By Steven Shaw
How many of us have actually thought about what we know and what we’ve memorized? I am currently trying for various certifications to further myself professionally. I have been in a few classroom settings and forgot about the people who read the book or chapter the teacher assigned and are able to answer most if not all the questions the teacher has. Sometimes these types of people are just truly of exceptional intellect. But most the time it’s people who have the skill that I don’t, that is, reading and remembering. Nor can I sit in a classroom and listen to a mountain of information and remember it. However, I can read and re-read info, study it and make sense of it in my head and then I’ll never forget it. And I am actually really good at memorizing info but is has to make sense first. With all this new pondering of my own intellect, I often think about the things that I have memorized and the things I know or believe to be true. And what is the difference?
We can apply this to theology as well. Many people are raised in the church, therefore know most of the right answers to Christendom, but no faith. But how do we move from knowledge of God to a real faith in God? A life of seeing God for who He is more and more, savoring Christ for all He’s done and continues to do in the life of those who follow, and truly living by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anything less is a false security of salvation. Or simply a need to grow.
Having all the right answers means nothing to God. Although you will be held accountable for the knowledge you have and yet no heart or life change, one day. These truths scare me on a daily basis and should drive all proclaiming Christians to a serious inward heart check. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, knowing how to answer all the questions, being a good person or living in an outward righteous looking way does not make you a Christian. So what’s left? How can we truly know we are saved? Well, that’s what should scare us often. Not that we should live in fear but we should be checking ourselves and have a healthy fear of God (and ourselves) as to continually be clinging to Christ for His righteousness, forgiveness, and strength to live every day in holiness and purity. Read God’s Word (The Bible), pray, do life with believers both more mature than you and less mature. Serve, give and be a member at a local church that teaches the real deep truths found in scripture. Again, all this doesn’t make you a Christian, but it is the only way to know if you are. God’s word speaking the truth in your soul, being transformed by the Holy Spirit as it comes to life through all the things God has given us that I have mentioned a couple sentences ago. Christians don’t do all those types of things to be a Christian, they do them because that is their desire. Because the Christian’s life, soul, heart, and mind were changed when Christ entered, there’s a new set of desires. The Holy Spirit has done a work and will continue to work in us, growing us to mature faithful Christians until Christ returns for us.
Not to say that any Christian is perfect or better than anyone else. In fact, the growing Christian only becomes more aware of just how small they are and how big God is and that is a continuous humbling in itself.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Contributing editor credit: Lisa M Johnston, Th.M. and Pastor/sozofreedom.com