What Do You Believe?

 By Greg Quinn

April 23rd, 2008

 We live in a day where one's belief is tested daily.  More so than probably any time in history, mankind is in a quandary regarding what one should believe, and so many convincing choices as to what one should believe.  One says they believe in God of the Bible.  One says they believe in God but not in Jesus.  One says they believe in the Koran, or the Talmud, or other writings.  One may believe that Mohammed will open the doors to Heaven.  One may believe in the teachings of an oriental fat man named Buddha.  Another may believe only in what man can attain, that there is no god.  One believes in life after death; another believes that when we die thatís it.  One may believe that we can intellectualize God; another believes that only through faith in God Himself can we see God.  One may believe that money paves the way to God; another may believe that poverty shows godliness.  One may believe that there is no Hell and that a loving God will take all people to Heaven, and another may believe that only through the sacrifice of Godís son Jesus can one attain life ever after in Heaven.  And, regardless of ones beliefs, we live in a day where the essence of these beliefs are daily put to the test, so that many say they believe one way or another, but their actions speak otherwise. 

 Oftentimes, we are persuaded to believe one way or another by the flamboyance of a personality.  This can be dangerous.  History teaches of very persuasive people leading many down the wrong path.  The prophet Mohammed teaches his followers that it is OK to kill the unbeliever, and that murderous acts with the right intentions will lead one to Heaven.  A guy named Jones convinced some followers to drink Kool-Aid and die for his beliefs.  Charles Manson turned loyal followers into killers.  The Bible and our history books tell of many instances where the influence of popular people (popular in a large or small fashion) have lead many to their doom.  So, it is imperative that people know what they believe, why they believe it, and have a strong foundation of truth upon which to build and test their beliefs.  Belief is much more important than simply holding onto a position or a feeling.  Oneís belief will truly determine where he or she spends eternity, whether a life of blessing or a life of despair, and an eternity with God or an eternity without God.

So, what do YOU believe?  Why do you believe it?  Upon what kind of foundation is your belief built?

I am very fortunate.  I was raised in a Christian home.  My dad was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I was trained from my childhood that belief in God was important, that Jesus was the only way to God, and that the Bible was the only truth that can be relied upon.  Though I had to put this teaching to the test in adolescence and adulthood, I finally grasped that I was blessed because I was taught the truth.  Many are not so fortunate.  Many spend their lives being taught a lie, and trained to believe in false gospels and to believe that God is not important and that man is all there is.  I consider the greatest gift given me by my parents is the introduction to God, and making sure that I had knowledge of the truth; a rock upon which the foundation of my life could be built.  Yet, I do not believe now, as an adult, in the God of the Bible only because that is the way in which I was reared.  I now believe in the God of the Bible, and Jesus, Godís Son, because I built upon that foundation, discovered the truth for myself, and found that my parents were absolutely right. 

I found within myself that to believe in God and Jesus, as taught in the Bible, was truly the only way to satisfy lifeís questions with honest and intelligent answers.  Does it make sense that the earth all of a sudden ďhappenedĒ, that an explosion put chaos into order?  Anyone that has shot off a firecracker can easily recognize how chaos does not make order, but destruction.  Isnít it more intelligent to believe that it took an eternal, all-knowing being to create the world?  The only answer that makes any sense is the answer found in the Bible.  Even Darwin, the guy who taught that we all evolved from worms and apes, admitted in his later years that his teachings were errant, and that the teachings of the Bible were the only ones that provided an intelligent answer as to the origins of mankind.  If, therefore, it required a God, a divine being, to create heaven and earth, and mankind, then who is this God?  It couldnít be a man, because man wasnít here yet.  It couldnít be the elements, because elements do not create elements of non-like kind.  The only answer is found in the Bible.  God of the Bible is the creator of Heaven and Earth.  Therefore, since God of the Bible is the only rational answer to the creator, then why did He create mankind?  If the God of the Bible is the creator, then the only plausible answer as to why all were created can also only be found in the Bible.  The Bible teaches that God created man to fellowship with Him.  God made us to be his friends!  Wow; let that sink in.  But, to be a friend of the most divine creator, we had to be perfect as He is perfect. We all know the story of Adam and Eve.  God created the first man, Adam, to fellowship with Himself. He created the first woman, Eve, as a gift for Adam.  God created in them the means to make other ďAdams and EvesĒ to live on the earth.  But, Adam and Eve sinned, and this sin to a holy God created a barrier that could not be overcome.  God, being perfect and holy, could not fellowship with an unholy or imperfect being.  So then, how can mankind, if we were doomed from the beginning because of Adamís sin, ever be reconciled to God where we can again fellowship with Him?  God made a way, the only way, again as recorded in the Bible.  God sent His Son, Jesus, from Heaven to earth to live as a man (yet remain holy), and to pay the sacrifice for our sins, and through Jesusí death on the cross and suffering in our place, our sins are forgiven and we suddenly have an opportunity once again, as originally intended, to fellowship with the creator of the universe.  As God is the only creator, as such Jesus is the only way to reconcile mankind to God.

