In the previous two THOUGHTS I have sought to lay out a logical argument of what is necessary if man is to enjoy a perfect world. The first THOUGHT concluded in the necessity of one’s belief in the existence of God as the foundation of everything. In last week’s THOUGHT I examined where the battle rages in today’s world that fights against the existence of God as well as His attributes and activity. With this THOUGHT I want to consider the outcome of these battles and how one can have victory in them.
If a perfect world rests upon the foundation of the existence of God, then the recognition of God as being active in one’s life is the first battle that must be won. As I noted last week, man may not be a theoretical atheist but a practical atheist. The practical atheist posits the possibility of the existence of God, but denies the activity of God in the affairs of life. It’s very difficult for man to deny the existence of God. I heard a story of a man who gave testimony at an atheist’s convention, standing up and saying, “I’ve finally gotten rid of the idea of a supreme being and I thank God for it!” God is always working in the affairs of the world accomplishing His ultimate purposes. Our task is to recognize it.
But simply recognizing the existence of God is not sufficient in bringing peace to the world. Satan and his angels recognize God’s existence but refuse to submit to His authority. In order for man to submit to the authority of God, God must declare what His will is for man. This He has done. But some will say that there are numerous religious books that declare what God says man should do. How can anyone know which one is correct? The answer is really simple. If God is a God of truth, then what He has declared must be factually correct (inerrant) and always accomplish what is declared in it (infallible). Space will not allow for documentation, but there is only one book that meets these two qualifications. If anyone is to submit to the authority of God, it is absolutely necessary to know who God is and what He requires of man. Our task then, is to know the will of God.
But even there a battle exists. Within those who recognize the authority of Scripture a debate rages as to what exactly the Bible teaches. There will always be difficult things to understand until the Lord returns. But most things are as plain as day if one is willing to prayerfully and studiously search the Scriptures for truth. To the degree that one is able to understand the teaching of Scripture, one will be able to enjoy the blessing of God and the peace that results from it. Our task then, is to study the Word of God.
But, once again another battle begins. The book of James instructs believers to be doers of the word and not simply hearers. The apostle Paul stated that he recognized that this too is a battle, saying that the things he knows he should not be doing he finds himself doing and the things he knows to do, he neglects (Romans 7:19). Noah did not find peace by simply knowing that a judgment from God was coming, but found peace by building an ark by God’s design and entering it just prior to that promised judgment. Our task then, is to do what the Bible declares to be God’s will.
All these battles can be won. I can say that with certainty because I’ve been on the battlefield and experienced the victories. For the first twenty-six years of my life I was a practical atheist. I respectfully acknowledged the existence of God, but apart for an hour on some Sunday mornings, I lived as if He didn’t exist. But while having no peace in my life, I heard from a friend how that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It didn’t take much argumentation to convince me that this was true of me. Then I heard that the punishment for sin was death (Romans 6:23). I always thought that if I could do enough good things that the value of those accomplishments would outweigh the penalty of my sin. But I was never sure if I had done enough good things and so I had no peace. But then I heard that Jesus Christ died for my sins and took my punishment and paid it in full on the cross of Calvary (1 Peter 2:24). On a Monday night in August of 1981, I trusted Jesus Christ to save me from my sin and being justified by faith, I had peace with God (Romans 5:1). In the 35 years that have transpired since then, I have sought to understand the Word of God and obey it. In doing so, I have experienced a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). While my peace is an incomplete peace (I still disobey and there is still a lot more to learn of God’s will for me) I have the absolute assurance of a perfect peace that is yet to come when my life is over. My prayer is that you will enjoy the same peace.