Friday, March 30, 2012

The difference between skepticism and faith

Luke 24:24-25  24“Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” 25And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Contrasting Living Living Christianity and Dead Christianity
We noted yesterday that dead Christianity and Living Christianity are two mirror opposites.  We can call the Living Christianity of Luke 24 "Living Living Christianity", since in the face  doubt and skepticism it lives the living essentials of the implications of Christ's Resurrection from the dead. 

Dead Christianity is centered around a "dead Christ", whereas living living Christianity's theology and experience is centered around the Risen Christ who overcame death.  Dead Christianity operates out of human opinion, whereas living living Christianity works from the living scriptures.  Dead Christianity has no message while living living Christianity has a living message - the proclamation that He is Risen.  Then finally, dead Christianity has no testimony, only long faced religion - a shell of what it was or ever could be.  Living living Christianity has a robust testimony of how the Risen Christ of scripture is central to the conversion and ongoing Christian's life. 

Skeptics' claims of insight leads to their own blindness
As you follow the conversation these followers of Jesus had between themselves and the disguised Jesus in Luke 24:13-24, you can gather how much the bias of unbelief informs these disciple's conclusions.  Unbelief sees what it wants to see, despite the evidence.  Faith sees what it is able to see, because of evidence.  In Luke 24:16 the text states: "their eyes were prevented from reocgnizing Him."  As you go down through the text, Luke 24:19-21 reveals their view of who Jesus was:
1. He was a Prophet
2. He was a Mighty teacher
3. He was Crucified.  Despite the claims of resurrection, it is most likely He is dead

It is no wonder Jesus made His blistering indictment of these disciples in Luke 24:25 "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!"

Why faith requires God's supernatural power to see the evidence
As I said earlier, skepticism sees what it wants to see despite the evidence.  However Faith sees what it is able to see because of the evidence.  As Jesus began to explain and unfold the scriptures, Luke 24:31 states "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and he vanished from their sight".  The scriptures are God's instrument by which the persuasion of the truth comes to convert the heart. (Psalm 19:7; 1 Peter 1:23).  Hebrews 11:1 tells us - "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen".  Thus what Christ did through His word was bring the "persuasion" of grace to bear on the "proof" that was before their eyes - Himself. 

Dead Christianity is made into living living Christianity
Remarkably, as a result of the Divine gifting of faith, these disciples made a genuine decision to belief the testimony of the women. (Luke 24:34)    In addition to acknowledging the events of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, they had an experience of such through faith.  They had a living testimony whereby they could related "their experiences" in Luke 24:35.  Then as Christ appeared to the disciples in Luke 24:36-49, we see that He was not some mere vision or mass hallucination, rather His resurrection was a bonified physical event. 

In Luke 24:53 we see all the disciples "continually in the temple praising God".  Clearly living living Christianity acknowledges what the resurrection demonstrates - that this Jesus who raised from the dead as a sinless man is and always will be very God of very God.  Living living Christianity abides and goes forward in the supernatural resurrection power of Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:11)

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