trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Open to Reason?

God calls us to be ready with reasons.

Reason in the Service of Faith (1)

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORDIsaiah 1.18

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear… 1 Peter 3.15

A reason for hope
The apostle Peter, following the encouragement of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, commands the followers of Jesus Christ to be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3.15). This is not an option, and it’s not a calling reserved for some apologetical storm trooper. Every believer is in contact with people whose lives are being consumed by the lies of our day. Our calling, as citizens of the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit, is to represent Jesus as His ambassadors and witnesses so that others will see in us a hope they do not possess and will be open to learning about the source of this. At such times, we must be prepared with an explanation, which we will present as reasonably and lovingly as we can.

A “reason” – the Greek is ἀπολογία, apologia, “defense” or “reason” – is simply an answer to an inquiry, an explanation, laid out simply and logically, the purpose of which is to account for the hope others see in our lives. Both Jesus and Paul understood the need to employ reasoning skills in presenting the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Reason is the means whereby we may hope to break through the layers of ignorance, misunderstanding, misinformation, deceit, and lies with which many people’s minds are clouded, to help them get a good, clear look at the truth of the Gospel. Reason won’t save anyone. But reason can pave the way for grace to enter the heart via the Word and Spirit of God.

But are people in our day really open to reasoning about religion?

Making sense of things
As many may see it, our generation has become so mired in self and whatever wrong-believing rationalizations may be required to sustain a lifestyle of indulgence and sensuality, that it’s just no longer possible – or, at least, highly unlikely – to discuss calmly, intelligently, and rationally anything that might call into question their preferred manner of life.

And that may be true for many of the people we will encounter. Many, but not all.

The fact is, people today still function rationally; they still depend on their ability to reason to make sense out of their lives and to make it through each day. The problem is not that people today are immune to reason; it’s that their ability to reason is trapped in an “under the sun” paradigm which maintains a closed roof against spiritual truth. They are prisoners to the lie. They’re still reasoning, they’re just reasoning within a closed universe and ignoring the larger reality of God and His will.

What we as believers and witnesses must do is learn to use reason, not to batter a hole in that ceiling, but to lead our unbelieving friends to remove some of the roof tiles, so that they might glimpse the larger reality that has thus far lay beyond their purview.

Reason can help them accomplish this important task, just as it helped Nicodemus, for example, begin thinking in a new way about what it means to live unto the Lord (Jn. 3.1-17).

Beyond reach?
Still, even if we succeed in getting our friends to peer into the opened roof of their own worldview then beyond to the larger, brighter, purer realm of the Gospel, can we really expect to make this wonderful Good News make sense to them?

After all, the proponents of an atheistic, materialistic, and hedonistic worldview are so many! Their voices assault our generation through the media, pop culture, political speech, and everyday conversations. They have been aggressive and outspoken; and the entire drift of the social, moral, and cultural spirit of the age is contrary to the Gospel in so many ways. As David lamented in Psalm 12, we are awash with lies. Lies have become de rigueur for this generation, and the effect is to corrupt reason and obscure truth. We might be tempted to think that our contemporaries are simply beyond the reach of any explanation of Jesus and His work.

And, indeed, our age can be so given to passion and whim that any reasoned attempt to make sense of the Gospel could be rebuffed as boring, irrelevant, or simply absurd. That’s the risk we run.

Our responsibility is not to convince others of the truth of the Gospel, only to represent that truth in a reasoned and loving manner, to use reason to create a handrail for leading our friends along an unfamiliar path, one that will both show them some problems with their own worldview – problems they have not yet noticed – and which will insist that the Gospel is the truth our friends really need to make their lives make sense. 

As in every age, not everyone will be agreeable to such a reasoned explanation of the Gospel. However, some will. And, if only for the sake of the “some,” we need to be ready with a reasonable explanation of the Good News for every opportunity the Lord might place before us.

Our calling is not merely to stop the progress of lies. It is to advance the truth that is in Jesus Christ through our lives and witness. And to this end, we must be faithfully in daily obedience and always ready to explain the hope that radiates from us in everything we do.

For reflection
1. Why must we be ready to explain the hope that is within us?

2. What do you think is involved in getting ready to do that?

3. Reason won’t save anyone. But what can reason do, if we learn to use it faithfully, carefully, and lovingly?

Next steps – Preparation: What does hope look like? How do you express the hope you have in Jesus in your daily life?

T. M. Moore

You can download all the studies in this series, “Let God Be True,” by clicking here.

A companion book to this study, Understanding the Times, is available at our bookstore. Learn more about this book and order a free copy by clicking here.

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. We ask the Lord to move and enable many more of our readers to provide for the needs of our ministry. Please seek Him in prayer concerning your part in supporting our work. You can
contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.