Questions of Faith
Does God Exist?
This is the most important question we can ask, because the answer to this question determines the answers to all other questions.
God has revealed himself to us in four ways.
- Nature reveals God to us. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him” (Psalm 8:3,4).For most of the 20th century, scientists believed that the universe was eternal, but opinion has changed. Now, most scientists believe that the universe had a beginning. If so, it must have had a Beginner, because nothing can come from nothing. Scientists have calculated the possibility of our universe happening by chance as one in a trillion trillion. These are staggering odds, and it actually takes more faith to believe that the universe and all life happened by chance than it does to believe that a Divine Being brought it all into existence according to his plan.
- We each have an inner guide, which we call our conscience. This is humanity’s sense of right and wrong, which is similar across all cultures. All societies have a moral code, which condemns such things as stealing, lying and murder. This inbuilt sense of right and wrong is a testimony to God’s existence as our maker.
- Jesus Christ has revealed God to us. His followers, the people who spent their lives with him during his ministry recognised this. Simon Peter told Jesus: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Even the devils recognised Jesus as God, and obeyed him. This story is told in Mark’s Gospel, chapter five.
- The Bible is God’s revelation of himself to us. The gospel story is the culmination of God’s love, the proof that he has never abandoned this world.
In every practical decision of life, we must choose on the basis of the weight of evidence. It is the same with God. God has revealed himself in many ways, but he still gives us freedom to make our own decisions about him.
The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Everything in life makes more sense when seen in the light of God’s existence and love.
The Bible reveals a God who not only created and directs the universe, but who is Love, and who loves his creation. After reading about God in the Bible, we must decide. God either matters tremendously or he doesn’t matter at all. It depends on our attitude to the revelation of God in his Word. If he is to be in our lives what the sun is to the solar system, dwarfing all else, we can live in confidence that our lives have a plan and that God is our ultimate Father and Guide.
Does God love me?
The Bible says that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). In fact, the Bible could be said to be the story of God’s love for the people he has created. “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” God says in Jeremiah 31:3, “Therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
The ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us is the life and sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation. In the most famous verse of the Bible, we are told: “God loved the world so much he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).
So God loves ‘the whole world’! But does that mean that God loves me – loves each human being personally and individually? After all, we know our faults. And we know that God is perfect and sinless. So how can God, who, we are told, hates sin (Psalm 11:7) love sinners? The answer to this question lies in the very nature of God, that he is Love itself. We can understand this dimly when we consider a mother’s love for her child. It doesn’t depend on the child deserving her love: she loves her child regardless of whether that love is merited. The Bible also reminds us “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). We know that this happens, and we see such people as heroes. God’s love surpasses all our human love in its demonstration at Calvary.
The Bible stories exist to help you understand about God’s love and care for individual people. Reflect on the stories of Ruth, David, Abraham, Joseph, and many others. They were all individual people, but God acted in their lives to lead, protect and direct them. He is no different today than he was then. The Bible tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The ultimate proof of God’s love is his action: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).
And if you still doubt God’s love for you personally, consider these words of Jesus: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me” (John 6:37 NLV).
How Can I Be Saved?
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31 NIV), the apostle Paul told his jailer. Paul was echoing Jesus’ own message, which he repeated many time to many different people during his ministry.
Jesus told Nicodemus: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 NIV).
God’s work of salvation is already done and complete. The Bible describes Jesus as “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 NIV), and “God chose him [Jesus] as your ransom long before the world began…” (1 Peter 1:20 NLT). “But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The plan to save you was made and enacted long before you were born.
The gospel tells you if you believe in Jesus, and for as long as you believe in Jesus, you are already saved. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life” (1 John 5:11-12).
“…he saved us, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Saviour. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7 NET).
So the Bible makes it very clear that salvation is not a result of anything we do: it is possible because of what Jesus has done. There is only one way we can be saved: by accepting the gift that is offered to us by trusting in Jesus for it. This is called faith. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that we are saved by grace through faith, but that even that faith is a gift from God.