|Vol. 15 No. 4 April 2013||
The words of Jesus continue to resonate while bringing reassurance and joy to our hearts since they are equally true today as they were when first spoken by our gracious Lord: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
It is so wonderful to be a Christian and joyfully experience the life, peace and freedom one can only know when he is “in Christ” and abiding in him (John 15:1-14). A Christian is one who knows the immeasurable joy felt within the heart by having the remission of his sins and the removal of his guilt. The apostle Peter answered the inquiry of some whose hearts were pricked by the Gospel message on Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Like the obedient believers on Pentecost and the Eunuch of Ethiopia (Acts 8:39), we rejoice and praise God because our sins are forgiven through Christ’s offering of Himself.
Jesus, the Son of God, came not into this world for the purpose of condemning us (John 3:17) (which he rightfully might have done due to our unrighteousness), but rather He came to deliver and save us from our sins.
According to Jesus’ teaching in John 3:18-21, you and I have the obligation of making a choice as we live in the present: to come into the light and walk therein with Jesus and consequently experience no condemnation, or we may choose to remain in darkness and continue walking in our evil ways and thereby incur God’s wrath and be punished with “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The choice is an individual one. I cannot make it for you, nor can you make it for me.
One of Christ’s apostles asked a straightforward question that you and I need to contemplate as well: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). May our hearts not be deceived and so hardened by the deceitfulness of sin until we fail to be moved by God’s grace and loving kindness.
May you and I show our love to God and love Him supremely “because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow may be too late! Come to Jesus now.
The evidence that the Bible is the Word of God is overwhelming. Consider:
1. Claims Inspiration – Any claim of inspiration must be tested. However, an inspired book would acknowledge its source (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
2. Unity – The Bible contains 66 separate books written in three languages by approximately 40 authors from different locations and diverse backgrounds over a period of 1,500 years, yet there are no contradictions. The theme is consistent resulting in a rich harmony lacking in literary works by mortal man.
3. Scientific Understanding – While atheists attempt to pit science against religion, true science is the Christian’s friend. The Bible demonstrates inspiration both by what it omits and by what it includes. The Bible avoids errors about astrology, false medical cures, divination, omens, the earth’s shape and position, which errors contemporary literature and culture contain. Yet, the Bible includes scientific information unknown when it was penned, such as ocean currents, logical dietary laws, the water cycle, seabed topography and quarantine.
4. Fulfilled Prophecy – The Bible contains verifiable prophecies about nations (Daniel 2:37-45) as well as 300 prophecies regarding the Messiah, including predictions about His birth, death and resurrection, which were fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. One man could not have accidently fulfilled all these prophecies (Luke 18:31-34).
5. Historical Reliability – The Bible’s historical accuracy has been proven. In Acts, Luke mentions 32 countries, 54 cities and 9 Mediterranean islands. He also names 95 people (Metzger, Bruce. The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, Content). These citations contain no mistakes. Sir William Ramsey was a skeptic, but after an on-site study of Luke’s accounts, he concluded that Luke was “the very greatest of historians.” A book may be historically accurate without being inspired, but an inspired book must be historically accurate.
Despite the evidence, critics will claim, “Yes, but the Bible has been mishandled and corrupted through the years. Today’s Bible is not anything like the ancient writing.” Centuries of accumulated evidence dispute this claim. The Bible is the best-preserved book in history, with compelling manuscript evidence. Besides the Bible, the best preserved ancient work is Homer’s The Iliad. Written about 900 B.C., only 643 known ancient copies exist. The earliest is from approximately 400 B.C., a full 500 years after it was written. Compare this example to the Bible. More than 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament exist. The earliest fragments are from a mere 35 years after the books were written. In addition, many early Christians wrote defenses, sermons, and commentaries that contain more than 86,000 direct quotations from the Scriptures. In fact, 99.86 percent of the New Testament could be reconstructed from these quotations alone.
This conclusive evidence proves that the Bible is trustworthy. New finds and continuing research show that our Bible is identical to the text of the earliest days of Christianity.