19 Dec Words of Life in an Age of Words of Lies
The flashing news cards across the globe enlist the unending questions of the human heart. It is right to understand that sin has brought us to this juncture that none can avoid. The rich and the poor have the same end, devastated by the onslaught of abominable human tyrannies. I often wonder why I have to feed all this toxic news because without making the former the focus of the day, there are scores of good news that enlightens, brightens, brings smiles, builds up, and adds value to lives. Indeed, personal outlook and choice have a good role in affecting decisions.
In response, certain sections of the digital natives prefer to feel escaped in their virtual world. Some gurus spread the contradictory message of self-forgetfulness in the web of Maya-jaal. Still another group of influencers propound to forsake society and choose the Himalayas as an island.
While many people fall prey to the lies that life is meaningless, purposeless, and hopeless, some know and dwell in the eternal reality: The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Confidence in the Word of Life
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. This truth is the source and foundation of life. By faith, we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. It is significant to note that the repeated words Let there be…and it was so brought forth what is seen. This takes us to another beautiful thought. Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. Do you know how precious you are in the sight of God? Do you know that you can have confidence in the Words of Life?
In the light of this glorious reality, the psalmist acknowledged that Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The beauty of this metaphor is understood in the fact that ancient lamps provide light and brighten only one step at a time, and such lights give direction to walk confidently. Because trust and faith in Christ require a step-by-step walk with the Master, who has already walked before us victoriously. Such is the nature of daily obedience that does not hunger for a complete blueprint of life. Instead, it is a joy to trust our unseen and unknown future to the All-Knowing God who preserved us in the past, is preserving us faithfully, and will preserve us to His glory by shaping our past and present into Christ-glorifying tomorrow.
In 1868, D L Moody advised Philip P. Bliss (b. Clearfield County, PA, 1838; d. Ashtabula, OH, 1876) to become a singing evangelist. Beautiful Words, Wonderful Words of Life stands out as one of his most notable contributions and hymn to the ecclesiastical Body of Christ. This work attempts to express the beauty and manifesting work of the Word of God towards obedience and a submissive Christian walk. What a Christ-centric hymn in worshipping God through the doctrine of the Holy Scripture! Though limited in human expressions, it is refreshing to see the beauty and work of the Words of life. It is essential to be aware of the status quo and deceptive mirages of human corruption and evil that seem to cloud the sanctifying gracious act of the Triune God. Instead, it calls for making the right choice to be refreshed in the Words of Life.
Let me move tangentially for a moment. While emphasizing qualitative Bible studies, be it old or contemporary genres, contextually, it is necessary and edifying to reflect on the theological maturity in the choice and selection of songs as an EU, ICEU, and EGF family. This needs to be crystallized without tampering with our confidence in the student initiative.
Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God–
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever!
Penned by the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, this rhyme describes both millennials and generation Z relevantly as before; these groups of people are the mission fields of our movement. Without confidence in the Word, there is no confidence in living and fulfilling our calling. On observation, it is significant to pray that our four aims be situated emphatically in the campuses with personal care and fruitfulness. To this end, repenting and returning before hitting the wall of follies is wise.
Conviction in the Word of Life
I think this way, if you think otherwise – that’s ok. Such conundrums on opinions are the talk of our generation. We often hear, ‘what do you think about this?’ Well, there is a growing enmity between opinions and Christian convictions. Our way of living (lifestyle) reflects the value system of a belief (faith or worldview). It forms the essence of conviction which propels one into lived-out life filled with variegated experiences and ripple effects.
In 1521 when Martin Luther (1483-1546), the passionate reformer, was summoned to recant his position and action in an assembly at Worms, Germany, to appear before Charles V, he replied with conviction in the Bible:
Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason. I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.
Such is the courage in a man confronted by the Word who stands out in the crowd as a man of biblical conviction. Let us not be found wanting in it.
