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How Can I Be Sure About Anything?

by David A. DePra

     How you can be sure that what you believe is the Truth?
Have you ever dared to ask yourself that question? As
Christians, most of us say we are sure that what we believe is the
Truth. But how do we know for certain? Is it possible that we are
totally deceived?
     Right now there are millions of people in this world who are
totally deceived. Look at the millions who worship Buddha, or
Mohammad. They are also "sure" they are right. What makes
them wrong, and Christians right? Clearly, a person's "certainty,"
in their own mind, isn't proof of anything. Millions, right now, are
sure they are right, yet are totally WRONG.
     Actually, we don't even have to look at the non-Christian
religions of the world to see that personal certainty about
something proves nothing. Within the ranks of those who call
themselves Christian there are plenty of doctrines, theories, and
teachings which are WRONG, but which are believed by
thousands. Christian people today are SURE about many of
these teachings, yet they are totally deceived. These teachings
are error.
     The fact is, absolute certainty about something is NO
assurance that you believe the Truth. Have you ever realized
that? You can believe something with all your heart and yet be
totally wrong. Mere belief is no guarantee that you are right.
The opposite is true too. I can DISbelieve something with
absolute certainty, yet be wrong. Just as belief does not
guarantee that something is true, doubt is no guarantee that
something is false.
     This brings us to a rather obvious conclusion about belief:
Belief MAKES nothing true. Nothing. The greatest belief in the
world makes nothing true. Likewise, the greatest doubt in the
world makes nothing FALSE. In short, what I believe stands
completely independent of the Truth itself.
     There really isn't anything surprising about this. The Bible
tells us exactly that. Jesus said, "I AM the Truth." He said, "The
Truth shall set you free." Truth IS. Reality IS. They are anchored
in a Person. They find their definition and existance in God
Himself. Whether I believe, or doubt, has no effect on Truth. The
Truth goes on eternally, regardless of my belief -- or lack
Dependence Upon God
     Now, all of this does present us with a dilemma of sorts. For if
Truth is constant, completely independent of whether we believe
it or know it, then how can we be sure that what we believe IS the
Truth? How can we be sure we aren't totally deceived?
     The answer is clear: Left to ourselves, we CAN'T be sure. We
can't be.
     This is an answer which will not sit well with some people. But
it is a fact. Left to ourselves, we can be sure of NOTHING. If left
to ourselves, we are at the mercy of our bias, experience, human
perception, and self-will. We will interpret everything through
these, whether we intend to or not. Left to ourselves, we are
absolutely incapable of real objectivity. Consequently, when all
is said and done, we can be sure of nothing. It all becomes a
"matter of opinion" -- if we are left to ourselves.
     The Bible tells us this. It tells us that we are born BLIND, with
NO knowledge of God. And worse, we don't have any way of
changing our condition. Left to ourselves, we are incapable of
doing anything to help ourselves. Indeed, we are incapable of
even wanting to help ourselves.
     Now, having said all of that, we come back again to our
question: If left to ourselves, we can be sure of nothing, then
how can we, as Christians, be sure that what we believe is the
     The answer is quite fundamental. It is, in fact, THE gospel of
Jesus Christ: We are NOT left to ourselves. Our faith in Jesus
Christ, if it is real, is not the result of US finding the Truth. It is the
result of the Truth Himself finding us.
     Let's repeat that. It is vital to understand: The true
knowledge of God is never the result of ME finding the Truth. It is
the result of Truth finding ME. There is absolutely nothing I can
do to reach out and obtain the Truth. The Truth must reach out
and obtain ME.
     This is exactly what God does. He tells us that we cannot
even so much as come to Christ unless He first draws us. (see
John 6:44) He tells us that unless He takes the initiative, we are
helpless. Indeed, the gospel of grace itself is based upon the
premise that God must initiate by His grace or we are lost. And
this doesn't only apply to salvation. It applies to our entire
Christian experience; to our grow in Jesus Christ.
     Jesus said this. He said, "The Truth shall set you free." He did
not say, "YOU shall set yourself free by finding the Truth." No.
The Truth, who is a Person, must set you free; must take the
initiative to come down and bring a revelation to you which will
do for you what you are incapable of doing for yourself.
     So again, we see that we are left -- utterly -- at the mercy
of God. Unless HE initiates, we cannot be sure of anything. I
can know the Truth only by revelation. I can't obtain it by study,
thinking, or by any human means. I can know it only if God
reveals it to me. But if I know it by that means, I can then be
absolutely sure of it.
Proof of the Truth
     All man-made religions have one thing in common. In fact,
even "man-made versions of Christianity" share this common
trait. It is the one thing above all else which separates true
Christianity from every error and substitute. Indeed, no false
religion dare claim what Christianity claims regarding this one
issue, for doing so would expose it as error. The claim of
Christianity on this one point helps prove it is THE Truth, indeed,
the ONE Truth from God to man.
     So what IS this point of Truth? Just this: That God must
initiate the relationship between Himself and man. That God
must take the initiative to come down and reveal Himself to us,
and to save us. That unless He does so, we are without hope.
All false religion, including, as mentioned, many man-made
versions of Christianity, teach that man must initiate
reconciliation with God. All error, in one way or another, will put
the initiative upon US, rather than God, to make things right.
     There is actually a good reason why false gods are never
given the responsibility to initiate: They don't exist. So how can
they initiate anything? Therefore, if you are going to create a
