Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why I Believe...Now

"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness within himself." (I John 5:10)

"I find myself believing today pretty much what I believed twenty years ago; but I find myself believing the same things for different reasons."

When I read those words by pastor and author, Frank Boreham (1871-1959), I found myself saying, "Amen!" When I was young, I sought to bolster my heartfelt assurance of the things of God with reasons and proofs. In my case, this was not a bad thing, because I have learned, through a lifetime of observance and study, the Bible's claims of the existence of God and the Deity of Jesus are both reinforced by innumerable corroborating proofs and evidences.

However, now I find myself in the enviable time of life when, as Pascal said, "The heart has reasons which reason does not know." The rest of verse ten of I John 5 talks about the "record" God has given us: His Word; but before that comes the "witness within": the Holy Spirit. This is not to minimize the necessity of the Word of God, but to illustrate the requirement of the inner witness of the Spirit to its infallibility. Millions of people read the Bible and go to hell: but there is not, nor will there ever be, a man or woman who went there with the Holy Spirit of God living within him or her.

I believe in God, not because of the wonder of Creation, but because it inspires me to worship the Creator God. I believe the Bible I read is the Word of God, not because I can trace its supernatural footprint down through history, but because my heart hears the Voice of God when I read its pages. I do not have to see the empty tomb to know that Jesus Christ was God; I only have to experience communion with Him in prayer to know He is as alive today as He was two thousand years ago. I believe in the fellowship of the saints, not because New Testament saints met together on the first day of the week to break bread and celebrate the resurrection, but because I am drawn to be with God's people when they meet together. I do not fear the future, not because I know God's "plan for the ages," but because I know His plan for me; and it is eternity in His presence.

The story is told that when John and Charles Wesley's father, Samuel, lay dying in 1735, he turned to his son, John, and said, "The inward witness, son, the inward witness! That is the proof, the strongest proof of Christianity! Perhaps you as a seasoned Believer would question this; and that would be fine. Even John Wesley admitted that at the time he did not understand it. But he did later, he said; and so may you.

For me, I would not trade the inward witness that has burned within me from the time I acknowledged Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord fifty-eight years ago, for all the evidence in the world. And the closer I get to Heaven, the brighter the flame!

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