Why Do Numerous Educated People Practice Faith?
I affirm Christian theism (CT) and practice the Christian religion by God’s amazing grace and because I studied the subject as I discovered substantial evidence for theism. I rationally found that God must exist and the contrary is not possible. Thus I aim to faithfully practice the covenant faith because God saved me and calls me to follow Him covenantally; this includes a structured religious form. Countless intelligent believers have conveyed similar thoughts to me. (also see my past post on Theisitc Genises HERE ).
Although the majority of the world, throughout the preponderance of history, has professed and embraced religion and theism, religion can often make some nonbelievers uncomfortable. Sartre claimed that he became an atheist because a man stared at him in public. He felt uncomfortable and dehumanized by becoming an object of the long stare of a stranger. He then reasoned: God is omnipresent, hence God must have His eyes perpetually on Sartre. But he did not like God gazing upon him. Many nonbelievers detest this fact; they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Religion requires commitment and intelligent believers delight in this truth inasmuch as God lives.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).
I know that God certainly exists and He has brought me into the covenant and promises through the person and work of Jesus Christ; this is a result of revelation and God’s effectual grace that actualizes my regeneration. So I seek and enjoy my religious obligations. The name “Jesus” (Yeshua) means God is my Savior (or God saves/delivers) and thus Jesus Christ’s name is an ideal fit since Jesus is both God and Savior. We all sin, we all fail, all men fall short and we need a Savior who removes (expiates) our sins and replaces our sinful record with His perfect righteous record (imputation).
The claim that “Jesus is the only way to salvation” is not just a slogan, or a dogma tightly held due to intolerance, but it is true (Jesus is the truth), sufficient (He propitiated the wrath of an infinite God), effectual (all God calls in Christ are justified), and necessary (all men are sinners and require a Savior); moreover the exclusivity of Christ is clearly revealed in Scripture (John 14:6).
Job announced that he “knows my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). Paul declares, “I know in whom I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12). It is impossible for the Christian Worldview (CWV) to be false. I am saved by grace alone, and I have truth and certainty. It is impossible for God not to exist. Calvin said that Scripture was so “clear and certain it cannot be overthrown either by men or angels.” Thus I and intellectual Christians delight in serving the Lord in our religious expression.
All men of sound Judgment will therefore hold, that a sense of Deity is indelibly engraved on the human heart. And that this belief is naturally engendered in all, and thoroughly fixed as it were in our very bones, is strikingly attested by the contumacy of the wicked, who, though they struggle furiously, are unable to extricate themselves from the fear of God (Calvin: Institutes 3:3).
Some people claim that knowledge is impossible. Nonetheless if knowledge is impossible, one could not know that knowledge is impossible because that is a knowledge claim. Christian theism is a worldview (WV) that provides human reason an unchanging foundation for knowledge. Atheism, naturalism, and skepticism all fail to furnish a foundation for the LNC (A~~A); thus they cannot provide a permanent footing for knowledge since knowledge presupposes and requires the LNC; the LNC is an immutable universal and thus requires an immutable universal foundation: theism. Non-theists can only offer a mutable non-universal ground for their WV. Theism is the truth condition for all knowledge because all human knowledge requires the use of unchanging universals. The omniscient, immaterial, and unchanging God alone provides the a priori essentials for the use of nonphysical, universal, and unchanging universals. Non-theistic thought cannot supply the necessary pre-environment for knowledge, thus it falls into futility. Considering that adherents to CT are captured by the truth, they are devoted to God as practiced in religion. The brilliant Anderson states: “At the very least, a person’s presuppositions will be implicit in the way he evaluates evidence and interprets his experience, in how he makes judgment about what is possible or plausible or valuable, and in how he actually lives daily life.” (James Anderson: Speaking the Truth). Lonergan concurs: “Our knowledge of God is both earlier and easier that any attempt to give it formal expression” (Lonergan: Intellectuals Speak Out About God).
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at the right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness; … I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (John Bunyan: Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners).
God the Father sent His Son, who is sinless and perfect in character, to live a perfect life in accordance with God’s Law and sacrifice Him for the sins of mankind. The sins of the repentant sinner are cast onto Christ: the perfect sacrifice. Furthermore, salvation includes the gift of the “righteousness of God” (Romans 3:21-22, 10:3; Philippians 3:9). This is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30). His life of sinlessness and perfect obedience to God’s Law on this earth was required to give believers a perfect record in regard to the positive aspect of justification (Christ’s active obedience).
The Kindness of God
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).
The cross is the standard of victorious grace. It is the light-house whose cheering ray gleams across the dark waters of despair and cheers the dense midnight of our fallen race, saving from eternal shipwreck, and piloting into everlasting peace (Spurgeon).
All people are sinners in need of grace. This truth should send the unbeliever to Christ for pardon from sin’s penalty; a penalty that has been paid by Jesus on the cross. No one’s good works can pay the penalty for past sins, only Christ can; the believer’s good works cannot erase past transgressions. If I receive a speeding ticket, and I go to court and the judge asks, “What do you plead?” I say, “Guilty, but I promise I will never speed again. Judge, please forgive my ticket on account of my future obedience.” The judge would say, “It is good that you will not speed again. That is your lawful duty. But you still have to pay the fine for your past mistake of speeding.” The good news is Jesus Christ, as judge, came down, took off His robe and paid the fine Himself for all who trust in Him.
The atonement of Christ expiates the sins of the Christian and rinses his transgressions from his spiritual record. Then God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account. We enter heaven free from past sins, and clothed in the righteousness of Christ through faith alone and by grace alone.
The cross is the focus of all human history—I was almost going to say it is the centre of the life of God, if such a thing can be. All the ages meet in Calvary. Jesus is the central Sun of all events (Spurgeon).
Finding Peace with God
The believer in Christ must say that without Christ there is no truth and goodness anywhere that will finally stand before God. Modern thought, like the prodigal son, is at the swine trough. The believer does not do his duty to men unless he calls them to repentance, and therewith back to the Father’s house (Van Til).
Romans 4:6 declares that God “imputes righteousness apart from works,” hence this righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer’s account. God forensically (legally) credits (imputes) the believer with the righteous acts of Christ; the flawless works He performed as a perfect man on the earth. This is the great exchange: Christ gives His perfect righteousness in exchange for the believer’s sin. This is great news for sinners who by God’s grace turn in faith to God’s Son; as a consequence, Christ takes their sin and believers receive His perfect record of righteousness.
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).
Carnal hearts, until grace fully subdues them, are very loath to know their wretched condition. They love to not hear of anything that reveals to them the misery they are in (Watson).
God credits believers with the righteousness of Christ solely through faith by grace alone. Justification forensically renders the believer righteous and gives him peace with heaven. Without justification, the unbeliever has no peace with God. We must never assert that there is peace, when there is no peace between the ungodly and God. Without justification by grace alone, there can be no real peace (Romans 5:1). Imputation is the biblical term for the positive element of justification. One is forgiven and saved through God’s grace by faith: The believer is judicially constituted as righteous. He is declared righteous. We need to be justified by grace. Justification is a forensic term which speaks of the Christian’s legal position before God. The believer is declared righteous despite his unrighteous deeds.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
The Tragedy of Unbelief and the Hope of Faith in Christ
Pugnacious skeptic and libertine George Bernard Shaw wrote, near the end of his life: “The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, led, instead, directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith.” Yes it seems that nobody talks so persistently about God and religion as those who maintain that there is no God; nonetheless this yields despair. Since all Christians (including the intelligent believer) have complete and eternal forgiveness, they desire to serve God through religious practice.
see my new e-Books that contend for Christian truth: