“Truth by definition excludes.” – Ravi Zacharias
Universalism and pluralism are on the rise according to the Barna Research Group (2011). In fact, the Barna Research Group (2011) indicated that now 25% of born again Christians believe that all people will eventually go to heaven regardless of religious affiliation in this life. Moreover, the reasoning behind this belief is due to the assumption that most religions have the same teachings, and that they the main differences is the means by which the same things are taught (Barna Research Group, 2011). Though universalism seems to be widely accepted by both the Christian and secular populous in some manner, it is not difficult to discern the clear, even fatal flaws in this form of philosophy.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7, ESV
As writer for Christianity Today JoHannah Reardon discusses, the occurrence of the word fear in reference to God is found throughout the Bible a mind-boggling 300 times. If this is the case, then surely the fear of the Lord is a biblical principle that is of relatively large importance. After all, it is the foundation of the entire book of Proverbs. However, the use of the word fear and God in the same sentence does not compute well with our minds. Is not God loving and approachable? In fact, Hebrews encourages us to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.” There is room for both of these concepts to not only coexist, but to also to live in harmony. The fear of God is often ignored due to the confusion that can arise from it, but with deeper investigation, the point of this principle can become abundantly clear.
Now, my fellow Christ Followers, before you go and get defensive or overly offended at what you think this title means, let’s both have some wisdom and practice this proverb:
Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” –
This verse always reminds me of a man that I will inevitably have to mention named Socrates. Socrates was famous for many things, one of them is the assertion of this statement:
– “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” –
There are a few variations of this quote due to the several interpretations through only secondhand sources, some of which even substitute the word “knowledge” with “wisdom.” Either way, there is a common theme between what Socrates observed as well as the formerly mentioned verse from Proverbs, and that theme is humility. Socrates, in my opinion, was not trying to say that wisdom was attained through knowledge but rather the prerequisite to knowledge which is inquisitiveness. You cannot seek the knowledge of something without admitting you don’t know that knowledge. In a similar way, Proverbs teaches us that wisdom is enabled by “The fear of the Lord.”
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18, ESV
I am one of the most prideful people I know. I approach every situation as if I have something invaluable to offer, even when it comes to my relationship with Christ. So often when I pray I offer my own strengths to God as if they are my own. I live my life as if without him I am perfectly capable of doing nearly anything. I compartmentalize my spiritual life to fifteen minutes a day, then continue to carry on like God should not permeate every aspect of my life.
“for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3: 26-29, ESV
I hesitated to post something on modern racism in America because it seemed just too controversial. However, after pondering about how polarizing of a topic this can be, I thought it not only appropriate but necessary to speak to it. As Galatians says, we are all one in Christ Jesus. God made people different to help translate his imaginative genius, and this must be appreciated. This is an attempt to help reconcile and understand both viewpoints because we are commanded to love another by Jesus himself.
“But he answered, ‘It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4, ESV
Surely we have all heard a statement such that God alone and what he says shall satisfy and give us life over anything of this world. In theory, this is logical and makes sense that reliance on God should, in any circumstance, outweigh reliance and hope in the world. However, the idea of the voice of God has always been an enigma to me. If you were to ask any Christian how the voice of God is manifested, there would be an enormously wide range of answers. I feel as if I am constantly searching a barren wasteland looking for the voice of God, and end up feeling utterly alone. So, what truly is the voice of God?