Saturday, April 13, 2024

To the point


One of the astounding single sentences in the New Testament puts it:  IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH: JESUS IS LORD AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED.  (Rom 10:9)


The one that thing that matters above everything else is that Jesus rose from the dead.  You can believe all sorts of religious things: that God made this world.  Things about God – about his benevolence and how heaven might work out in the end.  Many people speak about their faith. How it matters to them when times are tough. And sometimes they have constructed that 'faith' themselves. The truth is that Christian faith has one essential as its foundation - that God raised him from the dead. 

When Scripture says heart, it means your thinking HQ. It’s to do with IQ your intelligence, your EI emotional intelligence, even IT intelligence about all things digital (like my grandchildren have!)  Yet what counts most for the 'heart's' understanding, a vital extra dimension, is SW. Spiritual Wisdom, which works in a completely different dimension to worldly wisdom. As the apostle Paul puts it (1 Cor 2:13) when we are thinking God thoughts it's not human wisdom but spiritual wisdom. Human wisdom thinks spiritual wisdom is nonsense, foolishness.  Human wisdom doesn’t get it! It’s been called transrational wisdom, bigger than our comprehension. It’s  spiritual truth. God desires us to grasp it by faith and so gain spiritual conviction as you allow God’s spirit to work in your heart. To open up to the possibility of a spiritual realm where God is real and prayer works! 

There can be great tension between human wisdom and spiritual wisdom. We are always growing. When I  was baptized in my early teens I belonged to a red-hot youth group, involved in preaching, open air work, giving out Victory tracts. But when we moved to Cambridge and I went to sixth form college I was faced with hostility which stoked problems. Especially about the resurrection. A form teacher ridiculed intelligent people accepting this and others in the class laughed at my gullibility I really doubted. I had to work hard with God, to read, pray, share with others.  I had to learn the lesson  that I was trapped in human wisdom. I had to know that believing in my heart means being open to God and to his truth, and to living with other transformed Christians.  When I came through, God's Easter truth deepened and transformed me. It vindicated all Jesus' actions and promises. 

Because if Jesus rose from the dead it’s true that Jesus is who he says he is;…God’s son.

It’s true he was born in Bethlehem to live among us

It’s true he taught about God being his father, our father, and His love is at the centre of the universe. 

It’s true that he died on a cross to bear away our sin – and that we can be completely forgiven

It’s true when we stand behind the coffin of someone we loved deeply – there is resurrection beyond.

It’s true that he is forming a family of people who live differently together because he lives with them.

 He’s alive.  Once and for all God has revealed himself and acted decisively for us. He has won a new future in ways we shall never comprehend this side of heaven. 

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