My new book, Bless-ed! Fifty-Two Weekly Blessings You Have as a Believer and How to Help Your Lost Friends Find Theirs is now available on Amazon here. I have copies if you are interested. I will send you a copy for $10 (which includes shipping). Here’s Blessing #52 in Bless-ed:
BLESSING #52: The Blessing of Certainty!
“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” (Vincent Van Gogh)
There is a blessing which believers have which drives some unbelievers crazy! But I’ve never felt that the emotional or mental state of my lost friends should cause me to deny one of Christianity’s greatest gifts. Let’s think about this wonderful blessing that we have. We who follow Jesus —
52. WE HAVE THE BLESSING OF CERTAINTY!
THE BLESSING There have been some strong opinions expressed against this truth. One writer says, “One of the few certainties in life is that persons of certainty should certainly be avoided.” Hmm. I guess that includes him.
Another expressed her perspective: “Certainty is a cruel mindset. It hardens our minds against possibility.” (Ellen Langer). Bertrand Russell — the philosopher who wrote “Why I Am Not a Christian” — said, “The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice.” [Do I detect a tone of certainty in his statement?]
But every day we live by faith combined with a form of certainty, right? We don’t have to lab test the food we’ve just ordered from McDonald’s, do we? We trust that no one has poisoned our lunch. We may not realize it, but whenever we step on an elevator we are fairly certain that its cables will not suddenly snap and send us to the hereafter. When a family member says they love us, we’re pretty sure we can take them at their word.
THE BIBLE But what is the certainty that is our blessing? We are not talking about mathematical or scientific certainty, arrived at by specific steps or well-defined experiments. No, life is more than a test tube. Our certainty is the highest degree of probability that what we believe is worth believing.
God’s Word has much to say about certainty. Granted that particular word isn’t used that often, but the biblical promise is that we may know particular truths without questions which drag us down into doubt. Here are some representative certainty statements from the epistle of 1 John:
1. There is abundant empirical evidence for believing in Jesus Christ (1:1- 4).
2. We can know for sure that we have come to know God (2:3, 13, 14; 3:24).
3. We know the truth (2:20). We know that we belong to the truth (3:19). And we know what love is (3:16).
4. We know it is the last hour (2:18).
5. We know we are the children of God (3:1). And we know who the children of the devil are (3:10).
6. We know who has been born of Him (2:29). We know that we have passed from death to life (3:14). We know that we have eternal life (5:13).
7. We know that God listens to us (4:6).
One may read 1 John and see many additional statements of certainty that do not begin with the words “we know.”
1. Those who resist Christianity’s truth claims do so from their own worldview. Read over Acts 17 (Paul’s engagement with five groups at Mars Hill) and make a few notes on his evangelistic approach. At what points does he express his certainty in Jesus as the Savior?
2. In his book The Myth of Certainty, Daniel Taylor challenges doubting Christians, arguing that doubts are a normal and healthy part of the Christian life. Taylor says in effect, “Don’t leave your church and Christianity simply because you have doubts. Instead, embrace your doubts, live with your doubts, be satisfied with probable truth.”88 Consider reading Taylor’s book. Do you agree with Taylor? Why or why not?
3. Read one of Os Guinness’ books, either In Two Minds: The Dilemma of Doubt and How to Resolve It or God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt. Guinness does a nice job of explaining the meanings of “faith”, “doubt”, and “unbelief.” Take some notes on either book and discuss it with a friend.
4. PRAYER Pray that your confidence in the truth of the gospel is noticed by your unsaved friend. If it comes up in conversation, ask your friend what evidences he thinks he needs to believe the gospel.
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