Thinking about God and whether or not he’s real or can be trusted? Ask some questions–questions are our friends. Before taking a step of faith, count the cost, and do some exploring. Don’t be intimidated or frustrated by your questions. Let them motivate you to seek answers. Jesus welcomes your pursuit and claims that when you “know the truth, the truth will set you free.” Here are five of ten important questions to ask when exploring faith with God.
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#1 Is God real?
Yes, God is real. And you are one of the best examples of his work. The complexity of your mind and body and its systems point towards a designer. This is the famous “watchmaker” view, originated by William Paley in the 18th century. Paley believed if you find a watch in a field, you would have to conclude by its design that there was a watchmaker.
I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. –Norman Geisler
We also know God is real because of moral law and creation. Moral law is the universal belief that things like murder, rape, and theft are wrong. As a result, there must be a moral lawgiver. Similarly, the splendor of the earth and universe speak on behalf of God, pointing toward a creator.
There is no way to “prove” God exists. My brief examples all have opposing views. But when you consider the above examples and others, the collective evidence provides a compelling argument for God. Ultimately, you have to be honest with yourself. Do you need God? Author Norman Geisler believes we all do: “Most non-theists claim they do not need God, but their own writings and experiences betray their position. But if there is a real need for God, it is far more reasonable to believe that there is a real God who can really fill this real need.”
#2 Is the Bible true?
Yes, it is. There are three tests commonly used to evaluate whether or not a document is historically reliable. The Bible passes all three tests with flying colors, far exceeding the expectations placed on other historical works deemed accurate.
The bibliographic test examines the number of copies we have and the time between the copies and the original manuscript. The New Testament was written in Greek, but when you include Latin and other languages, there are approximately 25,000 portions of copies available to be evaluated. Homer’s Illiad has the second most copies available in history: 643.
The internal evidence test evaluates the authorship of the writings. It asks whether or not the writers were in a position to accurately and reliably write what they did. In other words, can they be trusted? The New Testament authors were all eyewitnesses or gathered information from eyewitnesses. Equally as important, their audience was also a group of eyewitnesses, so their words could have quickly been challenged if they were not true.
The external evidence test asks whether the writing in question is consistent with what others have written. And, again, the Bible receives high marks as both religious and secular historians of all eras confirm the Bible’s authenticity, as do numerous archaeological discoveries.
The Bible is true. Upon that sacred volume I rest my hope of eternal salvation through the merits of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. –Andrew Jackson
But is it true? Can the Bible be trusted? Norman Geisler sums up the matter best: “We know that the Bible came from God for one straightforward reason: Jesus told us so. It is on His authority, as the God of the universe, that we are sure that the Bible is the Word of God. He confirmed the Old Testament’s authority in His teaching, and He promised an authoritative New Testament through His disciples. The Son of God Himself assures us that the Bible is the Word of God.”
#3 How is Christianity different from any other religion?
“Do versus Done.” I remember watching a pastor write those words on a whiteboard, as he explained the difference between religion and the Christian faith. As the quote below reveals, religion is man’s attempt to connect with God. It’s a series of teachings to believe and activities to practice that are monitored, graded, and repeated. As long as you do, say, and believe the right things (in the appropriate way and promptly), you remain eligible to connect with God or be accepted by God. In short, religion is defined by the things we do. As long as we do, we’re in good standing.
Man, in his creativity, has invented innumerable religions in his attempt to reach God. God, in His love, has given us [Jesus], in which God attempts to reach man. –Got Questions Ministries
Jesus changes everything. Because of his death on the cross, there’s nothing we need to do to have a relationship with God. Everything has been done . . . by Jesus. All we do is receive. That’s why Christians distinguish between religion and relationship. God offers a relationship through Jesus, one that’s not based on what you do, say, or think. So if you’re looking for freedom, forgiveness, direction, and support, the Christian faith offers that. And all you have to do is receive what Christ has already done on your behalf.
#4 How do I begin a relationship with God?
Say “yes” to God. Beginning a relationship with God doesn’t demand a fancy prayer, faithful church attendance, or bountiful acts of benevolence. All it requires is surrender. Wave the white flag and pray a prayer like this (the exact words aren’t necessary, just the heart behind the words):
“God, thank you for wanting a relationship with me. Forgive me for living life my way. I recognize it was sinful, selfish, and wrong. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that his death on the cross provides forgiveness and the chance to have a relationship with you. I want to live the rest of my life for you, following Jesus every day. I know I can’t do that on my own, so give me strength and courage through your Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Christ can and will save a man who has been dishonest, but He cannot save him while he is dishonest. Absolute candor is an indispensable requisite to salvation. –A.W. Tozer
While starting a relationship with God is just a prayer away, growing your relationship with God is work. But it will be the best job you’ll ever have. Imagine serving the God of the universe, empowered by God’s Spirit, amongst friends in the church. God made you to live life with him and for him.
#5 Why should I start a relationship with God?
Because that’s what you were made for! Jesus reminds us that “Apart from me you can do nothing.” If you want to truly live, if you desire to experience the life God intended, submit to God and let Jesus be the leader of your life.
So what can you expect? God has plans for your life, including . . .
- Acknowledging his love and power (also called worship)
- Developing authentic, trustworthy relationships with others in the church (also called fellowship)
- Growing spiritually, to become more and more like Jesus (also called discipleship)
- Encouraging and serving those inside the church (also called ministry)
- Building relationships with and serving those outside the church (also called evangelism)
Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction.… —J. I. Packer
Pastor and author Rick Warren’s book includes the story of Andrei Bitov, a Russian novelist, who grew up an atheist until God got his attention. In Bitov’s words:
In my twenty-seventh year, while riding the metro in Leningrad I was overcome with a despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: “Without God life makes no sense.” Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God’s light.
You are not an accident. God doesn’t do anything haphazardly. He has great plans for your life.
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QUESTION (leave a comment below)
What is the most common question you hear people ask who are exploring faith with God?