I recently watched a five-minute interview on cable TV in which Joy Reid spoke with well-known Evangelical pastor and best-selling author Timothy Keller. Over the years Keller has counseled innumerable men and women facing mortality. Either their own or that of a loved one.
A few months ago Keller was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Reid had a rather direct question for him: "Do you believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?"
Keller paused for a moment.
Reid asked again, “Do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead?”
Keller drew a deep breath and replied, “Yes. I have believed it as a theory for decades; but now that I am facing death I have learned to believe it as a certainty. I do believe in the resurrection.”
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the defining teaching that separates Christianity from every other religion (1 Corinthians 15). Without the certainty of this belief, Christians are nothing more than a spiritual fruit salad of the delusional variety.
So my question to all of us is, Do you believe that Jesus died and rose again? Do you believe it as a theory or a certainty?
What about the rest of what the Bible teaches? What of the 28 teachings we label as fundamental beliefs? Do you believe them for a certainty, or do you merely hold to them as a theory (maybe just until something captures your interest?) Do you allow anything else to compete for relevance with the Word of God?
Is the Sabbath the seal of God in theory or certainty?
Is the soon return of Jesus Christ, in the clouds of heaven, to take us Home (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor 2:9) a theory or certainty?
What of God’s promise to forgive us totally for the sins we have committed? Theory or certainty?
If you were to fall asleep in Jesus in the next few days, would you find yourself banking on a theory, or would you be at peace because you have settled these questions once and for all? Does your certainty rest in a personal experience that the Word of God does not fail? That the teachings and promises of Scripture can be trusted? That the Promise Maker is the Promise Keeper?
May a deepening, growing, vibrant faith that rests in the certainty of an unchanging Savior be ours today and in the days ahead.