All That Really Matters<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
There are many reasons why I have no doubt that the Bible is the Word of God. There are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, as well as many scientific and medical facts in the Bible, written thousands of years before man discovered them. But they aren't the main reason I believe that the Bible is the revelation of the Creator's will.
I was converted to Christianity in the early hours of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />April 25, 1972. I was dumbfounded at what happened to me that night. However, the amazement didn't stop then. Over the following days the Bible actually told me of my experience. It was like an instruction book that described what would happen to an appliance after the power was switched on. I felt like I was a completely new person. It wasn't simply a change of mind, or a change of lifestyle; the transformation was deep within my heart. I was astounded that I had radically new desires. In my 22 years of life I hadn't given the ways of God a serious thought for five seconds. Suddenly, it was all I thought about. Then I picked up a Bible and read 2 Corinthians 5:17: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." It seemed as if I had been "born again." Then I read in Scripture about the new birth. I read that God would write His Law upon the heart and "cause" me to walk in His statutes. I would normally listen to music in my car, but instead I found myself turning the radio off because I had a peace I couldn't understand and an inexpressible joy. Then I read in Scripture of a peace that passes all understanding, and joy unspeakable.
However, my salvation wasn't dependent on my belief in the Bible, but on the fact that I had come to trust in the Savior. To understand this more clearly, let's go back to the year 40 A.D. You have heard the message of salvation preached to you. You didn't read about it in the New Testament because it isn't yet compiled. Besides, there is no printing press to make the Scriptures readily available and, like most people around you, you can't read. You simply heard through the foolishness of preaching that you had broken God's Law, that Jesus died to save you from the coming wrath, and that you must repent and trust in Him. So you then called upon the name of Jesus Christ.
So, are you any less saved than a twenty-first-century Christian who has been born in the printing age, has access to a New Testament, and can read? No. Your salvation isn't dependent on your believing the Bible, but on your relationship with the Savior. It is important to understand this, because it will save you from feeling that you have to become an expert in biblical apologetics before you can talk to someone about Christ.
I believe the Bible not only because it told me of my experience in Christ, but because it is the only book that addresses the problem of my sinful heart. It describes the origin of sin, the reason for my guilt, the necessity of atonement, the provision for my forgiveness, and absolute assurance of everlasting life.
Let's say that you are sitting on a plane. I convince you that you have to jump at any moment. You see your great danger and put on a parachute. At that point you are saved from the jump. That problem is totally dealt with. You have the parachute on, and that's all you need. I then hand you the emergency card from the seat pocket so that you can become further informed about the plane. You look closely at it. It shows you the exits. It reveals the locations of the oxygen masks. It describes where to find the parachute and how to put it on. It even points out a red whistle and the placement of the bright green ripcord.
Everything on the card matches your experience, right down to the red whistle. That convinces you that the card you are holding is the right card for this plane and that it was put there by the plane owners.
Let's say you see something on the card that doesn't make sense. It states that the carpet is red, when it's actually blue. Are you going to rip the parachute off? Of course not! That would be a stupid thing to do. The fact that you don't understand everything on the card has nothing to do with the reality that you're going to have to jump out of the airplane. You are wearing the parachute, and that's all that really matters.
Now think of someone on the plane who is not wearing a parachute. He studies the emergency card and reads that the stated carpet color is different than the one on his plane, so he concludes that the card isn't valid. Because of this seeming discrepancy, he decides to reject the offer of a parachute. Think of his plight-he is in great danger. If you pick up the card and try to convince him that the color of the carpet doesn't matter, you are wasting precious time. And you have a better way to persuade him. You simply point him out the window and show him the 25,000-foot drop. You describe the law of gravity and what it will do to his frail body if he hits the ground at 120 mph. You make him sweat. When he looks at you with fear in his eyes, you tell him about the parachute that will save him. Once he has it on, you can discuss the color of the carpet to your heart's content. Any other information on the card that doesn't immediately make sense to him will be no big deal. All that really matters is that he is wearing the parachute. That's what's important.
Many people spend years fretting about the "color of the carpet." They hear about some supposed contradiction in the Bible, and they let it keep them from the saving power of the cross of Christ. There are even some Christians who spend a lot of time worrying over things like this, but I have no concerns at all when I see something I don't understand. It's no big deal. Think of the disciples when they heard Jesus say that they should eat His flesh and drink His blood. Such a thought is repulsive, as it was to seventy of His followers. They were offended and left. Jesus then turned to those who remained and asked if they would leave Him also. Peter summed it up for all of us: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).
So, the next time you find something in the Bible that confuses you, don't even think of taking the parachute off just because you don't understand something on the card in the seat pocket. What matters is that you have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is your salvation. He is your life: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11,12).
If you don't understand something in the Bible, that doesn't matter. Trust Jesus anyway. Cling tighter to Him. Make sure of your own salvation, and then take a long look around you at the millions who are unsaved. You have a job to do.
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