In a world that considers everything relative except relativity, Christians need to feel sure of their faith and to find certainty in the truth of the gospel. God is a competent and willing revealer of his eternal plan.
The Bible presents us with proven facts, a coherent history, and verifiable written prophecies of the Lord. There need be no embarrassment about possessing truth.
Proven facts, 1 Corinthians 15.1-8
It’s a shame that people who love to see a core gospel in this text stop their reading at verse 3. They miss Paul’s major point here: the appearances that prove Christ’s resurrection, verses 4-8. Christ was seen after his resurrection by many people in various moments. This was important to those who were in danger of become resurrection deniers.
The first thing Paul does in this last big subject of the letter, on an essential doctrinal issue, is to cite the eyewitness evidence. Then he deals with the implications of the denial, if the deniers were right. But they aren’t, because there’s proof.
Such proof brings certainty, and Paul is not interested in letting people believe what they want to on this point.
Coherent history, Luke 1.1-4
Without demeaning others who have written before him, Luke does his own research and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, assembles an “orderly account” of the life and ministry of Jesus so that the Most Excellent Theophilus “may know for certain the things you were taught.”
Luke works from the premise that an accurate history can be assembled. It is possible to listen to eyewitnesses and “servants of the word from the beginning,” in order to write up a coherent narrative of what actually happened.
A reading of the Spirit-inspired account brings certainty to the reader. Not a few skeptics have been won over by the evidence presented in the gospels and in the Bible as a whole. The information given in Luke-Acts, for example, caused Sir William Ramsay to completely change his attitude about the historicity of the documents, when he went to Asia Minor to prove the Bible was wrong.
Verified Scriptures, Acts 17.10-12
When Paul preached the gospel to the Jews, “he addressed them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ'” Acts 17.2. He used what we now call the Old Testament to prove that Jesus is the Christ and that God had foretold all that would happen in his ministry.
When he preached in Berea, those listeners “were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so” Acts 17.11.
The Bible is the document that brings certainty to faith. It is the word of God which produces great results among people who study it, Acts 17.12. When the great plan of God is studied, its prophecies understood, its truths appreciated, people will be convinced and persuaded, Acts 17.4, because as much as some may deny it, people are searching for something solid, for truths on which to build their lives.
‘I tell you the truth’
In the gospel accounts, Jesus often says, “I tell you the (solemn) truth.” NET adds “solemn” to John’s double “amen, amen.” In them all, the Lord is deliberate in his statements and sure of the truth he declares.
People of the world proclaim lies as the purest truth. They feel no shame. The worst myth of all is to declare that there is no absolute truth. They appear not to be aware of their self-contradiction.
Christians ought to proclaim fearlessly and boldly that truth exists, that we can be certain of God’s revealed truth, and that there exists proven facts, a coherent history, and a verifiable collection of prophecies in Scripture. These can be believed as true.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” Hebrews 11.1.
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