Contrary to the sophisticated analysis of considering men and women into good, better, and best, God sees anyone and everyone as either righteous or wicked (Ps. 1:1). In Hebrew, the word rāsā refers to ‘wicked’ or ‘ungodly’ people who are not in covenant relationship with God. They may do kind or charitable, or religious deeds. However, in God’s evaluation, they are people ‘without eternal merit’. This presents the antithesis ‘righteous’. Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). Three trilogies of expression for influence from casual by-stander to collusion with mockers against righteous or blessed are expressed in the beatitudes of Christ. For instance, Israel saw this panoramic sight in the persons of the foolish-wise King Solomon (1 Ki. 11:1,2,4) and lustful Samson (Judges 16:1) to abominable king Ahab (1 Ki. 21:20,25).
Luke 9:18-20 presents a classic life of conviction in the Bread of Life. A disciple of Christ cannot cheapen and show lesser significance to Him. A faithful follower of Christ ought to walk by conviction in the Person and work of Christ because what you believe about Jesus by upholding it as true affects eternal destiny, which is visible in working daily life of sanctification (by walking in the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Triune Being).
Truth is the special revelation in the Personhood of Christ Jesus in keeping with the grand Holy Scripture. Genesis 6:9 is a classic illustration of a man who chooses to walk with conviction instead of opinions influencing his surroundings and neighborhood.
To some extent, we may be affected by the opinions of others. However, the Word of God stands firm, being fulfilled in the broad daylight of this generation itself. Our reading, meditation, and study of God’s Word must convict us just as a pebble that falls on the seemingly clean pond and exposes the underlying murky-muddy. It is not comfortable to be convicted, for it demands repentance. As recorded in Ps 51:10-12, King David found it hard to live with a guilty conscience. Indeed, it is God’s mercy and love that one lives in and with conviction and His judgment when one wilfully ignores, suppresses, and buries His gift of conviction through spiritual insensitivity and rebellion. These effects are emphasized in the ardency of the extreme seeker-centered enticing neo-booming groups where the life of faith seems to be lived only in Sufi-like mystical chants of melodies. Because when the Word of God and its proclamation are not given due significance, priority, position, reverence, and pulpit tends to be offered merely for altar calls.
How can people be convicted unless the Word is read, preached, and affirmed as the supreme authority? And He [Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged (Jn. 16:8-11). If you find yourself growing dim or spiritually weak, it is because you are not delighting and reading the Bible regularly. Perhaps, we need to order our life. Beware of patronizing the neo-liberal thought that the Bible is outdated and irrelevant. If there is anything most up-to-date today, it would be the Bible. We affirm and manifest that the Bible is supremely authoritative in all matters of faith and conduct for all generations. When Augustine was lost in deep torment and soul sickness in all ugliness of sins, he heard the Voice, repeatedly telling him, ‘Pick it up, read it; pick it up, read it’. He opened up the Scripture and saw Romans 13:13-14: Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. It spoke and confronted him directly to his life of sin. St. Augustine confessed, “I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.” Well, one might try to corner it to the justification aspect alone. Let us be reminded that in the already-not-yet spiritual tapestry from justification to sanctification and glorification, the five solas are our pillars in the Scripture.
RC Sproul aptly hit the nail on the head in commenting that we do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, and some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about. We are called to live in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and to the glory of God. As biblical as the foundation of UESI, let sola Scriptura continue to grip us with conviction in all levels of planning and decisions throughout the constituency.
The post-Christian world is rushing toward motivational speakers from all walks of life and beliefs who often resort to neutrality and fails to stand in the absolute Truth. Be that as it may, the followers of the Way are mandated to follow Christ radically. Our collective and affirmative responsibility demands intentional-relational involvement with priority and humility. Acknowledging the centrality of the Word as an evangelical, let our reading of His Word be joyful. In reflexio, let our life of Coram Deo be marked with confidence and conviction in His Word as locus towards the fulfilment of our God-given vision, mission, and aims.
James R Debbarma hails from Agartala, Tripura, married to Mrs. Sharon Seb, a Lecturer in a college, an active EGF member, and a Senior Advisor to an EU unit. They are blessed with a beautiful daughter Hadassah. He has been serving as a UESI Staff worker for more than a decade, currently based at Diphu as Training Dept. Secretary, UESI-Assam. His passion lies in the study and exposition of the Scripture with young minds, who also loves to read and write.