Without Excuse? (PART 3)

There is yet a third powerful proof of the existence of God that renders Man 'without excuse'. It is probably the most surprising of them all. 

It is you, dear faithful child of God; if indeed that is what you are! Yes, the children of God are a proof in themselves: "...children born of God— born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but born of God." (Jn 1: 12-13) They will become a living, breathing testimony to the existence of God and the goodness of God and the justice of God. 

All people are a proof of Man's lost condition of course; of our need for God, and our need for a Savior. Our heartaches and our struggles; our loneliness and our estrangement; the burdens of worry and guilt and fear and despair, all of this is what Thomas Shepard, the wonderful Puritan writer, once claimed is "stamped on the brow" of the whole human race. 

And so, isn't it remarkable when someone is changed? Something entirely different and new has come upon some and it cannot be ignored. A person walks away from the bondage of his past and begins a brand new life with a new perspective, a new way of thinking; new joys, new hopes, and completely different answers to the questions of life. 

And—oh!—new motivations! My!—what a testimony we find in that realm! Suddenly this person no longer lives for himself; he sets his sights on a higher cause; he lives for the good of others; he seems driven no longer to "take" but to "give". Though he has spent half his life pursuing his desires, his greatest desire now is to please Someone else! 

How can one possibly account for this change? Where does it come from? Is there some earthly profit to be gained, perhaps? No! Not at all! In fact, this new life loses friends and family and the favor of the world! There is no earthly profit on the agenda for him! And yet, he will not trade what he has now gained for anything he might have lost! 

Perhaps he's just a fool—just stupid—as the world might suggest. Or perhaps he's deranged; out of his mind. But he seems, in every other regard, to be thoughtful, intelligent and sound of mind. 

Perhaps, then, he's driven by a slavish fear of death and Hell. But that's just the point; he now seems so free! This new life of his has brought liberty, not bondage. He now has no fear of death whatsoever; is willing to risk it, in fact, for what he has gained! 

And all of this is a change that the world must reckon with! 

Here is the truth of it all dear ones. The changed lives of the children of God are an inescapable 'proof' that there is a God; that He is real; that He has loved us and will save us! And all the world must reckon with that! Think about this: the presence of just one changed life is enough to condemn all the world for its unbelief and its rejection of God. After all, if one person found deliverance and liberty and newness of life, so might we all! How can we justify rejecting it as "myth"; or calling it a "foolish impossibility" now? 

Think of it! Just one is enough! 

I remember reading the remarkable story of Johannes Brahms' notorious Violin Concerto in D Major. From the very first auditions, this thing was spurned and despised as something "impossible to play". 

And not just by a few: all the world seemed to share in that assessment: 

Henryk Wieniawski, the world-renowned violinist called it "unplayable" and refused to perform it. 

The Spanish virtuoso, Pablo de Sarasate vowed never to "humiliate" himself with the attempting of it. 

Conductors declined to perform the premiere of the piece. Hans von Bulow was one of them, complaining that it was "not a concerto for the violin, but against the violin." 

The verdict was obviously in! This was an impossible piece of music. No man could ever perform it. Brahms had made a colossal mistake! 

Well...it was in fact a terribly challenging piece; there is still no doubt about that. 

But by New Years Day, 1879, Brahms had found his man, and the concerto finally premiered. Brahms himself had to do the conducting! 

The violinist's name was Joseph Joachim. He stepped up onto the rostrum with violin in hand...and nailed it! 

And the entire world of music was proven wrong...and put to shame! 

Likewise with the Truth of Christ, dear ones! It will take only one changed life to prove the world wrong and put it to shame. And we read, of course, about numberless "great clouds" of them all! (Heb 12:1) 

See you Sunday! RAS 


Pastor's Note: I don't want any credit for this series of three articles: much of their content, wording and even the three main points, come from Thomas Shepard's wonderful sermon The Sincere Convert. It's a bit difficult to read in the original, but I liked it so much I decided just to rephrase it all in my own way, so as to pass it on to you. So let these articles be credited to Thomas Shepard, or better yet, to the Holy Spirit that inspired him! RAS


The 'Radical' Christian
Without Excuse? (PART 2)