"The Most Confrontational Words"
May 17, 2024, 1:39 PM

The Most Confrontational Words

The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

Some people thrive on confrontation, but most people do not enjoy confrontation. Sometimes it cannot be avoided although we try hard to do just that. I have found four words that continue to be the most confrontational. We can try to ignore them. We can try to make them irrelevant. But here they are. All must face them at one time or another!

“In the beginning God…” These words are unlike any other. They are revealed truth. Truth is that which is real. Some may think that reality is what you make of it or believe it to be. Try standing in front of a brick wall and imagining that it’s not there. Then try running as fast as you can in the belief (even strongly held) that you’ll just pass through that wall. The result is obvious. So it is with these four words.

Just like that wall, God’s words knocked me off of my throne. I was a Christian when it first happened, but reality and truth are true for all or not true at all.

Genesis 1:1 reveals that there was a time nothing existed, yet God made everything out of nothing! Nothing existed in the beginning except God Himself. He spoke and created the universe. God changed me. He made me a new creation. His words told me that I had no right to claim the throne of my life, to think that I was in charge.

In making me a new creation, He gave me new desires, specifically, a new desire, a profound and deep desire for Him. The Great “I Am” is the only self-existent being. All things that exist proceed from Him. I am because He is. We know Him in Jesus who said, “Let Me tell you how to say Yahweh in Greek.” (I’m paraphrasing.) “It is Jesus.” (read the “I Am” sayings in John’s Gospel).

The confrontation came when I realized that He alone had the right to claim ownership of me and sovereign control of my life. There was no other reasonable response that a creature (me) could make to the Creator. Since all existence proceeds from Him, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 ESV). The claim of an absolute self-determination is unreasonable.

At the risk of repeating myself, let me rephrase. Before there was anything there was God. He made everything out of nothing. Opposed to this is the view of eternal matter. A once great philosopher of the 21st Century said, “The cosmos is all there is and ever will be.” Acceptance of this view, in my opinion, requires a blind leap of faith into the dark rather than a step into the light. His successor made an equally nonsensical statement by saying, “Believe in the science”.

King David said it best, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

In light of God’s confrontation of man’s idea of an autonomous, self-directed control over life, the question must be asked: How do you respond to the reality that you’re not in control?

The critic might say that this view of reality is demeaning and renders men and women to be pawns. But just the opposite is true. Understanding that you are not God and that He is God brings you to the profound realization that He has condescended to reach down and bless man above all creatures. David wrote in Psalm 8:5 about man, “You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” This points supremely to Jesus Christ, but is significant for the entire human race.

You are free to ignore the reality of God. But it would be like ignoring the wall I mentioned above. So then, “How do you live by the truth that you’re a creature made by the Sovereign Creator?

If you’ve gotten this far, I believe that another question has arisen in your mind. And it is a necessary question: “If God has sovereign, supreme authority and control, why am I responsible for my actions?” A biblical principle, one grounded in logic, is that God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are not contradictions. Here is the beginning of the answer given in Scripture. All men are responsible for what they do, there is no exception. Yet, God is sovereign over every action (Genesis 50:20; Ezekiel 18:34; Romans 2:1-11; Ephesians 2:1-3).