Has anyone ever made a comment that troubled you deeply? Such was the case two weeks ago for me. I was enrolled in a seminary course and the professor was talking about Moral Law. Moral Law, is the set of rules, spoken or unspoken, that all human beings, regardless of nationality, gender, or other variation believe to be true, and thus conduct themselves accordingly. Moral Law, for Christians, might be considered the Ten Commandments, but for a nonbeliever, Moral Law would not include the commandments that are specific to Christianity. Moral Law but would include: “Honor your father and your mother; You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (Exodus 12-16)
In class, our professor used as an example, the video of George Floyd dying beneath the weight of a police officer’s knee as a violation of the Moral “code,” he said. He went on to explain that the other offers who observed, but didn’t intervene, are also guilty of moral misbehavior because of their inaction. When he finished speaking, a student spoke up. “Sir, I believe you are acting as judge and jury on this case. All we have is, what, a 10 or 15 minute video of this situation. We don’t know the whole truth.” The professor addressed this student in an apologetic manner indicating that he didn’t mean to convict through his words. He explained that he believed the resulting international uprising was due to the fact that it wasn’t a split-second incident, but an extended, intentional act, with witnesses, cameras, and the belief that he was justified because of his badge. Nearly all human beings on the face of the earth would agree that this was wrong. In case you are wondering, the professor was White and the student was White. Also, keep reading, this post is not about racism.
At the time, I was satisfied with my professor’s response, but the question asked by my classmate has lingered on my mind. He said, “all we have is a 10 or 15 minute video - we don’t know the whole truth.” This was a seminary class. If my classmate had trouble believing an unedited video depicted the truth, how could he be saved? How could he have faith in a Lord and Savior he could not see?
In my life, I have primarily dealt with truth. My parents can attest, I didn’t play with dolls because I saw them as fake. I wrote a post about how I tend to lean towards thinking more than feeling. I cannot make my mind comprehend Star Trek (sorry to the Trekkies!) For a time, I wanted to teach Math. Math is a form of obtaining truth. We can measure or make calculations to arrive at truth. I didn’t teach Math, but I did, and still do teach Science. Science is a form of truth based on observation. It is a way of arriving at truth following the analysis of data collected from controlled scientific investigations. Science examines truth based on cause and effect correlations. Scientific truth requires evidence. We have 5 senses to help us collect truth. If we smell smoke or hear the smoke detector, even if we don’t see the fire, the truth is, fire is nearby. Children are taught if they suspect fire, to touch doors before opening them, to see if they are hot, which would be evidence of fire on the other side. We trust our senses to reveal reality.
Truth, as I define it, is reality. Truth is fact. It has been verified, calculated and checked. Truth is the result of proof or evidence. Truth can also be the result of our faith.
Another revelation of truth in Scripture are the allegories. These are the words or symbols that flow from the OT to the NT. Although the writers did not meet one another or read each other’s writing, they used common words and symbols. One allegory that stands out to me is God’s proclamation of Himself as “I am” (Ex. 3:14), then when the soldiers asked about Jesus, He responded, “I am he,” causing the soldiers to fall to the ground, (John 18:6) I assume they fell because they didn’t expect such power in His voice. They saw a man, but the man was God.
Because I believe the Bible, I even believe the unbelievable things it says happened! When I read how the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry land (Joshua 3:17), or how Joshua asked for the sun to stand still and it did (Joshua 8:12-14), I cannot understand, with the limitations of my own experience and logic, how these things could be true, but I know that I serve a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful. If I believe He created water and created the sun, then surely He can control them.
Here in our world, we are information laden! Everywhere we look there is information for us to consume. We see ads, social media comments, texts, we see data, news, video clips, movies, and Amazon shows me things I might like! My question is where do you find truth? What do you believe?
Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) If there are people who cannot believe an extended video, there most certainly are people who do not believe Jesus’s words as true. To believe His words, one must have faith.
According to the Pew Institute, “72% of Americans say they believe in heaven—defined as a place ‘where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded.’ But at the same time, 58% of U.S. adults also believe in hell—a place ‘where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished.’”
It’s Wednesday (7/22) as I am writing this post. 618,000 people on earth have died of Coronavirus, in less than a year. These people are finding out if there is a heaven or a hell. In Jesus’s reference, coming to the Father, he is speaking of heaven. He says He is the way. He says He is the truth. Do you believe Jesus’s words? Do you believe Jesus is the true Son of God who died on the cross as punishment for your sins? Do you believe it’s true that He rose on the third day and defeated death so that you too, when your earthly body dies, your soul will live on through eternity in heaven? We don’t have a video of Jesus, we have His words and His life recorded in the Gospels. We must choose to believe. If you believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then you are saved. When your earthly body dies, your soul will live on through eternity in heaven with the Father. If you don’t believe those things, you are not saved, and when your earthly body dies, you will be eternally punished. That’s the truth. Amen!
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To the reader: This is an important topic. If you are not sure if you believe or if you have been thinking about believing, but haven’t quite decided, please reach out to me or someone else who can discuss this decision with you. I heard someone say, God doesn’t have grandchildren. It’s true, every person must believe for himself. You are not saved because your mother or father believe. You must believe in your own heart. Truth. Amen.
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Thank you for reading!
Have a safe and sanitized week!