Friday, 7 January 2011

The centre of my faith

Tonight I am giving my testimony at a meeting.  Here is what I prepared:
I was blessed to be brought up in a home with two parents who had a living faith in Jesus. As a child I could see the difference this made in their life and it showed me something of God’s reality. When I was eleven I was at a Scripture Union camp and responded to the challenge to ask Jesus into my life. However, despite early enthusiasm I kept quiet about my faith during my time in boarding school. When I arrived at college I decided that it was time to take faith seriously. I joined the Christian Union where I was influenced by thoughtful and enthusiastic Christians.
I often think it is ironic that people think that the Christian faith is not intellectually credible. I have read more books, done more thinking and engaged my mind more deeply than I ever would have if I was not a Christian. Some of the most intelligent people I have known have been Christians who are passionate about God and the Bible. However, getting my head around who God is has not always been plain sailing.
I believe that it makes sense that if God wants to have a meaningful relationship with people he would reveal himself to us so that we might know him. I don’t believe he has chosen to reveal himself through all the various religions of the world because then he would be giving us contradictory pictures of what he is like and so deny people the opportunity to truly know him. I believe there is good reason to trust the Bible as a reliable guide to knowing God.
However, accepting who God is has sometimes been a struggle for me. I have had to put aside the sentimental notions of God that I built up while in school—when I seemed to think that God simply wanted to be nice to people. I have had to relearn the gospel. I have had to come to terms with the fact that God is perfectly holy, has a hatred of sin, and will eternally punish those who refuse to acknowledge the truth and so be saved. I have also learned that God is rich in mercy, desires to see people come into a saving relationship with him, opens the eyes of the spiritually blind, and on the cross has perfectly satisfied God’s righteous anger for his people’s sin. The cross is at the centre of my faith. It is the reason that Christians can be confident before God. Because of it a glorious exchange has taken place which the apostle Paul writes of in one of my favourite verses: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

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