Posts Tagged ‘atheism’

 

“What happens to someone who professes Christ, goes to church for 30 years, serves in the church and does all sorts of good in the church and then decides they don’t believe anymore? Are they still saved?”

 

Short answer: No, scripture tells us that they were never saved to begin with and that their leaving was to show us that.

 

Long answer:

 

First, I think we need to be reminded that only the Holy Spirit can testify to the authentic faith of another believer. While we may judge the fruit of a professed believer, and correct them in love, we do not condemn unbelievers for they are condemned already as we once were.  If someone professes Christ, however, they should be held accountable to the truth as a brother or sister in the faith. If they choose to reject the Holy Spirit, then we are to treat them as an unbeliever, not condemning them, but leading them to the truth with gentleness and respect.

 

1 Tim. 3:2 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

 

Secondly, the apostle John addressed this very issue within the church in his first letter. At that time people who were in the fold had left the church in the face of persecution and to follow other teachings. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19

 

Jesus explained how this happens in his parable of the seeds recorded in Luke.
“Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:13-15 Jesus assured us that a true believer will hold fast to the end, bearing fruit with perseverance.

 

Christ, in speaking about salvation, says no one can snatch such a believer out of His hand. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29

 

We know that someone who has been saved by grace through faith is eternally sealed with the Holy Spirit. And according to John, they have assurance that Christ will keep them till the resurrection. True believers recognize and obey the voice of the Savior, seek the Wisdom of the Father and their lives testify to the Truth that they claim. As we see in 1 John, people can “play Christian” and “do church” appearing to be one of us, but never really know the Savior and later deny Him. John tells us that their leaving is an indicator to us that they were never truly one of us. In addition, many may confess Christ with their lips, but deny Him with their lives. While the heart of others may be hidden from us, the heart is never hidden from God the Father.

 

Now you might be asking, “How do I know that I’m not just “doing church” and just don’t know it?” Hmmm, sounds like a topic for next time…

This is why I tolerate the insults.

I went to the bank to withdraw $1000 from my account yesterday. I filled out the withdrawal slip and handed it to the cashier. She pecked on the computer a while and then told me that I only had $852.47 in the account. Now, we are living in a culture that says truth is relative. So she cannot really know what is really in the account. My truth is just as valid as hers. So I said, “Well that may be true for you, but not for me. Give me my $1000.”  

 

So now I have to find another bank. Apparently bankers do not like dealing with people who are out of touch with reality.

 

Is truth relative? Many people insist there are no absolutes. What do you think?

 

To explore this question of truth, perhaps I should discuss three possible sides of the issue:
1) Is truth absolute?
2) Is truth knowable?
3) Is truth exclusive?

 

Truth is absolute. Truth has been described as “telling it like it is.” If something is true, it is true for all people everywhere at all times because truth corresponds to its object. To deny absolute truth is self-defeating.

 

Truth is knowable. Truth about reality is knowable. To deny truth is knowable implies knowledge of the truth which is, once again, self-defeating.

 

Truth is exclusive. If “A” is true, then “not A” is false. Truth is not dependent on our feelings or preferences. If something is true, it is true whether we like it or not.

 


It follows then that all religions cannot be true because they teach opposites. While many religions have true beliefs, the religions themselves cannot all be true because they are mutually exclusive teaching opposites.

 

 

 

 

We know there is a moral law because:

1.                          absolutes are undeniable. Absolute moral truth is best known by our reactions not our actions.

2.                          we cant know injustice unless we know justice. You can’t know what is wrong unless you know what is right. The reason we know whether a map of Australia is accurate or true is because we have an absolute standard (the country of Australia) by which to measure.

3.                          real moral disagreements imply an objective moral standard. We can debate map A verses map B of Australia, because we have a real unchanging standard to compare them. Without a real unchanging standard of good the difference between Mother Theresa and Hitler is nothing more than a matter of opinion.

4.                          we would not make excuses for doing wrong if there was no moral law. What is the point?

5.                          we wouldn’t know the world was getting worse or better if there was no moral law. Secular humanist love to tell us that the world is so much worse because of religion. How do they know what worse is if they deny a standard of good?

6.                          there would be no human rights without the moral law. There would be no way to judge the Nazis, Saddam Hussein, or other war criminals without a standard beyond government or international law.

 

What would you say to a friend who claimed that the Christian God doesn’t exist because there’s too much evil in the world?

One approach is to respond with a question, “How do you know what evil is?” Some say we learn right and wrong from our parents. Really? So when your son took a toy from your toddler, you had a lesson on property rights before she screamed in protest? And you taught your son how to lie before he came up with an excuse as to why he wasn’t violating these moral laws. We have a conscience so we instinctively know the moral law, we do not need to be taught these things.

We know there is a moral law because moral absolutes exist. Morality is not relative, if it were your morality would be right, mine would be right, there would be no standard by which to judge one behavior to be objectionable and another to be valued. The difference between Hitler and Mother Theresa would only be a matter of opinion. In order for you to judge one behavior right and another wrong a moral absolute standard must exist. If a conscience or moral law exists, then a moral law provider, someone outside of the prescribed standard must exist. Christians call this moral law provider God.

While God did not make evil He did allow evil to exist. When He created the heavens and the earth He declared it all to be good. Part of the goodness was giving some of His creatures free will. Because forced love is not love anymore than forced obedience is willful obedience. We are not robots, we have a choice to love or hate, to obey or rebel.

The evil you see in the world is the result of people living in opposition to the moral standard they know they ought to obey. We all violate the moral law to some degree bringing judgment upon ourselves. Because God is good and just, He must judge law breakers. But Christ paid our fine and took our punishment providing forgiveness and a way to become righteous, free from our transgression. Christianity is the only world religion that provides a Savior, that is Jesus.