False gods

False gods 3                                                          False gods

I want to ask this question: Why put your trust in something that can do nothing for you? Put another way, why ascribe divinity to something you created with your own two hands, or your imagination or someone else’s? Isn’t this what a false god is? By the strictest definition of the word “God” anyone other than God professing to be God must be false, i.e. God is “the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe” (Dictionary.com). According to this definition then there can only be one Supreme Being and He is God; therefore, all others claiming to be the Supreme Being are false. They are false gods.

If there were more than one Supreme Being we would have to redefine the word supreme. In this case there is only room for one Supreme Being and God does not share His throne or His glory with other so-called gods. But when I titled this post I deliberately used the word “gods”, lower case, for a reason. When used this way, the word “gods” denotes something lessor than that which is supreme. In fact the Apostle Paul uses the word theos (gods) in I Cor. 8:5 which means “a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities” (Blue Letter Bible) to make this point. While theos is also used in the Greek for God, upper case, Paul makes the distinction clear when he uses the Greek word kyrios (lord) in the same verse to describe “gods” as “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord” (Blue Letter Bible), i.e. something or someone to be distinguished from the Almighty God, the Supreme God.

Theos, when linked with kyrios, does denote something that in terms of status or privilege could be construed as something with significant power or acclaim. Some men refer to other men of higher rank and societal privilege as lord or master. These lords and masters exercised power through wealth, birthright or through some achievement that sets them above their peers. Some societies have worshipped the sun, moon, stars or animals as deities because of their grandeur, spectacle or because of their lack of knowledge about the true nature of these things.

False gods 4In either case the title of master or lord ascribes some element of superiority to the object of reference and, in my mind at least, speaks volumes about how the individual values themselves. For example, if I were to bow down before the sun in worship of it I would be making a statement about not only my valuation of the sun but also about my weakness and need. I would not bow to that which serves me, but I bow and humble myself before that which I serve. In that act I am acknowledging my inferiority and the superiority of the object being worshipped. I am also acknowledging that I need something, and I am demonstrating that what I bow down to can supply that need. But in reference to deity, there is expectancy, that something can and will happen with such an exchange. If I bow down before the god of rain or the sun god or whatever deity controls the weather asking for rain so that my crops will grow, what is my expectation? I am expecting that at some point I will receive rainfall and my crops will be saved! Otherwise why waste my breath right? When I humble myself before whatever I consider to be deity there is always an expectation of some kind. I call these things false gods because they cannot deliver or produce anything to fulfil that expectation! They are theos in name only. They have no power deliver.

The Apostle Paul wrote in I Cor 8:4-7, “About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from Him, and we exist for Him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through Him, and we exist through Him. However, not everyone has this knowledge”. False gods count on our lack of knowledge for power! This is how people are enslaved. False gods lead people to believe false teachings and belief systems. These false teachings keep people locked up and bound in error and darkness. Each time you bow down before a false god you donate part of your own power and life-force to that thing. The sad part is that you get nothing back in exchange. Not so with Jesus Christ!!

There is but one God and Father. He is supreme above all else and He has manifested His power and His Will in the person of Jesus Christ. Bowing down to worship Christ is the same as worshipping the Almighty in heaven. To see Christ is to see the Father. Jesus Christ is the perfect and visible reflection of the invisible God. Submitting yourself to Christ reaps eternal life and so many other benefits. Not so with false gods!!!!

A Lie for the Truth

False ReligionA Lie for the Truth

I really have been trying not to go here but I feel compelled to. I know that in past posts I said that it wasn’t necessary to defend your faith by arguing and fighting as the world does. I still believe this to be true, but after prolonged interactions on various Google+ communities, I am flabbergasted!!! I am at a loss as to why people believe what they do about God. The ideas, the lines of thinking, the beliefs run a range too vast to really describe here! People, so many of the people I have encountered have literally chosen to believe a lie for the truth.

It could be that I have just been living in a bubble, nice and warm, convinced that there was a vast majority of people that, while not exactly synched with me concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believed certain essential core truths. Boy was I wrong! The divide is huge and as time progresses the gap is getting wider. I haven’t cornered the market on truth and in my opinion there is but one truth: Jesus Christ is Lord! Given this, I could never just accept a bold lie for the truth.

Actually I shouldn’t be surprised by this. The bible, oh by the way, there are a great many people out there that don’t hold any reverence whatsoever for the bible, describes these last days very clearly. I shouldn’t be surprised that “right” is steadily being re-defined as “wrong” and vice versa. There are no boundaries and as time progresses, the very thing that helped us hold a clear path is being undermined. If you think the bible is nothing but a bunch of fairy tales and made up stories and you still call yourself a Christian, something is very, very wrong. But to just believe a lie is the truth!!!??? As a Christian, how do you do this?

The latest argument that has my head spinning is that since the bible was written by False Religion 2sinful, fallen men, it can’t be trusted, that the mistakes that are inherent to human nature have ruined and jaded any good that could come from using the bible as an authoritative source for living in this world. I’m just old fashion. If God said it I believe it and it doesn’t matter who He used in the Holy Scriptures to convey this truth. Call me a fool but I’d rather err on the side of the Almighty than take a risk with the philosophical proclivities of fallen humanity. A lie can never be truth! Notice I didn’t say a lie cannot be true. Lies are true all the time. People spew them by the boat load but the same cannot be said for truth. Truth stands no matter what you or I do or say. Yet some would rather believe a lie for the truth because, because, because….I have no idea!

