Dr. David Edwin Harrell, Jr. is a social historian with an impressive academic resume. He’s known nationally for his expertise and scholarship of religious history as evidenced by his authorship of several books, interviews on news programs and papers published in professional journals.
To those of us who know him, he’s Ed Harrell, a beloved brother and faithful proclaimer of God’s Word.
I once heard Ed relate the story about a young man who was prone to some speculative religious thinking and justifying it by saying he was “thinking outside the box.”
Ed quipped, “Before you can think outside the box, you need to know what’s inside the box.”
We live in an age where skepticism, speculation and suspicion are fashionable. Especially in matters pertaining to faith and religion. It is trendy to speak of Truth as “that’s your truth, but it’s not my truth.” It seems that nothing is certain anymore. However, as the 17th-century French philosopher, Blaise Pascal once observed, “It is not certain that everything is uncertain.”
Certainty, by definition, is “the state of being certain.” Which means when you are certain of something you are “free from doubt or reservation.” You are confident. Convinced. And convicted.
Dr. Luke, an inspired New Testament writer, with “perfect understanding” regarding the life of Jesus Christ, the birth of Christianity, and matters of faith wrote to his friend Theophilus with the assurance. “That you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Lk. 1:1-4).
While we live an uncertain world with economic fluctuations, political divisiveness, and social upheaval, there are many things about which Believers can be certain.
♦I am certain that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God. That He was born of a virgin. Lived a sinless life. Died for our sins. Was resurrected from the grave. And ascended to heaven to be “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” (Luke 1-24).
♦I am certain that the Holy Spirit flawlessly revealed God’s Word to the inspired men and that He is “the gift” that provides for me the assurance of salvation” (Jn 14-16; Eph 3:3-5; Ax. 2:38).
♦I am certain that the Bible is the Word of God. That it’s “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
♦I am certain that Jesus built His church according to God’s Eternal purpose. That it began on Pentecost. And that it has a divine mission, ministry and message that continues in the 21st century (Matt 16:18-19; Ax 1-28).
♦I am certain of God’s gracious and merciful plan of salvation for the sinner. And that I can know that I am in fellowship with Him as I “walk in the light.” (Ax 2:37-38; Mk 16:15-16;Eph. 2:8-10; Ax 22:16; I Jn 1:7-9).
♦I am certain that God’s Word provides for me “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2Pet 1:3). In matters of marriage, morals, social relations, business ethics, good conduct, and personal growth I have divine guidance.
♦I am certain that there is an afterlife. Heaven and Hell. And that God in the day of judgment will reward the righteous and punish the wicked (Matt 25:31-46).
♦I am certain that although there are challenging questions, difficult Bible passages, and issues of life about which I am uncertain, that I can “know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1;12).
♦I am certain that even in uncertain times God is still sovereign. That my faith will dispel doubt. That courage can conquer fear. That light will dispel darkness. That love will dislodge hate. And that hope will one day be realized in heaven.
Are you certain?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman