“ ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD…”
Never fear intelligence. Keep in mind that it was God who gave us this priceless gift. He designed it for the high purpose of giving us the joy of knowing Him. Our intellectual capacity is an essential part of our created uniqueness. It provides us with the profound privilege of reason and experiencing God’s fellowship. Our faith is developed naturally through our response to His divine revelation. We can see His limitless power expressed throughout the universe’s infinite expanse. It is devoid of any boundaries. His handprints are vividly revealed in creation, history, and even the periodic activity of His angels. Most notably, we find His character and holiness displayed in the matchless person of – His Son!
It was God’s sacrificial revelation of grace that provided the opportunity for mankind to enjoy His indwelling presence and future kingdom. He fashioned us in His likeness after already having a timeless plan. This is why we experience a natural hunger for eternal – Truth! The Bible says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Historically, secular philosophers have typically demonstrated a limited passion for discovering ultimate Truth – instead they have avoided it by merely speculating about its existence!
God’s Word warns us about the danger of empty “…philosophy and vain deceit…” (Colossians 2:8) Eternal Truth – casts a revealing light on the influence of secular humanistic thinking. Mankind’s spiritually un-enlightened reasoning simply likes to move in circles producing endless questions. It thrives on a misguided disdain for absolutes. To say, “There are no absolutes,” is an absolute statement which contradicts itself and defies common sense; instead, the Bible timelessly explains, “All His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.” (Psalm 111:7, 8)
Ironically, it is the act of admitting the lack of spiritual knowledge – that defines the moment when knowledge begins (see Proverbs 1:7)! It is when eternal Truth is at last discovered that the missing pieces of life finally start coming together! Then, almost effortlessly, sincere seekers find their purpose and enjoy newfound peace. This happens as they begin walking in the Holy Spirit’s light and seeing their own imperfections with new understanding. As an example, following Paul’s conversion when he was still in his early years of service, he described himself as “…the least of all the apostles…” (1 Corinthians 15:9) Later, after many years of amazing ministry he again described himself; but this time as, “…the worst of all sinners.” In that awareness, he wrote, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) This is to be our attitude.
Prayerfully contemplate the words written to Timothy by Paul who was once very proud. Now he is profoundly humble and is serving God as an apostle to the Gentiles.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.” (1 Tim. 1:15-16)
“When,” you might ask, “did Paul so clearly come to see his own imperfections?” There is but one answer. This took place slowly as he viewed his life over time in the pure light of Christ who was sinless!
Progressively, Paul came to comprehend his own immaturity, pride, and other forms of human weaknesses. Said simply, this same experience must personally happen to every Christian who is actually growing. The Bible explains, “…in Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9b) Paul ultimately viewed himself in stark contrast with his Savior (see Philippians 3:8). His writing reveals that his mind came to recognize that Immanuel, “…God with us” (Matthew 1:23) was His Father’s chosen standard of perfection! The Son of Man was in fact the very picture of His “… Father’s glory…”! (see Hebrews 1:3)
When Thomas was invited to physically touch the resurrected Savior (see John 20:27) this took place because of his lingering stubborn doubt. He seemed to actually be afraid of exercising his – faith!
In view of Thomas’ many personal experiences, his continued doubt seemed remarkably illogical. Did he not yet understand what he had recently witnessed when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? Remember that he was actually present when the blind began to miraculously see, and the lame were suddenly able to walk. He closely observed the thousands who were satisfied after eating the meager loaves and fish which he himself helped serve. Yet, somehow in spite of all he had experienced and heard the Lord say about dying and being raised after three days, he nevertheless, still doubted! He said, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25b)
Thomas’s repeated failure to accurately process the facts was a failure to use his own reason. In spite of this, knowing Thomas’ heart, the Lord patiently provided still another opportunity to bless him!
The risen Lord spoke to Thomas giving him clear instructions, “…stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27c) Instantly he obeyed and started trusting what he already knew to be true. In that unforgettable moment he found himself. Then, when he closely observed Jesus’ pierced resurrected body, he finally declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
Jesus’ physical condition had long been predicted by David when he wrote about the Messiah saying, “They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and they cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:16-18) From the hour that Thomas confessed his faith, he became the Lord’s strong witness confirming His bodily resurrection. Based on Asian history, he traveled to India as a missionary and successfully founded numerous Christian churches there during the first century.
When our minds respond slowly to – God’s revealed Truth, our gracious Lord remains patient. However, we must learn to honor His invitation to “reason together” about unchanging Truth. Then we can become His effective witnesses like Thomas! .
By Billie Hanks Jr.