Tonight I got a chance to take a look through my buddy Jim Ford’s new telescope. I’ve never had the occasion to do that before. It was extremely cool. Jim pressed a few buttons on the telescope’s internal GPS and after some whirring and clicking, the telescope focused on Saturn, some 834,000,000 miles away (give or take). For a moment, it was just a bright point of light in the night sky but in a few seconds, the telescope brought Saturn into clear view. Throughout the next 30 minutes or so, I saw a couple of satellites pass by , saw the red glow of Mars and truly enjoyed God’s handiwork in the heavenlies.
The telescope was able to bring far away Saturn into focus. We could see its rings and even one of the moons. It’s been right there since creation…I’ve seen pictures in books…but discovering it for myself last night was an amazing moment.
As a believer…I’m all about people discovering Jesus for themselves. He too has been there all along, even before creation. Man’s attempt at finding Jesus or God or the creator has lead to what many would call “religion.” A “man-made” attempt to reach God by the performance of a set of rules. As many have found…religion is loveless and empty. And it has one major flaw. There is nothing we can do to earn a relationship with God. We come to God by grace through faith alone. It’s all about accepting a gift from God that is freely given.
A few days ago I heard a “conversation” (read that: sermon) by Andy Stanley, lead pastor of North Point church in Georgia, It turned out to be quite controversial for some. In his “conversation” he talked about some people’s struggle with God because of the Bible. Many people struggle with how the Bible got here. It’s validity, authenticity and inerrancy, infallibility. And while it is true that the growth of Christianity did explode prior to the Bible being written…the Bible is the only book today that brings Jesus into focus for many still far away from him.
I know where Andy was going with all this. But I think we need to be careful if we attempt to disconnect the Bible from God and Theology simply to address the concerns of people far from God or even those who once were close to him but are moving away…even if we mean it for their good. People far from God (people who don’t have a personal relationship) are unable to discern the things of God. People need a clear message of how much God loves them and the sacrifice that was made by Jesus for them as found in the Bible. We never have to defend or make excuses for the Bible. It stands on it’s own as God’s holy, written word. And I for one, stand with it.
Not everyone will accept the message of salvation, the forgiveness of sin, found in the Bible…but the message is meant for everyone.
“He (God) was not willing that any should perish (go to Hell) but that all would come to repentance (find forgiveness of sin and go to Heaven)
We are never going to convince people who are struggling with God and Christianity with any argument that we can present. We can’t convince them that Christianity is true or that it is right for them. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. But we can present the truth of Scripture time and time again…and let the promise of God’s word do it’s work. The promise goes like this in Isaiah 55:11…So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Today we have the Bible…God’s word. Today all God’s revealed truth lies within it’s pages. It stands on its own. It is true, relevant and prophetic. It tells of amazing grace that is ours… freely given.
I find it interesting that we will pick up a magazine or book to learn something of diminishing value at best…but read the Bible to learn of eternal value? Talk about reading the Bible as God’s revealed will for his creation? C’mon! That’s just nuts!
Well…maybe to some. But to millions of us…it has been what God used to draw us to himself and what He still uses to keep us close.