All Things

How do we know what to believe? 

Once we know the truth, how do we know we are making good decisions? 

As we wake every morning to the pandemic and the government response to it, it is very natural to try to understand what is going on and why certain things are happening. This is normal and healthy. A working knowledge of what is going on around us is necessary to life. It is not poor theology or a lack of faith to check the weather forecast in the morning in order to know how to dress for the day. Cold is a fact of life to be dealt with. 

Additionally, understanding choices and the consequences of those choices is the responsibility of all thinking people. Ignore the facts confronting you and there will be consequences. Don’t wear a coat and you may be cold. Take a coat and be warm. It is a primary responsibility of parents to teach children that they are making choices that will bring appropriate rewards or consequences. If you pick up your toys quickly we will have time for a story (reward). If you continue to ignore instruction, we won’t have time for a story (consequence). These are important lessons. If you choose to sleep in every day instead of going to work – your choice – your consequences, and those consequences often impact others. Understanding this cause and effect nature of reality is not only logical and necessary for an organized society, it is Biblical. 

If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.” 1 Samuel 12:14-15 

A Biblical worldview introduces right and wrong into the decision making process. Without the Biblical view, decisions and actions are very different from those guided by moral principles. Fact – if your neighbor has a lot of money and you don’t, it may seem simple and justifiable to take some of his money when he’s not home.  This is as logical as putting on a coat because the weather forecast says it will be cold. The choices we make change when we introduce some other facts.  

“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:3-6 

Much of the Christian life involves this interplay of cause and effect and understanding when and how to apply God’s Word to decision making. Dealing with the unexpected and the unknown, from injustice and death to inconvenience requires wisdom to know how to think and act according to all the facts.  

Weather forecasts state things as if they are truth/facts, but we all know that if weather forecasters were fired for not being 100% accurate – there wouldn’t be any forecasters left! Only God is always right. If we assume the best intentions on the part of those studying COVID19 and political leaders, what they are telling us is much like the weather forecast. They don’t really know. If the weather forecast or COVID19 information is wrong, how should God’s people respond? We should respond according to the ultimate truth 

When we are able to see the good that comes from a bad situation we should thank God for that. However, that is not what this verse and this passage are teaching. What Paul is saying is similar to what we read in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”In this life, in this fallen physical world, I will never see clearly. I only know part of what’s going on. 

We know, we only know in part, and we know that all things work out for good. The danger is to believe – as with so many of the things we deal with in life – that it is about us. We want it to be about us, and it is not. The culture and the philosophy of the age tell us it’s about us, but it isn’t. It is about God and His sovereignty. Romans 8:28 is often quoted as a proof for an expectation of all kinds of good things coming to us through our life experiences, but the issue being addressed is not my or your personal well-being or even our understanding of what’s going on.  

The context for Romans 8:28 is within a passage that isn’t focusing on us, but rather (as the verse says) on “His purpose”. It is not about predictability and happy, happy, happy. It is about trying to understand the what ifs, assumptions and predictions of the world the best we can. When we make a wrong choice we’ve done the best we know how to do. When God speaks directly to us with how to think and respond from a Biblical, God-centered understanding, the only ‘if’ is the exercise of our will.  In other words, we should respond to the predictions of what might happen in the reality of what we know to be unchanging truth.  

 

How do we know what to believe? 

Consider the information from men, but know that only God’s Word can be trusted as absolute truth. 

Once we know the truth, how do we know we are making good decisions? 

View every situation through the lens of God’s Word. If God addresses it we have a clear choice between right and wrong. If it is not clarified by scripture make the best choice you can with the information you have and trust in the fact that “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.“