How Much Evidence is Enough?

Hollywood’s influences extend quite far into the lives of North Americans, judging by the amount of conversation generated from show biz trends, talk-shows, sitcoms and movies. The television industry is never the best source of information, even when they try to imitate real life. Much too often its version of life issues and events are found to be fictitious and fraudulent. It was with great interest then that I watched a particular scene in a movie called The Case for Christ. An investigative journalist becomes a believer after seeking to disprove the Bible. At one point in Lee Strobel’s two year quest to rebut the reliability of the Bible, he had asked a known historian classical scholar about the authenticity of the New Testament. His answer left him dumbfounded. That with 24,000 manuscripts that reach a mile high, that it surpassed the known quantity of evidence for the ancient philosophers who had a combined total of no more than four feet in height! Not so surprisingly our skeptic reporter became disheartened. Sometimes it is not as much about the supporting evidence that is required, as much as it is about our refusal to believe, regardless of the mountain of evidence before us. Later as Lee continued his attempts to disprove the Scriptures, whether over the death of Christ, real or feigned, or those that witness the resurrection, mass hypnosis or Christ truly came back from the dead, the testimony was just as conclusive.

The issue is not really about more evidence, definitive as it may be in this case. There is ample evidence if we wish to accept objective fact. Truth is, we are not objective at all. In our fallen nature, we have no appetite for spiritual truth. In our unregenerate condition our loyalties rest with the devil. We seek sin’s pleasure and look to justify our existence somehow, anyhow, if it means not having to put our trust in Christ, whom the Prophets, Moses and the Scriptures have spoken of (see Luke 24:27). So where does this leave us?

It leaves us in the worst possible condition that we can find ourselves! We are lost and not wanting to be found. Dying and not seeking any resolution to our sin problem. Suppose you were in Lee Strobel’s shoes what would you do at the point of discovery when you learn it is in your heart and not the Bible where the fault lies. Would you turn to Christ in faith and repentance? Keep in mind that our unbelieving hearts are not reliable. We cannot approach the Scriptures with the idea that all we need is more evidence and then the light of reason will come on in our thinking. Lee Strobel became a Christian but only after admitting defeat. God’s Word had skewed any of his attempts to prove Him wrong and scaled away his spiritual blindness in the process with the very truth Lee was trying to refute. God had been working in Lee’s heart behind the scene the whole time that Lee was trying to win out over truth. In the end he lost the battle. He admitted that and confessed his sins and turned from being an Atheist to a Believer! Lee had attempted to prove God wrong only to have the same truths that were under attack save Lee from his own disbelief. Now He is one of God’s most avid supporters, lecturing and writing about the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

This Easter will you consider Christ`s claims about being the Savior? Will you submit your life to Christ that the Scriptures teach to be the Son of God? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself the truths that you may have had some serious doubts about in the past, or even held in derision. You might be surprised at what you learn about your own heart and about the claims of Christ.

Hope you have had a blessed Easter!

Chains of Righeousness

The case of original sin is becoming a hard sell these days. Yet the Bible is very specific about our starting point and though it began well in the Garden of Eden, our early ancestors sinned and from that point onward all men have shared in that sin nature. Difficult as it may be for some to admit, the trouble in this world is due to sin’s effects on the human race. Too bad, though, because the sooner we accept it, the better we can deal with it. Instead, mankind looks for ways to excuse, justify and ignore sin, ever deepening the misery and despair that plagues our world.

Paul divides the lives of men in Romans six into two groups: servants of sin, and of righteousness. It is pointless to look for a way out for Paul dogmatically says “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one which you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? The question mark at the end of the sentence is intended. Paul’s use of rhetoric is meant to emphasize a point, to get us thinking about who it is we serve. The question is asked with the asker already knowing the answer. Paul wishes to settle the idea of loyalties. If you profess to be a Christian, you have no business living in sin. Our emancipation from sin came at Calvary where Christ paid the price for us. No more penalty awaits us, we have been given our freedom. When we were kids we would divide up into teams at a construction site. A puddle of water layed at the base halfway between two mounds. Poised on the mounds both sides took their positions. Soon a hail of rocks and boulders flew down from both directions splashing water on each other. When we returned home that night we all had the same wet muddy look. From a spiritual view, slaves to sin are stained in sin, corruption and guilt, while Christians on the other hand, are to be holy, unspotted and free from the corruption in the world. It is because we have a different Master that we should bear a likeness to his holy character. Our appearance is altogether different than those in the world.

The change in Masters from sin to righteousness means we serve a gracious kind, merciful God. Like Himself, the Christian life should be marked by holiness, that is what Paul drives at in the whole of Romans six. Our thoughts and actions should bear comparison to that of our Savior’s. Our role changes from the old life because our lives are now managed by Christ, and no longer are we under the tyranny of sin. We should be cognitive of this fact. When she was young, Victoria, the future queen of England, was shielded from that fact so that the knowledge of it would not spoil her. When her teacher finally did let her discover for herself that she would one day rule as queen, Victoria’s response was, “Then I will be good!” Her life from that point was controlled by her future position. She would be the queen, so she acted as a queen should act (Adapted from Warren Wiersbe, Be Rich [Victor Books], pp.13-14.) Christians need to live holy. Having been saved from sin’s penalty and power, and placed under divine ownership, our position means we are to live a life consistent with His Holiness.