- Daniel Klassen
Confidence In the Face of Uncertainty
The society we find ourselves in has gone beyond the classification of postmodern. Modernity, otherwise called modernism, was the great experiment to find hope and purpose apart from God. It failed. Postmodernity was the realization that the dream of modernity had failed, yet did nothing to solve the problem. Instead of stepping back, considering the faults of modernity, and producing a change to correct its mentor's faults, it did nothing. Postmodernity has literally done nothing.
"Why?" you might ask. Well, modernity had to conclude that since there was no God to give us purpose and meaning, it had to find it someplace else. The place they turned was inward. This should come as no surprise seeing that we are, as Martin Luther said, "curved inward." We have a self-seeking disposition, and when God was removed, that self slid quite easily into the place of ultimate authority of matters of meaning and purpose. Individualism was the result of modernity, and it was the reason the post-modern world could not correct itself.
Since the authority of meaning and purpose lay in the hands of the individual, opinions, and feelings were elevated to the highest authority. Postmodernism hence became a barrage of opinions and emotions attempting to answer the failure of modernity. As expected, no solid answers were given. No one could be sure of anything because everything became subjective. By this, despair set in.
If you want an answer to why depression has become widespread, could it be because we are a self-infatuated culture? What we have discovered in this attempt to be our own authoritative reference point is that we aren't very good at it. We aren't as good as we like to be. However, we assure ourselves with pitiful statements like, "I'm perfect just the way I am." Even though we know we need to change and become better people, we go on believing that we are the answer to our problems. The individual is a god, and opinions and emotions are authoritative. The only problem is that everyone is an individual with opinions and emotions. When everyone's opinions and feelings matter, no opinions or feelings matter.
How can we be sure of anything? Can we know what is true or false? The postmodern answer to both is the same: we cannot. The only thing we can know is our own opinion or our own emotions, and when everyone is of this mindset, we are truly alone. No one cares how you feel, and no one cares about your opinion. The only way you will find acceptance is if you agree with the loudest voices. There is a danger in this because that voice will inevitably be drowned out by another. Change or be forgotten is the motto. Now, if you are constantly changing beliefs, where are you going to find a place to rest your feet?
With the Christian faith, this is not so. We are not to be drowned in the sea of self-infatuation. The command of the gospel is to deny ourselves and trust in Christ. We do not focus on our opinion or our emotions but focus on Christ. We do not rely on our opinions or our emotions but rely on Christ. We do not lift up our opinions or emotions but lift up Christ. We do not have confidence in our opinions and emotions, but we have confidence in Christ. We are Christ centered people.
This begs the question, does it work? Does this give us confidence?
To have confidence in Christ is to have confidence in God. When we have confidence in God, we surely have confidence in his Sacred Word as our authority. Confidence in the authority of Scripture is a confidence in the gospel. God's Word displaying Christ in the gospel gives us hope, but not just any hope; we have confidence in this hope. There is no foundation found which will give our feet a sure place to stand on but these great things.
Confidence in God
Biblically minded Christians not only say that God is the sovereign ruler of the universe, they believe it and live it. God is not only sovereign over the things that are out of our control; he is sovereign over the things we think are most in our control.
When we take an honest look at life, we will find that there is nothing in our control whatsoever. Yet, we are proud and ignore this truth, embracing our fantasy that we control our fate, that we control our destiny. What confidence is in that? Do you truly want to trust yourself with that? Are you confident that your past failures are not indicators that you will surely make mistakes in the future? Do you find confidence in one who fails daily, or in One who has never failed?
Confidence in Scripture
Kingdoms come and go, the wealthy and prominent soon die, but the Word of God endures forever. The Bible is infallible, inerrant, authoritative and true.
First, as infallible, it cannot fail. It will never fail and has never failed. Nothing has come against the Scriptures to derail it. There has been no development in the history of man to ever disprove them. Through all of history, nothing has yet stopped the Word of God.
Second, as inerrant, the Scriptures do not err. There is no false word, and no contradiction. As infallible, it inevitably does not err. Since the entirety of Scripture cannot fail, it will not and cannot err. If it was just a book that had no error, it could still fail. It could fail to teach what is right and true. But, if it is not able to fail, it must have no error. Hence, Scripture is inerrant because it is infallible.
Third, as authoritative and true, it gives us God's Word. The Bible does not just give good counsel, it gives God's counsel; it does not just give us good commands, it gives us God's commands. Everything in Scripture is what is and ought to be. There is no command for us that has little sway on our lives, each command for us has eternal consequences. If we do not heed the words written in Sacred Scripture, our end is not pleasant.
We can have confidence in the Word of God. In a time and place where God's Word is attacked from every side, we can have confidence that after we are just a blip in the whole of history, it will still be standing. We can have confidence that the Bible truly is the Word of God. We can have confidence that the Bible will stand. We can have confidence that when we stand on Scripture alone, we are never alone.
We are not tossed to and fro, as Paul warns us, but we are steadfast, knowing what we believe. There is a tendency in our culture to be subjective in our beliefs. "I believe what I believe, and you can believe what you believe, and we can walk together in harmony." Nothing could be further from Scripture's exclusive claims and objective truth.
Confidence in Christ
Christ stands out among all gods. All others which the major religions of the world worship still lie in the grave. Only Christ has defeated death; only Christ has been raised from the dead. Paul argues that if Christ is not raised from the dead, our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). If Christ has not defeated death, what hope do we have of defeating it as well? What hope do we have after death if what we place our confidence in has not defeated it? There is no hope apart from Christ, for Christ is the only one who has conquered death.
We have confidence that Jesus truly is our high priest. Although we are, for the most part, unfamiliar with having a priest, Christ is ours. Christ is our high priest who both atoned for our sin and intercedes for us. He was our sacrifice, and now sits at the right hand of God interceding for his own. We know that Christ is always heard by his Father (John 11:42), and so we have confidence that God hears Christ when he prays for us. Christ as our high priest gives us confidence in the face of adversity and death.
Confidence in Faith
Faith is itself confidence. It is a confidence that the things which are unseen, namely the spiritual, are true. By faith we love God. By faith, we claim Christ as Lord.
Not only is it by faith that we are confident in God, but we are also confident in faith. It is clear that faith does not originate in us, nor is it something we produce, but rather it is a gift from God. We can be confident that our faith will not fail us because it is God who is the keeper of our faith. The faith we have in Christ comes from God and will not fail us. God will keep our faith intact till we need it no longer. He has sealed us by his Holy Spirit until the day we see him face to face.
If God is your God, his Word your authority, Christ your Lord, and your faith rooted in Christ producing fruit, you must have confidence. There is no way for anyone who is in Christ to look at the state of the world and its attitude towards Christians and lack confidence. Although the world, the flesh, and the devil oppose us, we stand confident.