false religion with a false god at the center, you certainty can't
teach that the false god takes the initiative between himself and
man. It just wouldn't work. So you'd create a religion which
could "seem" to work -- one which puts the responsibility to
initiate upon US.
     Christianity DARES to put the responsibility upon it's God to
take the initiative regarding His creation, because only the
Christianity of the Bible is the Truth. THAT God does exist. And
He is true and trustworthy to keep His promises. He does take
the initiative between Himself and man.
     Now, it is obvious that a false religion could claim that it's god
takes the initiative. And, there are certainly times within the realm
of true Christianity when it doesn't seem to us that God is taking
any initiative. But our understanding, nor our claims, do not
change the Truth. Christianity, and the God of the Bible, stand
alone. Only with Christianity does salvation, revelation, and
really, everything else, depend upon GOD taking the initiative.
All error in some way refutes this Truth, or waters it down.
     Christians alone can know for sure that what we believe is the
Truth because what we believe didn't generate from ourselves as
the source. It came to us from a Source outside of ourselves as
a revelation from God. This is what makes Christianity real, and
unique. It is not dependent upon our understanding of God, but
upon God Himself.
Trusting God Himself
     Only if God Himself takes the initiative to reveal the Truth to a
us is it possible for us to know the Truth. Only if God takes the
initiative to reveal Himself to us can we know Him. Left to
ourselves, we are lost. This is a basic of Christianity. It is part of
the gospel of grace.
     There is, of course, the next question: How can I be certain
that God HAS revealed the Truth to me? For once we realize we
cannot know the Truth unless God reveals it, we must then
wonder whether He HAS -- or whether we have invented our
own "truth."
     This is, of course, why God has given us the written Word. It
is our written guideline which will always agree with the Truth
which God reveals to us in our hearts and minds. But having
said, that, we must then admit that even our interpretation of the
written Word can be subjective. There is always the possibility
that we could be wrong about it as well.
     The sobering fact is, all of us are fallible and given to
misinterpreting God. All of us make many mistakes in what we
believe. We do it every day.  But what does this mean?   Does it
mean that Christianity is a condition of uncertainty; a condition of
not knowing anything for sure?
     To the contrary. Christianity is a condition of absolute
certainty. But it is certainty, not in what I believe about God, but
in God Himself.
     We MUST see this. Faith is never to be in what I believe about
God. It is to be in God Himself. And if my faith is in God Himself,
then I can stand fast by faith even if I am unsure about what I
believe about Him.
     There are many Christians whose faith is shipwrecked when a
pet doctrine of theirs falls, or when something they believed God
was doing doesn't pan out. But none of this is reason to doubt
God. It is WE who were mistaken, not Him. Our faith should
have never been in our interpretation of God, or in our own
understanding. We should hold all of that loosely, and hold fast
by faith to God Himself.
     We must see the distinction between knowing facts or truths
ABOUT God, and knowing God Himself. God has chosen to
reveal to us many infallible Truths about Himself, and about His
redemption in Jesus Christ. He sees to it that we do understand
these Truths so that we might be saved. But who among us can
claim to know the height and depth of all eternal Truth? Who can
claim there is no possibility that they might be wrong about a few
things? No one. Even if everything we believe is true, there is
still much we have never seen. But when all is said and done, we
can trust God. Our faith in Him can fill the void of what we don't
know, and even compensate for that over which we are
     Christians are to stand by faith in what we know. But we are
also to have the perpetual attitude of openness and pliability
before God. Jesus told us what our attitude is supposed to be.
He said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God... (Jn. 7:17) In other words, our continual
attitude is to be that of surrender and willingness. Faith. If that is
our attitude, then God will, as Jesus said in another place, "lead
us into all Truth," by the Holy Spirit.
     Again it must be repeated: We may not understand many
things in this life, but we can trust the One who does understand.
We are to put our faith, not in our understanding of God, but in
God Himself. If we do that, then we will BE certain, yes, about
many Truths God has revealed. But our REAL certainty, and our
REAL faith, will be in the One who is Truth Personified.
     Absolute certainty about the Truth is the direct result of
absolute abandonment to God. It is the direct result of an
unconditional surrender to God. In short, if I want to possess the
Truth, and be certain about it, I must allow the Truth Himself to
possess me. *


If there is no God,
... then by definition, there is no all-knowing source
from outside of ourselves which can reveal to us Truth.
Therefore ...
... we are left to ourselves in this world to discover the Truth.
But ...
... if we are left to ourselves to discover Truth, then we can
be sure of nothing. So how can those who say there is no
God be sure THEY are right?
     The conclusion is that those who say there is no God have
nothing but themselves -- their bias, their perception, their
subjectivity, their moral agenda, and their personality -- to rely
upon to reach the correct conclusion. Therefore, in the final
analysis, they can never be sure they are right. Not unless they
are willing to designate THEMSELVES as an all-knowing source
which can never be wrong.
     The Bible tells us that Christians DO have evidence that God
does exist. It may not be evidence that a doubter will accept,
(is there any evidence a doubter will accept?) but it is evidence
of great substance: Faith. (Heb. 11:1) The presence of faith is
itself proof that Someone has taken the initiative to come down
and deposit in us that which eternal and which is of the Truth.*

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