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New Testament record is thoroughly reliable
9:50am Monday 30th April 2012 in Opinion
Truly, I feel sorry for those correspondents (Letters, April 19) who do not feel able to believe that Jesus Christ really died and rose from the dead.
If Jesus did NOT rise from the dead and ascend into heaven then none of us has any hope for the future (1 Corinthians 15:19).
But the truth of the New Testament record is thoroughly reliable, as countless millions of believers can testify, who have really experienced what it means to be born again (born of God's Spirit - John 3) and have Christ dwelling in their hearts.
When God-given faith takes a hold in the heart of a believer, he cannot doubt the Bible record because that same Spirit of God witnesses to our spirit that we are the sons of God; and we enjoy a daily relationship with God through Jesus Christ - the most joyous privilege imaginable. But it is not imaginary - it is as real as our relationship with our family and friends.
Of course these things sound incredible to the unbeliever. The atheist and the agnostic have no experience of this wonderful privilege of sonship. Consequently true Christians are despised and, in some parts of the world, persecuted disgracefully. It has always been so. (1 John 3:13) Jesus Christ often said: "He that has ears to hear, let him hear", clearly indicating that many people would never listen to the Gospel and put their trust in Him.
But those who have spiritual hearing and understanding do hear God's word and are required by Christ to witness to the truth. Even the Psalmist said: "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so". (Psalm 107:2).
This newspaper should be deluged with letters from Christians declaring their faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. We should always be ready to give an account of our reasons for believing, and not dismayed by those who claim that "scholars" have disputed these things. The unbelieving scholars of Jesus' day (Scribes and Pharisees) were the very people who sought to kill Him. (Read Matthew chapters 23 and 26).
The life, death and resurrection of Christ were all planned by God Himself. And the glorious work of atonement was completed when, on the cross, Jesus cried out: "It is finished".
We should rejoice in these facts and strengthen our faith by daily study of the scriptures, never forgetting that the Jesus whom we worship is both Creator of the universe (John 1:3) and the One who "upholds all things by the word of His power". (Epistle to the Hebrews, ch.1, vv. 1-3).
Michael J. Salts