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Faith

D.C. Collier: The Truth Personified

We’ve all been born and raised in a truth-starved world. And like a blinding flash in the darkness comes a Person who, at last, makes sense of life, death and the hereafter.

This Life-Light is not a detached, sterile set of principles or rules to live by, like so many religions. This is a flesh-and-blood personal revelation of a divinely winsome Lover, who grabs us by the heart and sweeps us into his arms.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”1

He meant it.

                                                                 •        •        •

Suppose you were a fish, born and raised in the highly polluted Ganges River in India. You and your friends were going along just fine until one day a beautiful rainbow trout wandered into your neighborhood.

The trout, accidentally dumped off by a passing ship, was obviously a long way from home and deeply disturbed. He approaches you and says, “Wow, the pollution in this river is unbelievable, how can you live like this?” You look back, mystified, and say, “What’s pollution?”

You see, this place is home to you. It’s all you’ve ever known. But for the trout, which was raised in the pristine, crystal-clear water of the Scottish Highlands, the Ganges looks, smells and tastes like a slow-flowing sewer. As a native fish, you would have nothing with which to compare your home environment — it all seems fine to you.

Similarly, we’ve all been born into a sin-infused world, with nothing to compare ourselves against morally except billions of other sinners — Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Mother Teresa and the Rev. Billy Graham included.

But ultimately, the real “gold standard” of comparison against which we will all be measured is the perfect holiness of God Himself — now that’s a challenge! Jesus raised the bar about as high as it can get, when he stated unambiguously:

“Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”2

The Apostle John contrasted Jesus’ matchless qualifications versus any other human being, “The One (Jesus) who comes from above (heaven) is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. The earthborn is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heaven-born is in a league of his own. He sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven.”3

In more recent times, generations of young people have been raised in the polluted thought-streams of a pervasive postmodern worldview, which saturates our schools, culture and government. This has brought about a shift in popular views that have been unmistakable in at least five ways:

» We have redefined God into either a mythical remnant of ages past or an impersonal “higher power,” “force” or “thing” that is distant and unknowable.

» We have redefined mankind, as Randy Alcorn pointed out, into a “descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm washed up on an empty beach 3½ billion years ago. You are the blind and arbitrary product of time, chance and natural forces. You are a mere grab bag of atomic particles, a conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe. You are a purely biological entity, different only in degree but not in kind from a microbe, virus or amoeba. You have no essence beyond your body, and at death you will cease to exist entirely. In short, you came from nothing and are going nowhere.”4

» We have redefined truth as something we make up as we go along, to serve the purposes of society at any given time. Truth is, therefore, relative and changeable — at least in the postmodern worldview.

» We have redefined evil into no more than the result of social conditioning — rather than a “thing” itself. Therefore, what we call “evil” is presented as the result of bad socialization and as something curable through re-education and psychological therapy.

» We have redefined salvation and the hereafter as achieving an earthly utopia, where man is sovereign and secular humanism is our savior.

Is it any wonder why — as Peggy Noonan wrote in The Wall Street Journal — “America is experiencing what appears to be a mental-health crisis, especially among the young ... with as many as 20 percent of children 3 to 17 experiencing a mental or emotional illness?”

Closer to home, my work at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission has often resembled being immersed in a human petri dish of dysfunctional behavior. The common denominator among all the individual stories is pain — often self–inflicted.

The near-universal reaction to this pain and wounding is to blame others (to see oneself as a victim). This, in turn, usually results in resorting to the fleeting comforts of drugs and alcohol. After all, they need their meds, don’t they?

The trouble is that, like a fishing lure, there is a “hook” buried deep inside every pill, bag, needle or booze bottle, and that hook leads to the iron grip of addiction.

And there is a dirty little secret under it all. The cure is not in a bottle or a shrink’s couch, although such measures might provide a temporary respite.

How About You?

Do you realize that the cause of every pain in your life is a thing called sin? Either your own sin, or one that was committed against you by someone else. In his book, Grace: The Power to Change, author and theologian James Richards wrote:

“If I realize that sin is what brings pain into my life; if I realize that truth is the source of all fulfillment and joy; if I realize that I have in my power to experience the good things of God by my decision making, then I will make my decisions from a totally different motive base. I realize that what I choose to believe and do affects my joy and pleasure in this life — and I will decide for truth.

“Make a list of every pain in your life. Then link it to the belief or behavior that is bringing that pain. Do everything you can to see the belief or behavior that is bringing that pain. Then list all the pleasure that could be derived from walking in truth.”

More to come. Hint: “No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day.”5

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. John 14:6-7 NIV

2. Matthew 5:48 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

3. John 3:30-32 The Message (MSG)

4. D’Souza, Dinesh. Survival of the Sacred: Why Religion Is Winning. What’s so Great about Christianity. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2007. N. pag. Print.

5. John 1:17-18 The Message (MSG)

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