Custom Made – Part 2

Custom made spirituality. Sounds fair enough? Live and let live? Believe what you want? Understandable, but unworkable. If I started believing that people who hold a different view to mine are dangerous and should be eradicated, then I’d no longer be allowed to practise my beliefs. So the modifications come: believe what you want and live how you like, as long as you don’t hurt anyone (and who’s to say who’s right anyway, etc., etc.). Trouble is, the person who sets the rules ends up playing God and often wants to arbitrarily decide what does and doesn’t hurt people with great self-suiting inconsistency.

The only way some people will really be convinced that the God of the Bible is the only final authority is to go past proving beyond reasonable doubt that He exists and to prove it beyond all doubt. And that can never be done. And that’s why the Bible says that “faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It never pretends to be an exact textbook of science, or history or any other discipline. It simply gives us the word of the only one who was there at the beginning of time and asks us to accept it. But just as our rational minds can settle for evidence beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law, can we not also accept such evidence in matters of faith?

The clincher of an argument – seeing God at work, changing lives, healing the sick, performing miracles – is still dismissed by some people as good outcomes possible with any spirituality. To attribute them to the God of the Bible is simply because of the accident of being born in a Christian nation. Well…no. The God of the Bible is universally credited with far, far greater numbers of miraculous happenings (and this may partly account for the fact that it outnumbers any other world religion by a street). I guess people will explain anything away unless their life is personally arrested in their tracks and changed by God. But He doesn’t work this way because He doesn’t override our free will. And He doesn’t dance to our tune. We find Him in humility and come to Him on His terms, terms that we need to discover, but terms which are easy and which promise access to Him as a free gift and not as something to be earned. That’s why Jesus will continue either to offend or be misunderstood.  When we take Him on face value as the Gospels present Him, He requires nothing short of total life surrender…and that’s a big call.

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