Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

“But, What If You Are Wrong?”

When defending my faith to a skeptic, I have been asked on a few occasions, “But, what if you are wrong?” It is a question that arises from my acknowledgment that I accept the claims of scripture by faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Setting aside the evidence that supports my faith, let us consider for a moment the question asked.

Paul actually addressed just this question, in acknowledging the ramifications of the contention that there is no resurrection of the dead. In 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, he wrote, “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (vs. 16-19).

So, Paul admits that if my faith as a Christian is misplaced, then I am most pitiable. Why is this? Because I am then believing a lie. I am living for an eternity that will not be realized, because the sum total of my existence is found only in the short span that I live upon this earth. We certainly pity the deluded.

However, it is important to note that Paul is not here contemplating the quality of life a Christian enjoys while on this physical earth. While it is a life of self-denial and service to a higher calling, it is hardly a life bereft of joy and comfort. In fact, I would assert that living as a Christian has made my life joyful and rewarding.

A person who lives his life by the ethic supplied in scripture is a man (or woman) who is a law-keeper. He conducts himself in accord with the laws of his nation and people, (so long as they do not conflict with God’s law), and is in no danger of arousing the wrath of those who are in authority (cf. Romans 13:3).

Such a person is the type who has a good reputation among those “outside” (non-Christians) (cf. 1 Timothy 3:7). He practices the Christian concept of love, which seeks the welfare of all. As such, he is benevolent, selfless, and generally well like and respected, even by those who are not Christians.

Such as person is faithful to his or her marriage vows, and is a dutiful spouse. The imperative of love is again seen in his domestic relationships, and his home is a happy one. He raises children who are respectful of authority, well adjusted, and who, when grown take their place as productive and law abiding citizens.

Such a person avoids destructive behavior. The scourges of modern society — alcoholism and drunkenness, drug addiction, sexual disease, infidelity, promiscuity, profligate living, enmity, covetousness with its sordid emanations — all are conspicuously absent from his life and character. Instead, he is a soberminded, patient, kind, gentle and virtuous person who is respected by those who acknowledge the concept of right and wrong.

While not approaching the significance of the eyewitness testimony of the resurrected Christ, I would assert that the positive benefits of living a life in accord with the principles espoused by Jesus and His apostles bolsters the contention that there is substance to my faith. It makes sense that my life would be better than the life of a man who rejects the counsel of scripture, if indeed the Creator does exist, and has revealed His will to man.

So, my answer would be that I would have wasted my life in service to a lie. But in doing so, my delusion will have kept me happy and productive in my life, and would have protected me from the most destructive of man’s habits. I may not have lived this life to its fullest, but I would not be harmed by the more destructive and distressing behavior that seems to afflict so many.

But, “What if I am right?” What if God exists, Jesus is the Savior, and man’s purpose on earth is to prepare for an eternity in God’s presence? Is it not worth man’s time to examine the evidence to determine the validity of the claims? I find it amazing that so many have rejected out of hand the claims of the Christian, without seriously examining the evidence; or simply have no interest or concern about it. Can we not at least acknowledge that this is the most important of all questions?

That is what I and other Christians ask for, a hearing. An opportunity to explain why we believe what we believe. A desire that the evidence we supply be given a fair examination by an honest heart. Does God exist, or not? Is Jesus is the Savior of mankind, or not?

I am extremely confident that I know the answer to these questions. I have conscientiously examined the evidence, and have abundant cause to believe that God does exist, and that Jesus is indeed the Savior. If I am right, then we need to talk!