Wineskins Archive

December 18, 2013

Faith, Not Certainty (July-Aug 2010)

Filed under: — @ 2:43 pm and

by Edward Fudge
August 15, 2010

A gracEmail subscriber in Canada writes: “Somone has asked me how we ‘know with certainty and without doubt’ that the Bible is God’s revealed and trustworthy Word. The inquirer says he wants to believe this and, that if he can, it will launch him into a life of faith.”

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The truth is that we know very little “with certainty and without doubt.” Perhaps for that reason, we regularly live our lives based on information that falls far short of that standard. Most often, we are happy to decide matters based on the preponderance of the evidence. Is something more likely than not? Which way do the scales tilt? That is usually the most we can expect. To know anything “with certainty and without doubt” leaves no place for faith at all. God’s grace is not enjoyed “by certainty through knowledge,” but “by grace through faith.”

A person can believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him without first being “certain” that the Bible is God’s Word. Human beings can and should believe in God from the order and complexity of creation, from a sense of good and evil, from our own thoughtful and profound existence — from our imagination of a better world, our sense of meaning and desire for a feeling of significance, and so forth. One who reads the Bible is simply learning about the God who reveals himself to us in other ways all the time.

Faith in Christ as Savior comes (as a channel, not as the ultimate source) from the apostolic testimony about Jesus, which we have in the Gospels — first-hand testimony with Matthew and John, second-hand with Mark and Luke. I would encourage your inquirer to read the Gospels while asking God to make himself known if he is really there, and to give some kind of personal assurance that the Bible is reliable to lead one to Jesus Christ. If anyone continues to pray that prayer with sincerity, I believe that person eventually will come to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Copyright 2010 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby given to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail without change and without financial profit.

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