Dearly loved of Christ,
I have a confession to make:
I recently toyed with the idea of de-believing all that I have confessed in my faith!
In the last module of CTELT (a theology course in our church) that we took, we learned about the last things, and of the eternal destiny concerning those in Christ and those not.
We were taught that the two groups would land in very different places and with diametrically different “lives”.
When both my parents left this world without showing signs of faith, the possibility of their ending up in a place of eternal torment haunted me.
No, I am not intending to extend an expression of grief in public here.
The point I want to make is this: The thought was so painful and intense that I was tempted to just deny all of these: the reality of heaven and hell, of sins and penalty, of faith and the cross. I came close to the danger of allowing my inner state, my emotions, determine what Truth should be or should not be.
After all, the easiest way to escape from these hard truths is simply to not believe in them! That would be one convenient lever a person can pull to get an instant happiness.
If I de-believe all that I have learned and professed, I could immediately swing into the comforts of the many consoling words that romanticize the death of my parents: they are in a better place, they have been delivered from the pains of this world and are in the happy world. I do not have to be bothered by the image of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the thought of the unbearable heat which grills the rich man who sees “Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his (Abraham’s) bosom”. I do not have to worry if Mom and Dad had actually believed in the saving work of Christ: all these would become non-issues.
Problem solved by itself!
“Truth” be told, that seems to be the current trend of the world. People appear tired of the “Monopoly of Truth” by a Single Agent, much like they detest the Central Bank that governs and regulates the currency and prefer a version of truth woven in a blockchain style: everyone has a share in and some potential control over it!
This revolt against the Truth of God is not new.
When Pilate was confronted by Jesus’ declaration of the Truth about who He was and that He was indeed born to be a king (the King in fact), he had to determine which version of truth to follow, and hence he exclaimed, “What is Truth?” Sensing the inconvenience of things, Pilate literally took Truth into his own hands and delivered The King of Glory to the Cross.
So non-believers do that to ignore the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to maintain their living in sins and in wantonness. Paul describes that as “[holding] the truth in unrighteousness” in Romans 1: 18.
I suspect Christians sometimes resort to a similar process while still claiming to believe in some of these inconvenient truths. It is called discounting. We believe (or we say we believe), but we discount the real effect, or the real demand of the truths on us. We minimize the consequences, we excuse our tendency to not submit, always, fully, and whole heartedly to the Truth.
If there is an objective Truth out there, then by definition this Truth does not change according to our whims and fancies, (neither our fears, and for that matter, our hopes!), even though we may not understand all Truth. To deny it is therefore to deceive ourselves, and to discount it is to discount our responsibility and privilege to the Truth.
The Creator of all things has spoken. Truth has come in person.
We have only one option with Truth.
This article was contributed by Daniel Kwek and an earlier version was first published in a weekly bulletin on the 28th of January 2018.
Daniel Kwek was then serving as an elder in First Evangelical Reformed Church (Singapore). He describes himself as a mental health worker and an unworthy recipient of God’s mercy. Daniel also enjoys musing and mulling over issues!