Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Becoming A Truth Substantialist

A Devotion By Dan Guinn

Throughout Francis Schaeffer’s works he uses an adjective that has come to be of great value to me. That word is “substantial.” To unpack this we need to understand that Schaeffer was a spiritual realist, in that he placed emphasis on the “reality” of both human pain, dilemma and sin in the world, and the “reality” of the supernatural nature of the universe. He came to this conclusion by simply understanding the creation story.

In Genesis 1:26, it describes mankind as being created in God’s image, after His likeness. Due to this foundational maxim, mankind has dignity, meaning and worth. Yet, in Gen. 3, we know that mankind fell from this place of honor. Due to this, mankind obscures the likeness of God of which we are patterned after in a very real way, we are now trapped in the mire of sin. Yet thankfully, God sent His Son to free us, and return us to our former state, and display the true likeness for which we were intended, the likeness of Christ.

However, the problem for the Christian, in living in the likeness of Christ, is that although we are now free to do so, we still live in a fallen world. We still stand in the mud, so to speak. Moreover, living like Christ and helping others in this mud is a messy business. It is not always clean-cut, or easy. In fact the Christian finds that even our own person is struggling against us (the sin nature within).

So what do we do? How much healing is possible in this life?

There are two very poor roads that are often taken. One is just to accept that we are sinners and just realize that we are going to fall and give into temptation. Second is to get so rigid that we live by a set of list and mechanical rules in hopes of striving for some personal perfection.

Neither of these options are desirable!

If we simply give in, we are saying the Gospel is not true. If we live merely by a set of mechanical rules, we are striving in our own power, and are robbing our self of the joy of the Christian life.

Understanding and Applying Truth Substantially

For Schaeffer, the answer became obvious. If the Christian has the ultimate source of truth, the Bible, then one should be striving to apply it. While absolute victory cannot be achieved in this life until Christ returns and renews all things, there can be real and substantial healing and victory.

This is because the truth that we hold to is truth with a capitol T, or True Truth (the couplet that Schaeffer often used). It is absolute and infinite Truth. While we as finite people cannot understand God’s Truth absolutely, or exhaustively, we can understand it substantially. Likewise, this substantial Truth is practical and makes sense of our reality. It is not abstract, or void of Truth content, but it is real and actual Truth, given to us so that we may understand. Remember, revealed Truth is by God's design.

When Truth is applied to the Christian life, it can thus provide substantial healing. Not perfect, but substantial. It also gives us a glimpse of eternity, when all things will be restored by this Truth, as Scripture tells us that Christ will restore all things.

  • "He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." Acts 3:21 NIV

So finally, to whatever area of life you turn, Christian, apply Truth and see what happens. Find out what God will do within your heart and mind!

Finally, Be Gracious With Truth!

Always, remember that real Truth is “Gracious Truth.” If we practice Truth without love or compassion, we are not being "Truth-ful" at all, but merely applying ugliness. Also, if we practice Love without Truth we are merely applying compromise. Finding the balance is key, and we as Christians need to wake up to the fact that the world is watching. How we demonstrate the Truth and Love of Christ are both cause for substantial victory, and yet the abuse of these are cause for the world around us to judge our Truth as invalid, and our Love as fake.

I urge you, Christian, be a TRUTH Substantialist!

Meditation On Truth
The Heart's Response To Truth

Spirituality Engaging The Heart & Mind

True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer
No Little People by Francis Schaeffer, ch. 5 Walking Through The Mud)
The Mark Of A Christian by Francis Schaeffer

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