KNOWING WHAT YOU BELIEVE WITH ASSURANCE
by John Clark
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In today's culture and time of spiritual apostasy, we must know what we believe. If we do not, we run the risk of being "tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness and deceitful scheming." (Ephesians 4:19) There are many "winds of doctrine" vying for our attention and allegiance. Human philosophies, religious cults, New Age thinking, Islam, Harry Potter, astrology, evolution, feel-good theology, prosperity theology, Oprah Winfrey, and the list could go on and on of people or organizations which are bombarding the culture seeking you and me as their audience.
On a recent television program, statements were made by an individual who claimed to be a Christian, but what was said was a clear expression of New Age thinking. One cannot be both. This is just one example of how confused some people are about what they believe, and what they base their beliefs on. (See my article entitled: "WHY DID JESUS COME TO EARTH?")
The issues of life, and particularly one's eternal destiny, should not be based upon a human philosophy, or worse, someone's opinion. Some cults or beliefs are based on the teachings of guru's, idols, or other "leaders' who are now dead and gone. Many people seem to be confused about what they believe.
The Christian faith, however, is based upon the truth of the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus. I Corinthians 15 tells us that without the resurrection preaching and one's faith is in vain, it is worthless, and we are still in our sins. So what, you ask, makes the Bible THE source of truth, above all other teachings? There is a lot that could be said for making a strong case for this and for divine inspiration, but I will mention just 3 significant points:
1. The way the entire Old and New Testament came together over thousands of years by many different authors, while at the same time, having common themes running throughout, is nothing short of divine inspiration. How else can it be explained?
2. There are dozens of prophecies given in the Old Testament thousands of years ago which have been fulfilled literally to the exact detail, some of which are being fulfilled right now in our current world events.
3. The Bible itself says that it is divinely inspired, in II Peter 1:20-21 and II Timothy 3:16. The Bible cannot lie about itself!
If anyone comes to me with a doctrine contrary to what the Bible teaches, the first thing I will ask them is, "What is the source of your beliefs?"
With all of this said, there are things the Bible says you can know for sure with assurance. Here are some of the following beliefs:
You can have forgiveness of your sins. Psalm 130:4
You can have hope. John 14:1-3
You can have peace with passes human understanding. Philippians 4:7
You can have joy and happiness not dependent upon outward circumstances. I John 1:4
You can experience love and acceptance. Romans 5:8
You can experience divine healing. James 5:15
You can know that God has a plan for your life. John 10:10
You do not have to be overpowered by sin, temptation, or addictions. Romans 6:6, and I Corinthians 10:13
You can go to God in prayer at any time. Hebrews 4:16
You can see the power and grace of God at work in your life. John 1:14
The bottom line is this:
Are you going to trust your life and eternal destiny to dead idols and guru's, or to a living, resurrected Jesus?
Are you going to stake your life on human philosophies or divine inspiration?
"And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that YOU MAY KNOW that you have eternal life." (emphasis mine) I John 5:11-13.
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