Valid: having a sound basis in logic or fact; reasonable or cogent.
Is the Christian experience valid? This is the final chapter of our book, the topic for this final week.
When I first read Paul Little’s last chapter, I thought he did a poor job of concluding his book. Then I thought the idea of the valid Christian experience does seem to summarize his book. I then turned to other sources to see what others have written about the validity of Christianity, and I saw all the topics he had discussed in his book, all topics that Christians have to deal with when someone questions the validity of the Christian experience.
You find arguments for the existence of God, arguments for Christ rising from the dead, arguments for the Bible being the word of God abound and also skeptical questions like how does God allow evil in the world and isn’t Christianity just a crutch?
It all boils down to one thing: KNOW WHY YOU BELIEVE.
Yes, folks it is the whole purpose of the book, the title; we need to know why we believe.
What are the foundations of our belief?
How do you feel about the Bible? For me it is the inspired word of God. God spoke to man and man wrote down his experiences with God and God’s words. The Bible is a source of truth for all of us.
How do you feel about God? For me He is the Creator of the universe. He is God, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth. A bit of His divinity resides within me in the form of the Holy Spirit. That is my personal God connection.
How do you feel about Jesus Christ? For me He is the only begotten Son of God, the mediator between God and humankind. He was sent to earth to instruct us about how to live a better life and He was sent to earth to forgive our sins and die for our sins.
How do you feel about the resurrection? For me, Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead. After forty days He ascended into heaven where He is at the right hand of God His Father. He had to go through that; it was prophesized in the Old Testament. It was painful. He was in human form when he went through all he had to endure and he endured it for you and me.
How do you feel about man and sin? God created man in His image, to do His work to glorify Him. However, due to original sin, man falls short of the perfect standard set by God. We have a chance at eternal life due to Jesus Christ.
How do you feel about salvation? For me, I am saved from my sin through my belief in Jesus Christ. I can’t earn salvation. It is God’s gracious gift to me. Once I began to believe that God saved me by the grace, I secured my salvation.
How do you feel about the Holy Spirit? For me I recognize I have certain spiritual gifts that God has given to me. It is my job to use those spiritual gifts to bear spiritual fruit for His glory. Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
How do you feel about the spirit world? For me, God is at war with evil in this world. Some Christians believe that God has messengers called angels and Satan has messengers called demons. I believe the world is full of good and evil but in the end, good will triumph [Revelation 20:10].
How do you feel about the church? Well the church is the universal body of Christ, comprised of believers everywhere. The church exists so we can worship God, serve one another and share our faith.
How do you feel about the future? For me, the world will come to an end and God will create a new heaven and a new earth. Christ will come again. When He does, judgement and eternal life in hell await the unbeliever.
Before you can be a strong Christian, these basics need to be ironed out. How do we get them straight? Dedicate yourself to be a growing, learning Christian. If there are some areas of your faith that are shaky, study and get them solid in your mind. Go see your pastor, go to church, attend Sunday School. Read the Bible. No better yet, study the Bible.
I have seen too many Christians dodge the basics of their faith and it worries me. The answers should be in place and you should have them ready when you are asked.
Unless you are able to express yourself on these basics, maybe your faith is not as valid for you as it should be.
You know down inside if you are shaky or not.
Remember as we finish our final week on Paul Little’s book, KNOW WHY YOU BELIEVE.