The world would teach of many ways.  But, all ways other than what is described in the Bible are falsehoods.  How can a mere man like Mohammed, for example, be able to usher his followers into a relationship with God?  Can Mohammed take away our sins to enable us to have fellowship with a holy God?  No way.  Can acknowledgement of manís intellect and self-inspiration take the place of a realization that only through belief in God can mankind see salvation?  No way.  We humans like to think we have all the answers.  It is difficult to believe in anything these days.  But, our survival depends upon our belief in something, and the only logical thing to believe is the truth as told in the Bible.  Once we grasp hold of that as the basis for our beliefs, and then know that it is that the Bible says, then the other matters will all of a sudden become very clear.  It is only when we donít believe the truth, or we believe what we think is the truth but do not know why we believe what we say we believe, that confusion sets in and we are mislead.

Take Oprah, for example.  I have a lot of respect for what she has accomplished as a person.  She has created a very financially successful life from a very meager beginning.  She overcame much as a black woman from the South to become the power that she is today.  Her dad still cuts hair not far from where I live.  Oprah has a big heart, and believes in helping people.  She means well.  But, her intellectualizing of the things of God have moved her into a position of confusion, and her confusion is leading masses to false beliefs.  She is moving into the political arena to endorse a man for President of our nation only because of his race, and that is racist.  And, the person she is endorsing was trained in the teachings of Mohammed, and if he denies this and sets claim on Christianity, then all one has to do is listen to his pastor of 20 years to believe that he too is a racist.  But Oprahís political endorsements are not what makes her dangerous.; it is her recent teachings that there are other ways besides Jesus that positions one of the most powerful people in our nation as one that will be used to mislead many people.  Check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA.

 So what should be believe in a world so full of confusion?  The only logical belief is in the God of the Bible, in salvation through Jesus His Son, and in a life pleasing to the Creator for whom you were made to be His friend.  But, donít believe because I said so.  Believe because the Bible said so.  If you only grasp one thing, and that one thing is that what is recorded in the Bible is the honest truth, then everything else will make sense.  If you fail to grasp the Bible as truth, and know what it says and believe what it says, then you risk living a life of confusion.

Jesus tested the belief of his followers many times.  I like this one, as recorded in Matthew 16:13-18. 

            When Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?  And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist; some Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.  He (Jesus) said unto them, But who do you say that I am?  And Simon   Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but my Father, who is in heaven. And I say unto you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock (the rock being the statement that Peter made that Jesus was the Son of God) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 Jesus came to the home of a good friend that had just died.  His sister Martha came to meet Jesus, and fussed at him a bit because she realized that if Jesus had been there, her brother Lazarus would not have died.  In reading the rest of the story, we know that Jesus allowed Lazarus to die so that Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead, which Jesus did.  But, in answering Martha, Jesus made a profound statement, as follows (from John 11:25-27):

 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?  She said unto him, Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world.

 Jesus promises us that, if we believe in him and trust him and accept the sacrifice that he made for us in order to reconcile us to a right relationship with God, we will live forever in Heaven with God.  And, He will help us and be with us in our life here on earth.  That, my friend, is comforting.

 So, what is the true path, the only way to Heaven? The only way to see favor with God?  It is as described in the Bible.  Get a relationship with Jesus, and youíll gain a relationship with God.

We can believe many things.  You can believe the truth or you can believe a lie.  You will encounter both many times in your life.  The challenge is this.  Find the truth and grasp hold on it.  Then, once you know the truth, the Bible says, ďthe truth will set you freeĒ.

Your belief will be tested.  What do you believe?

Greg Quinn