This is the third blog in a series about "certainty". What does it mean to be "certain"? In the first blog, I referred to Matthew 25 and the parable of the sheep and goats as an example of Scripture that brought up a lot of questions for me. Questions I can't find answers to that leave me "certain". Maybe it's about a final judgment and maybe it's about a local judgment on Earth. Maybe it's about the 12 disciples and maybe it's about all Jewish people and maybe it's about all people. Maybe it's about salvation by works and maybe it's about...well, salvation by works.
Lots of questions and that was just one passage. Perhaps you've never thought of that kind of stuff. Or, perhaps you have, but you're willing to "let it go". You may see letting go of those kinds of pesky questions as "faith". I'm not here to make you feel bad if that's you. Rather, I want to help those of us who can't let go of those pesky questions. Oh, and there are plenty more than that too, believe me.
Quick quiz: Who wrote the first five book of the Bible? Answer: Moses. But inquisitive minds like mine ask "Well, did Moses write the part where he dies?" (Deut. 34:5) Someone else had to write that part, if not the whole thing. Ugh. I thought I could be certain about who wrote those first five books (often referred to as the Pentateuch). That makes me start to wonder if something similar happened to any of the other books. Did Jeremiah write Jeremiah? Did Matthew write Matthew? We know someone else wrote the last chapter of Mark (the earliest manuscripts don't include it). This, of course, raises further questions like "Did God forget to inspire Mark to write an ending to his Gospel?" Or "Did God inspire an unknown scribe to finish it?" Same with Deuteronomy. How can I be certain about these kinds of things? Authorship becomes an issue for those who ask questions and have inquisitive minds. We can't rest that easy.
I've come to accept that I can't be certain. Not 100%. For some, that's really bad news. In fact, some people call it a day for Christianity right there. "It's all phony baloney!" they cry. Well, I want to spare you of making that decision.
Christians are called to follow Jesus by faith. "The just shall live by faith" said Habakkuk. Or, at least, I'm fairly sure it was him. His name is on the book title. So, what's faith?
When you get in your car, how certain are you that the brakes will work? 100%? If you actually stopped to think about it, you'd likely have to leave some room for the possibility that they could fail. So then, do you stay home? Well, if you have a reasonable confidence that they'll work, you'll get on the road. That's an act of faith and it doesn't require 100% certainty. You feel you have reason enough to act on the possibility that your brakes will work just fine.
Or how about banking? According to a digital statement I look at online, I have money in the bank. I don't see that money. I transfer money and assume it works. I pay my credit card bill online and assume it works. I have reason enough to act based on what I know about banking. Call me a "negative Nancy", but I can't be certain that my bank would never take my money. There are laws that I hope would be enforced, but that's a hope and not a certainty. I feel confident enough to continue banking though. That's faith.
Faith isn't about having 100% certainty about something. Faith is about acting despite your level of uncertainty. You can live by faith without being 100% certain about all kinds of doctrines and questions you may have about Scripture.
I don't believe God is looking for us to be certain. I do believe He's looking for us to act in faith regardless of whether or not we feel certain.
Dave became the Senior Pastor in April 2015 at TCC after serving as the Director of Children's and Praise Ministries for 9 years. He graduated in 2011 from A.W. Tozer Seminary with a Masters in Christian Leadership. He and his wife, Katie, live in Sequim with their 6 children, 2 dogs, 15 chickens, and 50,000 honeybees.
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