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The Bible - What is a Testament?

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The Bible is divided into Old and New Testaments

But what is a "testament"?

A testament gives a testimony.  A testimony testifies that certain things/events are true by giving reliable evidence (just like they would in court).  The Old and New Testaments of the Bible testify about God by giving evidence of God's existence, what he is like and his activity the world.  However, these testaments are not proof of God's existence. That might sound strange but it is perfectly logical.  There are two reasons why the Bible, although completely true and inspired by God, is not 100% proof of God.  Before digging into that, lets briefly put things into perspective. 

From God's perspective, we have no excuse for not believing because the evidence is there (Romans 1:20).
From man's perspective, faith is required to believe since the evidence points to something unseen (Hebrews 1:1).

So, from God's perspective, the testimony is true but from man's perspective he/she still needs to receive and believe that testimony (John 3:31-33) for its truth to be experienced.  Lets have a closer look at why the Old and New Testaments are a testimony (and a true on at that) but not 100% proof of God's existence.

  1. Proof is a very subjective thing. Some people need more proof than others. Some will never have enough. For example: one of Jesus disciples, called Thomas, was given the dubious name: doubting Thomas.  The reason is that after Jesus resurrection he proclaimed that no matter how many of his friends claimed to see Jesus, he would not believe their testimony unless he saw Jesus himself.  Read what he said from John's gospel, chapter 20 and verse 25....

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

Jesus did eventually appear to Thomas but rebuked him when he did. We read this just a few verses on in John 20:29...

“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

There are also those who don't want to believe, despite the evidence, because their hearts are hardened towards God. Thomas' heart was not hardened, he just had lots of doubts.  However, some of the religious leaders of the day had heardened hearts. To keep the account of Jesus resurrection from being spread, they bribed the Roman guards who were guarding the tomb to say Jesus' disciples stole the body. This was not what the guards experienced. We read what really happened in Matthew's gospel, chapter, 28 and verses 1-4...

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look a the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, from an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightening, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.”

  1. The other reason why the Old and New Testaments are not 100% proof of God is that if they were, you would not need faith to believe! This is vital to understand because the Bible says without faith, you cannot please God. Faith is of the utmost importance. We are saved by faith and through grace (Ephesians 2:8). The Bible itself says you must have faith to believe that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 6 in the New Testament). If you are earnestly seeking him, he will reveal himself to you through his word but he will still require faith of you. Faith that shows itself by your actions.  The first actions are to repent of sin and begin following Jesus as the risen Christ.  If the Bible was 100% undeniable proof, there would be no need for faith! However, having said that, faith is not blind, it acts on evidence. 

God has provided powerful evidence in creation, your conscience, his inspired Word (the Bible), the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and in Jesus Christ himself. 

In fact, while the evidence is not 100%, which would require no faith at all, it is so undeniable that God says on the day of judgement those who reject him will be without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).  So please, check out the evidence and don't let your doubts or pride keep you out of heaven.  The Bible says that all who receive Jesus by faith, he will accept and welcome into his eternal kingdom as his children (John 1:11-12)

SUMMARY – Parachutes and Wheelbarrows.

You don't need faith to know that God exists, you just need eyes that can see and a brain that works.

That's why all who reject God are without excuse because the evidence is there. However, you need faith to come to God and live a life that pleases him. When the Bible talks about being saved from God's wrath against your sin by having faith in him, the faith spoken of is not simply intellectual acceptance of God's existence. The devil believes in God in this way but he most certainly does not have faith in God – and he will never be saved. When the Bible speaks of faith that saves, it is talking about personal TRUST. Personal trust is more than belief with your mind. Its personally putting your life in God's hands and showing that by obeying what he commands.

Here's a couple of examples: the PARACHUTE and the WHEELBARROW

  1. You don't believe in a parachute, you trust in a parachute and put it on. You can say, “Sure I believe that this parachute will save a person when they jump out of a plane.” Or you can show that you trust in the parachute by putting it on and jumping. You need to put Jesus on because one day you will make the jump from this life to the next and to jump without Christ will mean you end up in hell. You need to put your personal trust in him.

  1. Since a parachute is not a very personal thing, here's a more personal example of the difference between belief and trust. In 1860 a Royal party from Britan saw the French acrobat, Charles Blondin cross Niagra Falls on a tightrope. Blondin was 160 feet above the falls on a rope over 1,000 feet long. They watched him cross the tightrope on stilts and blindfolded. He then stopped halfway and cooked a meal on a portable cooker. Next he wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other, and returned with a sack of potatoes in it. Blondin then approached the Royal party. He asked the Duke of Newcastle,

    "Do you believe I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?"

    "Yes, I do" , said the Duke.

    "Hop in, then" , replied Blondin.

    The Duke declined. He believed Blondin could do it, but he was not willing to trust him with his life. The Bible says, it takes faith (trust) to please God. And God has given us all the evidence we need to know that he is trustworthy.

Will you trust him?


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