It just blows my mind but at the same time I do realize that people aren’t just going to take the bible at face value, especially when there have been countless interventions by religious bodies to shape and mold the bible to their purpose. I also acknowledge that there are some things in the bible that simply do not make sense without context, without spiritual insight, and with a modern day prism of examination. I also acknowledge that our understanding of the historical texts is impeded by modern technology which actually hinders us from seeing through the eyes and experiences of those who lived during biblical times. Yes, technology has helped us retrieve and review that which was before, but it has also dulled our spiritual eyes and ears. We hardly know how to seek Him for ourselves without assistance from the Internet!!

Given all of that, one thing endures that helps me navigate these difficulties. I have my faith so in reality I don’t need any empirical evidence to embrace the bible as true. For me a lie will never be truth. What really helps me is knowing that despite the ages, the decades and centuries that have passed, God’s Word still found me! His Word, despite the best efforts of religious organizations and bodies untold, still changed my life and opened for me the door to eternal life in Jesus Christ!! If that isn’t proof enough that the bible is real, that His Word is true, that nothing else really matters in this life as long as He is in me and I in Him, then nothing is. A lie for the truth is just a lie.

But as for me and my house…we will continue to trust and belief in the Lord God of our salvation and His Word!!!

A Reason for the Hope

Reason for the Hope

A Reason for the Hope

1 Peter 3:14–16 says:

“14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (KJV).

A more modern translation of the same reads:

“If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath” (The Message).

Or more conventionally:

“14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

I was prompted to write this post because of what I had been reading online with regard to attacks on the Christian faith. I have noticed more and more how hostile people become when they write a post confronting a believer online. They always want to know why or what is the Reason for the Hope we hold to. I’m not terribly surprised by this but it struck me for some reason how savagely some people will attack your faith. The question then is how should we respond? What is a reasonable answer for the hope we hold in our hearts?

A recurring theme by many nonbelievers, atheists in particular, is that Christians are stupid individuals, gullible, easily duped by fairy tales and made up stories. They attack with vigor the existence of the Almighty and anyone who subscribes to a belief in His presence and His gospel is a fool. Many times I have seen them attack the sanity of Christians and demand a Reason for the Hope we have in our hearts for what Jesus Christ has promised. They routinely posit that our arguments for the existence of God, our faith in Jesus Christ or our desire to follow Church teaching is based on fallacy and error, that we err because we cannot prove our case in any natural sense. They seek proofs based in science and the scientific method and when we do not offer any, they take this as a sure sign that we have not a foot to stand on.

I Peter 3:14-16 admonishes believers to be ready to respond to critics and unbelievers and to do so with humility and a meek heart. Our response should be reasoned but without malice. The essence of the passage in my opinion is that we must be ready at all times to defend why we love our Lord and why we place our hope in Him. We should be able to explain why we love Him. We should be able to say why our hope for eternal life, a better life, a happier and more fulfilled life, both now and in the hereafter, rests with Him. What is the Reason for the Hope we have?

The passage doesn’t tell us to argue with unbelievers. The passage doesn’t say that we are to fight against people in word or deed about their skepticism. We are instructed to give a Reason For the Hope we have. Here is why I think the passage tells us to give a Reason for the Hope we have or defend our hope in Christ with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:16): anger is a fear response. Anger is provoked out of weakness and insecurity neither of which should a Christian harbor if they are resting in Jesus Christ who has not given us the spirit of fear but of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). You argue and fight with someone when you only rely on yourself and you feel over matched. You don’t fear when you are confident of the outcome or when victory is already guaranteed right? So the passage is about resting in the sure knowledge of your salvation; thusly, you don’t have to fear and argue with unbelievers about this faith you have. You can respond in humility because you know what you have received and you realize what the opposition is missing out on, that God’s grace would so abound in your life as to bathe you in eternal life when you rightly deserved death and this is humbling.

So minus fear, we are free to speak of our heartfelt love for Him who first loved us. We are free to discuss the bloom in our life since coming into the truth and hearing the good news. We can give our Reason for the Hope we have in Jesus Christ in confidence. We are free to defend our right to embrace the free gift of God. Bottom line is we believe because we have a free will and God has graciously given to each of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3) so that with what little we have, we can gain all!!
So don’t take these attacks personally. You have a right to believe in God and no one can take that away from you. Share your joy with whoever asks, share your hope and love with whoever questions you, but never fear that your answer will be inadequate. There is no wrong answer to the question of why you believe in Jesus Christ!! Also remember this one last thing. I Peter 3:14-16 does not instruct us to defend God!!! The Father is more than able to defend Himself. He has that well covered I believe. All He asks of us is to share our hope with them that don’t have hope. Speak from your heart and take comfort in His grace. Your Reason for the Hope and love you have for God will be sufficient for the task.