WORLDVIEWS

CHRISTIAN THEISM - THE FINAL WORD

As Christians we believe in God.

Not the ultimate cosmic consciousness of monism.
Not the mystical god-within of pantheism and the New Age.
Not the weak, powerless, dependent god of faithism.
Not the subjective god of existentialism.
Not the fear-generating spirit gods of animism.
Not the man-made gods of idolaters.
Not the fatalistic god of deism and Islam.
Not the graceless god of legalism.
Not even the god of Jewish theism.

As Christians we believe in the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ. Not an imaginary Jesus Christ, watered-down or beefed-up by human perceptions, but the Jesus Christ to whom the Old Testament testifies in anticipation of his incarnation, and to whom the New Testament testifies in reflection on his incarnation.

By responding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with repentance and faith we have acknowledged that the God revealed by Jesus Christ is the one, true God. We have changed our minds (that is the literal meaning of the Greek word translated repent), casting aside for ever all concepts of God other than what we see when we see Jesus Christ. We believe him in all of his claims: that he is the truth; that he and the Father are one; that when we see him we see God; that knowing him is knowing God; that if we do not honour him as God then we are not honouring God at all; that he is the Light of the world and apart from him all people walk in darkness.

The claims of Jesus Christ recorded in the Bible are transcendent claims. Absolute claims. No one who has truly believed and received this Jesus, this God, can ever again consider the possibility that any other true or real god exists.

As Christians we trust also in the promises made by Jesus Christ: that those who believe in him, those who believe that he is the One he claimed to be, are given freely, not because of any merit or personal effort, the gift of a union with him which can never be dissolved. This union is called eternal life, a union with Jesus Christ  in which all sin is forgiven, all guilt and condemnation removed for ever and stripped of their power to separate us from God. All of this the Bible calls salvation. All of this was accomplished by the sin-bearing death of Jesus Christ on the cross as our substitute. 

In this knowledge of God and this salvation there is joy, peace, assurance, contentment and freedom. In this knowledge there is no need and no desire to seek beyond Jesus Christ for further revelation, for deeper experience, for greater certainty. Indeed there is no point in such a search.

In knowing Jesus Christ the Christian knows the one ultimate, absolute, all-embracing and liberating truth. There is nothing beyond that. To seek beyond it is to despise the gracious, self-revealing act of God in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. To seek anything less is to deprive oneself of the ultimate treasure, the ultimate blessedness. To do either exposes unbelief.

I will finish this series on Worldviews with the exhortation with which John ended his first letter:

“We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.’ [1John 5:20-21]


Scriptures: John 14:6; 10:30; 12:44-46; 14:7-9; 5:23; 8:12; 3:16-20; 8:24; 5:24; Romans 3:21-31; 8:1; Colossians 1:22. Hebrews 10:19-22.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012