Where Does Truth Come From?

child-945422_960_720  One thing has become very clear, across our society we have very differing views on morality. There are even moments where it seems as if our differences might tear us apart (though American society is far more resilient than our political squabbles might make it seem). Serious moral concerns fuel activism on all sides of the spectrum, but it seems few can agree on any absolutes.

This is not surprising, actually, given the decline in Biblical literacy in our country. According to a 2014 report by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society, a majority of adults in the US said they consider themselves highly, moderately or somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible, yet less than half were able to name the first five books of the Bible. In a 2013 study, only half the adults surveyed knew that John the Baptist was not one of the twelve apostles.

Yet it is the Bible that provides the framework for right and wrong for all people. Without a solid foundation rooted in the knowledge of our Creator and the book He wrote to us, we soon find that no one is right and everyone is right, all at the same time. Without a foundation in Biblical truth, right and wrong are merely abstracts that vary to suit the individual as he or she might decide based on their immediate needs or circumstance.

Certainly most societies have developed laws and norms that are meant to apply as the rule of law, but without a bedrock of Biblical belief, those rules and laws are subject to change based on the whims of various people groups and their immediate felt needs. Morality becomes a flexible band that is stretched and relaxed to suit the impulses of any specific group that makes the most noise at a given moment. And each individual is compelled to obey only as it suits his or her fancy. Individual circumstances always pose the potential for a particular person to decide the risk of disobedience outweighs the pain of compliance.

The Bible, on the other hand, offers us the truth of our Creator. It is His revealed Word to guide us on our journey through life and it is the promise of the eternity that comes after we leave Earth. Through the Apostle Paul we are instructed: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2Timothy 3:16) And the book of Psalms opens with this promise: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

It seems today that the idea of moral absolutes is distasteful to many and, indeed, we find this is a fulfillment of Scriptural prophecy: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2Timothy 4:3-4) But I want to encourage you to rise above the din of modern society and make your personal choice to pursue Biblical literacy.

I am not asking you to take my word for it because I am confident that the Bible stands on its own and that if you would only commit yourself to improving your personal Biblical literacy, you will soon recognize that the Bible is God’s inspired Word and his Holy Truth. You will discover that when God says “don’t” he means “don’t hurt yourself” and you will find the reality that Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, gave his life so that your sins would be forgiven.  I am confident you will come to know that God’s Word is “a lamp to guide your feet and a light for your path” (Psalm 119:105).

Becoming Biblically literate starts with reading the Bible, of course, but the following resources can help you in your journey.

A good study Bible is essential and you can find one here: Zondervan Study Bibles

A Bible dictionary is also very useful: Compact Bible Dictionary

A Bible commentary will help you, especially if some passages seem difficult: Bible Commentary

A good Bible atlas is also invaluable:  Bible Atlas

Of course, all the above cost money to buy, and if money is an issue for you now, Angel Ministries provides free on-line Bible study resources, and here is a handy link to click: Free Bible Studies

We wish you the best of luck in your quest for Biblical literacy. We’d love to hear how your journey is going, please feel free to write us at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Wages

Romans 6_23 God’s rules are like the boundaries a parent sets for his or her children, they are for our benefit and protection (though, like a child, we often seem to think we know better). And when a child breaks their parents’ rules, they can usually expect consequences, some naturally occurring and some in the form of disciplinary measures. Similarly, there are consequences of breaking God’s laws.

But I’m not going to discuss the obvious consequences such as emotional pain, financial loss, broken homes, lost jobs, drug addictions, STDs, or any of the overly numerous ways we manage to mess up our own lives. (Proverbs 19:3 comes to mind: People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.) No, for this entry I’m going to stick to the bigger picture – which is the eternal consequence of our sin.

Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death…” This is an understandably difficult verse for many people. “How can a loving God sentence someone to death?” one is tempted to ask. I have had the same question myself. And this could lead us into some very deep theological territory, but I am going to attempt to avoid this with a simple analogy that will show that a god who doesn’t punish sin is actually an unloving god. Yes, it is precisely because God is so loving that He punishes sin.

How so?

Glad you asked. (Well, I assume you asked.) Let’s posit that a criminal has been apprehended and tried for an especially heinous crime against an especially defenseless victim. Perhaps it was a small child or an elderly couple who were viciously attacked, beaten, or killed. The prosecution’s case was airtight and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this perpetrator was culpable. The jury has come to a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts.

The day has come when the judge will hand down the sentence. The family of the victim stands in the courtroom, tightly holding hands, anticipating the justice they will finally receive. They nervously look at each other, sure of the outcome but wary none-the-less. The tragedy of this atrocious crime has taken its toll and the lives of the family members will never be the same. Finally, the judge enters the courtroom and announces his sentence: “No punishment. You’re free to go.”

Can you imagine the horror that would pass through the family and all those in the courtroom? No punishment? Wouldn’t that be the most nefarious, unloving act the judge could possibly take? Of course it would! A horrible crime demands an appropriate punishment. And it is no different with God. When we break laws, the only fair, just, and loving thing God can do is hand out punishment. And, eternally speaking, that punishment is far worse than the temporal consequences we inflict upon ourselves.

And lest we should begin to think that we are not guilty, let’s be reminded that “all have sinned, all fall short of the Glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And let’s also not try to minimize our crimes, either, by claiming that God’s standards are unreasonably high. A simple reading the Ten Commandments reveals rules that are reasonable in every regard, and are clearly for our own good and for the good of those around us.

Yet we steal. We commit adultery (Jesus said that if we look upon another with lust we have committed adultery in our heart – Matthew 5:28); we murder (Jesus said if we even are angry with our fellow man we are subject to judgment – Matthew 5:22); we lie; we covet; we fail to honor our parents; we fail to hold God in proper esteem. If you disagree with the concept that you are a sinner, then you are being disingenuous because we all inherently know we are guilty. No, as is explained to us in Romans 1, God has made the truth plain to us through His creation, we all intrinsically know that God exists and, therefore, we are without excuse.

But there is good news, Romans 3 says, in verses 24-26: “Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”

And that’s how loving God is. He sacrificed His own Son to pay the price for our sins so that we can be made righteous. The question is: have you availed yourself of God’s forgiveness? If you want to know how to be sure you are forgiven, please write us at reigndropsblog@gmail.com.

Until next time, God bless.

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