Chapter 14 - For Those who Question

For Those Who Question

One can know God

Why believe anything the Bible says? Is it not just a book of Jewish myths?

Indeed, how can anyone really believe in God? Don’t we all live a life without really knowing whether God is there or not? God is invisible, intangible and silent. How can anyone believe that He exists?

These are valid questions and they deserve answers.

There are, of course, volumes written both for and against the validity and the truth of scripture. But most people do not read them before they come to believe that the Bible is true. There are many more volumes written about the existence or the non-existence of God, but practically no one bothers to read them before making a decision for Christ. How can anyone make a rational decision about God?

The answer is quite simple. They try it. Books don’t help. Being religious does not help. Pretending to believe does not help. Only God can show you that He is real. And if He doesn’t, you will simply never know. It is as simple and as terrible as that.

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.1

But if God is God, then He is perfectly capable of making Himself known in no uncertain terms to anyone and everyone - and known in such a way that it is clear that the knowledge of Him is actual and not simply an intellectual conclusion or a psychological “crutch” constructed by a needy mind.

So, why does He not make Himself actually known? The answer is that He does make Himself known. That is the reason that there are so many committed Christians.

But it is by invitation only. He issues the invitation, and we must accept it. If we don’t accept the invitation, we can’t go to the party.

The invitation is issued to all.2 So you are invited. You may choose to accept the invitation or you may decline it. Your choice - it is always your choice.

What must you do to accept the invitation? First the acceptance of the invitation must be sincere, because if God is God, He is going to know your heart. You must, in good faith, intend to accept the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ. You must mean what you say to Him (there are no magic words here). And all the faith that is necessary is the faith to trust in Jesus Christ sincerely for the forgiveness of all sin, even though you are really not sure He is even there.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.3

Note that this scripture does not say to trust in Him because you a certain, or because you just believe, or because someone told you to trust. It says to be sincere; trust "with all your heart."

One does not know God and then trust in Christ. One trusts in Christ in order to know God. Knowing God comes as a result of trusting, not vice versa. You don't look for and find God like finding a lost car-key. You don't find God. God finds you. So, don't expect to know God or really anything about Him until you come to Christ. You can't know Him until He discloses Himself to you.

Don't fall for the lie that tells you that this act of faith is "intellectually impossible" or that it is somehow a "violation of who you really are" or that it is simply "unreasonable." If you sincerely trust in Christ for the forgiveness of all sin and that trust is foolishness, then you have lost nothing. But if you fail to trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all sin and it is not foolishness then you have lost everything.

When Christ was sacrificed on the cross, He paid for all of our sins (past, present and future). He was later resurrected demonstrating that His sacrifice was effective and that the penalty for sin had been paid.4

We become forgiven and sinless in God’s eyes when we appropriate the work of Christ on the Cross by our decision to rely upon what He did there for us. That is absolutely all we have to do to be cleansed from sin. There is no penance to pay (He paid it all), no hail-Mary’s, no priest, no preacher, no confessor. Just you and Him:

Believe [trust] on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.5

And we must all be cleansed from sin in order to become someone to whom God will disclose Himself. That cleansing occurs when we come to Christ.

So, to accept the invitation all you have to do is to honestly trust in Jesus Christ. You don't have to know that it is true in order to try it. One can know that God is real only after God discloses Himself.6

Knowing Him is the gift of eternal life:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.7

So, after you have trusted in Christ (salvation), when does He disclose Himself to you?

He discloses Himself to you when you yield your will to His and obey His word.

He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.8

If a man love Me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.9

God’s gift of eternal life comes when you trust in Christ. This is the gift of salvation and it is an unconditional free gift, free for the asking. But knowing God - having Him disclose Himself to you - is conditional. It is conditioned on how much you have yielded to Him, or how you intend to live your life conforming to His Word. If you surrender your will to Christ, He will disclose Himself to you. When He discloses Himself to you, you will love Him and discover that all that you never believed was true really is true.

If you do not obey His word, He will not make Himself known to you. Why? Because God does not dwell with those who are willfully and intentionally committing sin.

This presence of God is not theoretical, it is actual and it is experienced. This the reason why so many people tell of their salvation and remain Christians all of their lives. This is “knowing” God,10 not just believing in God. Simply believing that God exists is of no consequence whatever.11 Everything turns on whether we have actually trusted Christ and whether we actually know Him; nothing turns on your opinion as to whether God exists or not.

So, the “formula” here is to trust and obey. It is not necessary to prove yourself or perfect yourself before God discloses Himself to you. What is important is to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and sincerely surrender to His will. After you do that, He will disclose Himself to you and empower you to turn from sin. He will show you and you will understand. He will show Himself to you just as He has shown all the others who did the same thing over the past two millenniums.

Christians are not Christians because they liked a particular set of rules or chose particular brand of theology. They are not Christians because they like the idea of a sacrificial Saviour or because they just like the way the Bible set everything up. Most of them never read the Bible and had no idea of what it says. They are Christians because they decided to trust in Christ, discovered the presence of God and found it to be wonderful. In short, they are Christians because they tried something and it proved to be true.

To the Atheist

To the avowed atheist, let me say that you may be far closer to the Truth than you realize because you are uncompromising and you are honest with yourself. You refuse to engage with an imaginary theological construct for the purpose of creating some type of artificial mental repose (theological liberalism). My hat is off to you. You demand experiential reality.

But if what I am saying is true, then that same uncompromising demand for truth should take you to the point where you try it. We all live a life of borders and one of them is the border of reason and observation that encloses the atheist. But my friend, you will never know where the border really is until to walk beyond it.

This is my challenge. You claim to be rational but in fact your decision not to try Christ is irrational. It is irrational not to make a decision to place your trust in Christ’s forgiveness and to surrender to His will if He will disclose Himself to you. It is irrational not to try.

If there is no God, then nothing will occur following your leap into faith and you have lost nothing. That tired old argument that simply trying is somehow a breach of your personal honor is, well, irrational because you lose nothing and prove me wrong at the same time.

Quite frankly, if you do have the courage to walk beyond the border of your own reason just to see if there is anything there, you will be in for quite a surprise. It certainly surprised me.

1. First John 5:12

2. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

3. Jeremiah 29:13

4. This is called the “gospel,” or “good news.”

5. Acts 16:31. The words “believe on” mean to “trust in.”

6. John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself [show myself] to him.”

7. John 17:3

8. John 14:21

9. John 14:23

10. John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God... "

11. James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”