10.10.04

Certainty

I wonder if certainty in our beliefs ever gets in the way of belief. An odd question, but stay with me. This is a bit of a ramble, thinking as I go, so lets see.

I mean, we don't know if our beliefs our true with absolute certainty, not in the regular sense of the word anyway. That is why we need faith. Our faith can be absolutely certain, but that is a different thing. Wright put it something like this: you are aren't justified by faith by believing in justification by faith, you are justified by faith by believing in Jesus. So maybe what I am asking is if I have ever believed in my beliefs to much, and not in the person who is the basis and foundation of those beliefs.

To have the humility to admit that I could be wrong, not neccessarily about the larger things, but even about the smaller intricacies of my Christian faith, creates problems. I often hear about preachers who boldly declare that we must be certain of our salvation. The famous, worn out, questions: If you died tonight, do you know that you would wake up in heaven? But I wonder if salvation is one of those now/not yet things, and if it is, what does that mean for our certainty? (rom 13:11 "For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers...",php 2:12 "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" 1 pet 1:9 "...for you are recieving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls...", 1 pet. 2:2 "...that you may grow into your salvation". I only include not yet verses as those are the ones not often spoken about).
I also look at some great examples of the faith, i.e. francis of assisi, who was supposedly never certain of his salvation.

Is faith really the exlusion of doubt? I don't think so. I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis said, the only person he knew who claimed to have seen a ghost didn't believe in them.

So can we be to certain? can certainty get in the way? I think so. To much certainty denies we are human, fallible and fallen. To much certainty denies the process of growth in knowledge and wisdom.

I think we often forget we are called to be loving, not right. We are called to live as Christ lived, not to know what Christ knew.

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."
Matthew 22:37-40 "He said to him, " "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

3 comments:

Stefanie said...

Hello Andrew, this is Stefanie (from Toronto project 2001). I surfed onto your blog from Mindy's. Anyway, I just want to say that I completely agree that too much certainty gets in the way of growth. In fact, I was just thinking about this today and was going to blog about it myself, from a different angle. The big lesson for me was even if you are certain you are right about the smaller things, the greater goal is love, peace and mutual edification. Great post! Tell Kristina I said hi :)

Stefanie
sdot.blogspot.com

Andrew said...

Hey Stefanie

Good to hear from you. Its so wierd, I had no idea all these people I knew blogged, and now I keep finding out there are more :) I look forward to keeping up with your blog to.

God Bless :)

PakG1 said...

It is when we are willing to question our beliefs and have doubt that our faith can grow stronger on a solid foundation, no? A strange paradox, I admit. But I think certainty can be beneficial or detrimental to one's faith depending on the person's background. It takes a true potter to build up a clay pot that has been shattered, and if one is not a true potter, then I am not sure that one should try breaking what is already there, even if the intention is to build a better pot. This gift of teaching is privy to a few, mm? :)