March 2019

 

My Lord, My Apologetics

by Tom McLemore

 

        The Christian is continually under the mandate of 1 Peter 3:15.  “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.”  I wonder if folks realize that Christ as Lord provides all the apologetics (defense) that is needed!

        Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?  Do you trust him as Savior and reverence him as Lord?  If so, then you know that whatever he said is true.  He declared, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).  So when someone calls you or me to account for a defense of the hope that is in us, what may we do?  We may simply offer them the gospel of Jesus Christ.  By that I mean the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Why do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?  It is because reliable eye-witnesses saw him alive after his death and burial (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).  He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4).

        Consider the apologetic impact of acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  At the same time one acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God, one acknowledges the existence of God whose Son Jesus is.  At the same time one acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God, one accepts the Scriptures as the word of God, for Jesus declared them to be the inspired word of God that cannot be broken (John 10:35).  At the same time one acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God, one concedes the truth of scriptural account of creation, Adam and Eve, the flood, and the story of Jonah, for Jesus affirmed all of these things.  At the same time one acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God, one admits that the teaching of the Scriptures is the standard of moral behavior, for Jesus declared it to be so.  At the same time one acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God, one acknowledges the reality of angels, heaven, hell, the final resurrection, the coming judgment, atonement for sin by the sacrificial death of Jesus, and the one true church of our Lord, for Jesus vouched for the reality of all of these things.

        Of course, there are manifold evidences that are continually being offered and that may be considered as proof of the truth of these things, and those evidences are readily available for us to study and present to someone who calls you and me to account for a defense of the hope that is in us.  However, in my opinion, they are secondary.  The primary evidence is JESUS.  In the final analysis, all apologetics must end with acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God.  No other acknowledgment is of any eternal value apart from that.  No salvation is available without that.  So, I say, let’s begin with that!

        It seems to me that there are Christians who need first to apply this apologetic to  themselves.  Increasingly, there are Christians who think they reverence Christ as Lord in their hearts, and yet they deny many of the things Jesus affirmed.  Just as reverencing Christ as Lord is the apologetic that can lead unbelievers to believe and obey him, believers in him must realize that the Jesus who acknowledged all the truths we considered above is the only Jesus there is!  Believers in Jesus cannot have him and at the same time embrace an uninspired Bible, organic evolution, same-sex marriage, denominationalism, and etc.!  “Anyone who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).    For Jesus to be one’s true Lord is for one to accept all of his truth, as the truth is in Jesus (Ephesians 4:21).

        Just as Paul showed that there is no resurrection if Christ is not raised (1 Corinthians 15), a Jesus who affirmed that which is not true is no real Savior.  Think of the implication of claiming Jesus as Savior while at the same time denying what Jesus affirmed!  The truth is that Jesus is Savior, and everything he said is true.  And we can be sure of it because he was raised from the dead and designated Son of God by his resurrection.  My Lord is my apologetics.  Is he yours?

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