Doubts and Certainties
While leafing idly through a student's reference book, I was struck by the inscription on the flyleaf. It read, "As long as you have any doubts whatsoever about the 'meaning of life' or the 'destiny of man' you can hold only opinions, never `truth,' - and you can never brand another man's opinions as 'false.' Be true to your own ideals, and be kind to those who differ with you."
Many people, especially young people, are coming to grips for the first time with the world of ideas, ideals, opinions, and "comparative" religions, and think in line with this inscription because they are not possessed by the great certainties that may be ours in Christ.
The believer, by definition, has received into his life the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the Truth." Having received Christ, how can we hold any truth as an "opinion," when He has set it forth in terms of Himself? In knowing Him who said, "I am the Life," how can we have any doubts about the "meaning of life"? The unbeliever cannot understand this; but the believer must grow in spiritual discernment until his attitude toward all life reflects the attitude of Christ. The gift of spiritual discernment to know what is true and what is false is perhaps the rarest of the gifts of God. It is the ability to lay every opinion alongside the Word of God. If the opinion proves level and straight by this measurement, it has passed the test and can be taken as truth. If it does not conform to this absolute, it must be rejected.
As for "the destiny of man," we know by God's Word that this, too, is fixed. If a man is out of Christ, he has no destination other than that of being out of Christ. If he is in Christ he has an advance destination - a predestination - to be conformed to the image of God's Son (Rom. 8:29). The destiny of the unsaved is to remain forever in their own self-created confusion. When a believer knows these facts he has arrived at complete truth in so many areas that there is no room for an opinion that conflicts with complete truth. The truths of God, salvation, and eternity, to mention but three, have been acknowledged as absolutes. Only where there is no direct teaching in the Word of God on any matter may we hold opinions, subject to change.
If you attempt to be true to your own ideals you will soon discover that you are not capable of doing so. No person has ever lived up to all the light that God has given him, and that is why we need the Lord Jesus Christ to redeem us and to take up His dwelling place within us. Only when He lives within us can He furnish us with increasing power to live His life. This, of course, will include being very kind to those who differ with us. We have become the servants of the Lord, "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth" (2 Tim. 2:24, 25).
In Paul’s Mars Hill address, the apostle becomes indignant with the people of Greece because of their idol worship. What can we learn about defending the truth from this passage?
If the scriptures are God’s word and all we need to know about truth is in them, can we trust the very words of scripture?
If we can trust scripture, should we use it to defend what we believe?