August 2013

ARE WE WISE OR FOOLISH?

Suresh Manoharan

Accept Jesus as your Saviour today, if you have not done it already!

An atheist filed a public interest litigation that there ought to be a special day for atheists, like they have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. The judge who examined his claims is said to have promptly dismissed his petition stating that there is already one in the annual calendar. When the atheist demanded what that day could be, he was curtly told that it was April Fools’ Day. We smile. The Bible declares that those who do not believe in God’s existence are fools (Psa.14:1; 53:1).

Most toe this line called the broad road (Matt.7:13-14) because it is easy and one can live his life on his own terms. Those who trust in material things for ‘earthly satisfaction’ are also branded as ‘fools’ (Lk.12:13-21) by the Bible, for riches do not give lasting joy and satisfaction. If they did, celebrities who bask and wallow in riches wouldn’t commit suicide.

Let’s go one step further. Are those who merely believe God exists better than atheists? The Bible says bluntly that even demons believe that He exists and they shudder (Ja.2:19). So they are also unwise. Being wise is to trust Him in every area of one’s life, beginning with salvation which the Bible calls the born-again experience (Jn.3:3). Then He, by His Holy Spirit, would transform the surrendered soul into Christ-likeness in the journey of Christian life (2Cor.3:18).

There may be different definitions for the word fool, one of which is ‘duped.’ “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (1Cor. 4:4).

On two grounds a Christian can prove that the God of the Bible is true. One is national and the other is personal.

National
About 300 years ago, the King of Sweden was having personal doubts about God’s existence and the Bible's divine nature. He called for Count von Zinzendorf, who was the bishop of the Moravian Church, to provide evidence about God’s existence and divine authorship of the Bible. When the Count arrived, the King told him he had set aside 10 hours to be enlightened on these matters. Zinzendorf said that much time would not be necessary because all he needed to do was to say two words. The King, sceptical, asked, “What words might those be?” Count von Zinzendorf replied, "The Jews."

How true! One look at the history of the nation of Israel would convince even a hard core atheist/agnostic about the existence of the Almighty and authenticity of the Bible. Is not the entire history of this chosen nation an outworking of the deuteronomic covenant enshrined in the 28th chapter of the fifth book of the Bible? Have not all the blessings so graphically described ‘chased’ the people of Israel whenever they have sincerely obeyed their Master? By the same token, have not the curses sent by the chastening God ‘chased’ them whenever they went astray?

Not only the book of Judges, where the cyclical ‘boom’ and ‘doom’ periods of Israel’s faith are candidly portrayed, but in fact the entire Old Testament history stands witness to the solemn fact that the Jews’ success or failure in any sphere has been directly proportional to their obedience, or lack of it, to their Good Shepherd. Unlike, say, life of a lowly layman, living in one corner of the world, history of one nation is not a private occurrence, far removed from public spotlight! It is in the public domain and can be checked and cross-checked umpteen times, and the unanimous verdict of the ‘umpire’ (conscience) in all of us would be, “The God of Abraham exists and His words enshrined in Scripture are true!” I repeat, if I, as an average nine-to-five guy living in an inconspicuous place in this world, shout from rooftops, nay even mountaintops, that the hand of God can be seen prominently in my life by way of blessings or curses whenever I have obeyed or disobeyed Him, people may or may not believe. But if a definite trend of good times/bad times is seen emerging in the history of one nation itself, all on account of an unseen divine intervention, can anyone still turn a blind eye to it?

Think of it! A normal story teller would gloss over a hero’s sins of commission or omission, all with the aim of making the main character appear larger than life in the public eye; but the divinely-inspired writers of Scripture, themselves Jews, have never shied away from laying bare the serious shortcomings of all Jewish heroes of faith or those of their nation as a whole. If this is not truthfulness, then what is it?

Personal In every Christian’s life there is, to put in essence, a ‘BC and AD experience’. Before Christ in his life, everyone around him can see him given to selfishness. After Christ comes into that person’s life, he walks free out of the grip of self-centredness. People around him can see for themselves the remarkable, undeniable change Jesus brought in his life. Just to quote one Biblical example, consider this Scripture portion about erstwhile magicians in the city of Ephesus. “A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (Acts 19:19-20).

Is not the same happening even today, two thousand years later? Many drug addicts, alcoholics, given to debilitating habits, are getting delivered when they turn to Jesus for deliverance. He alone can perform the ‘spiritual operation’ that is necessary to bring a soul stuck in the mire of sin into a world of holiness. He did it for me 30 years ago. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!

None ought to miss out on the best Jesus has to offer. The best here is to enjoy Him by letting Him be in charge. Oh yes, that’s what Jesus meant when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (in abundance) (Jn.10:10). Right here on earth, when we enjoy the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal.5:22-23)—we are having a foretaste of heaven. To top it all, He assures us of taking us to be with Him in eternity. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Php.1:6).

Then what about the joy in the lives of restored backslidden believers when they sincerely repented—the Davids, Jonahs, Peters? They are eloquent sermons in themselves pointing directly towards a loving, forgiving God (1Jn.2:1-2).

Be wise! Accept Jesus as your Saviour today, if you have not done already!

Editorial: WHEN DOCTRINES DIVIDE - Jacob Ninan

DISTINCT DISCIPLES - J. N. Manokaran

ARE WE WISE OR FOOLISH? - Suresh Manoharan

"TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE - Peter S. C. Pothen

STRENGTH IN YOUR WEAKNESS - Bernard Thangasamy

HOW DO I FIGHT PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL LUST? - Sandeep Poonen

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