.  But is that the Best News?

Heaven is as infinitely great as hell is infinitely terrible and then some, and God tells us in His Word that by putting our faith in His Son we can spend eternity in heaven.  But is that the Best News?

God loves us and wants us to be happy, and as our Father He wants to bless us with every good thing and every perfect gift.  But is that the Best News?

Those are all included in the great news that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but John Piper would say that none of those things qualify as the Best News that God, the Bible, and Christianity have to offer.  Piper would say that the Best News is that, through Christ, we are able to have an intimate knowledge of God and enjoy Him forever.  And after listening to his two-part message called “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ”, I joyfully concur. 

What I love about John Piper is how Biblically solid he is and how he always strives to exult Jesus Christ.  Because he backs up what he says with the Word of God (and usually with multiple texts), it is often impossible to both accept that the Bible is the Word of God and logically disagree with Piper.  And because he strives to ceaselessly exult Jesus, I rarely leave his books or sermons without a desire to imitate him in that fashion.

 The “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ” messages were intended to give his audience the best way to Godly sexuality, but the Supremacy of Christ was indubitably the central theme.  And the Supremacy of Christ is essential to both living the Christian life and combatting the sins of this world.  Therefore, although the message was intended to encourage Godly sexuality, the messages can definitely be applied to all areas of the Christian life. 

You can hear part 1 here:  http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByDate/1657_Sex_and_the_Supremacy_of_Christ_Part_1/

And part 2 here:  http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByDate/184_Sex_and_the_Supremacy_of_Christ_Part_2/

October 27, 2007 Posted by | Bible, Blessed, Blessings, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Delight, Desiring God, Doers of the Word, Faith, Father, Giver, God, Heart, Infinite, John Piper, Life, Lord, Pleasure, Prosperity, Religion, righteousness, Satisfaction, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, The Law of the Lord, The Resurrection, the Word of God | Leave a comment

Doers of the Word?

Psalm 1

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.”

James 1:22 – “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

According to Blaise Pascal, by way of John Piper’s “Desiring God,” all men seek their own happiness.  He does not divide men into two categories the way that Psalm 1 does.  Therefore, both wicked men and righteous men seek their own happiness.  The difference is found in the means to the end; the end being their own happiness.

So how are the means of the righteous and the means of the wicked different as they seek their own happiness?  “[The righteous man’s] delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

The difference in whether your way will perish or prosper is whether or not you delight in the Lord and His law and meditate on it day and night.  By that measure I am wicked far more often than I am righteous.

I am studying “Desiring God” with my good friend and hero Travis Cardwell, and Piper’s thoughts in his book are obvious and Biblically solid.  But, they are difficult to put into practice.  I see the magnificence of God everywhere in this world.  I see the unthinkable mercy that God showed to me even though I turned my back on Him for years and sought to live my life without Him.  I see that just as hell is overwhelmingly terrible, God is infinitely glorious because He gave me a way to avoid hell- even though hell is the only thing I deserve from Him.

And I love Him when I am thinking about Him and when I do meditate on Him, His law, His creations, and all of His blessings.  Those are times when “desiring God” comes easily. 

And yet how quickly my simple mind forgets.  And how my simple heart seeks satisfaction in the simple pleasures of His creations and His gifts, all the while ignoring the infinite blessings, prosperity, and pleasures of the Giver.  And so my question is, “How do I put Piper’s theories into practice all the time, rather than only when it comes easily?”

The answer, I believe, is found by combining Psalm 1 with James 1:22.  My delight must be in the law of the Lord.  And I must meditate in it day and night.  And, I must be a doer of the word, and not merely a hearer who deludes myself.

August 25, 2007 Posted by | Bible, Doers of the Word, Faith, God, Heart, James, Psalm 1, Religion, righteousness | 4 Comments