But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: The Lord knows those who are his, and, Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity. -- 2 Timothy 2:19
Monday, June 22, 2015
Going to the Ground
All of Christian faith stands and turns upon one fact: the historical and theological reality of the Incarnation -- of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of one Jesus the Christ.
We believe, quite literally, that One who was and is God laid aside His deity to the extent that He was able to take on our nature and our weaknesses, that He lived a perfect, sinless life and died a vicarious, atoning death in our place. God in Christ identified with us and became our substitute. In turn, He is able to offer us something that is beyond comprehension. Because He stood in my place of shame, rejection, and death, He gives me the opportunity to stand in His place of righteousness, acceptance, and everlasting life.
If that is taken away, no matter what else we might have, no matter what else we believe or what we are able to do, we cannot be Christians, we cannot experience salvation, we cannot belong to the Lord.
Did Jesus live? Certainly there was such a man who lived. The historical record is sound and solid and constantly being reinforced by new discoveries. Was Jesus God as He and His followers claimed? That one is harder. I believe it. I can present rational and logic arguments as to why I believe it is true. For example, there are His miracles, the fact that His disciples suffered persecution and death rather than deny Him, the impact His life has had on history, the fulfillment of prophecies, and more. Yet, any rational argument I make is based on some axioms, e.g., that there is a God, that God is good, that He wants us to know Him, that the universe itself is part of His revelation and makes sense.
For those who reject those axioms, none of the logical arguments apologists present will be sufficient. In the end, I am left with my faith and the fact that my faith has altered my life so completely and dramatically that it is not the same as the one with which I was born the first time. Yet the foundation is firm, and it still stands and will stand forever.