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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Excerpt from Chapter Three of Christian Apologetics

Christian Existence: Living in the Truth

Christianity means far more than holding a worldview or supporting it rationally through apologetics, although these are necessary for Christian witness. The Christian worldview, because of its objective and compelling truth, inspires a distinctively Christian way of living. When an apologist defends the truth, rationality, and pertinence of Christianity, she is also advocating a Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Bible-honoring way of being.

The Christian worldview summons people to follow Christ, to recognize and obey the truth that sets them free. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" (John 8:31-32). This new life is a life that bestows freedom from false masters: the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is a new life offering freedom from meaninglessness, since all should be done for the eternal glory of God (Ecclesiastes 12; 1 Corinthians 10:31: Colossians 3:17) as we seek the Kingdom of God to be manifest in our midst (Matthew 6:33). The Christian life gives freedom from self-deception, since, in Christ, we can face our greatest sins, repent of them, and know that because of Christ’s finished work on the cross we are forgiven and empowered for Kingdom service (1 John 1:8-10). The Christian is offered freedom from the tyranny of self, since we are commanded to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors and even our enemies (Luke 9:23-24; Matthew 5) through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian life manifests freedom from self-dependence since we must live in moment-by-moment dependence upon God for all that we do (John 15). The Christian is given a new life that frees us from the fear of death or nonbeing. Since Christ has been raised immortal from the dead, Christians have a strong hope (based on knowledge) that they, too, will conquer death in the end. (Hebrews 2:14-16).

This new free life is a life of spiritual adventure, not because it is glamorous or thrill-seeking, but because each Christian is a unique person with a distinctive role to play in God’s eternal Kingdom. Each Christian has been given gifts of treasure, time, and talents and has a calling on his life to manifest truth and love whenever and wherever possible, no matter what the cost.[1] Lastly, and most importantly, new life in Christ sets us free to love God and rejoice in the very being of the triune God himself. In light of this enjoyment of the divine, no sacrifice is too great and no human achievement can ever compare with it. And this joy is not without effect, for “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10; see also Psalm 90:14-15).[2]

[1] On the doctrine of calling, see Os Guinness, The Call (USA: Thomas Nelson, 1998); John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003).

[2] For a profound elaboration on the theme of the enjoyment of God as our highest good and greatest strength, see John Piper, God is the Gospel (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005). For help when Christian joy is distant, see John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004).

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see this book available on Olivetree's Bible+ program, I know it's on pre-pub on Logos but Bible+ on IPAD is much more portable. JE