Written by Rev. Nicholas Davelaar
Published in the Courier of Russellville, Arkansas on January 23, 2015
What must you know to live and die with strength and hope in Jesus Christ?
Some people might say you need not know a single thing. In their opinion, Christianity is a feeling.
The Apostle Paul would have disagreed. He made it clear in 1 Corinthians 15 that Christianity lives or dies on the basis of certain facts, not emotions.
That would explain the many times in the Bible we hear calls to know, remember, or understand, both in the Old Testament and the New.
That, however, is not to suggest Christianity is devoid of emotion. There’s plenty of emotion. Paul himself called believers many times to rejoice, love, be fervent and even weep.
What is more, Jesus himself exhibited a range of emotions. Name an emotion, and you’re likely to read of Jesus feeling it — or something close to it — at some point during his ministry on earth.
No, Christianity is full of emotion. Chock full. Even among Christians who don’t seem very emotional on the surface.
All those emotions, however, rest upon or arise out of certain facts, certain truths.
Hence the opening question: what must you know to live and die with strength and hope in Jesus Christ? What must you understand to live and die with joy in him?
Over 400 years ago, one of the Protestant Reformers asked that very question.
After declaring that a believer’s only comfort in life and in death is that “I am not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” This same Reformer went on to ask, “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?”
Here’s the Bible-rooted answer he gave: “Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.”
Think about that. Do you know those three things?
For further study on how great our sin and misery is, read Romans 3:9-10.
For further study on how we are set free from all our sin and misery, read Acts 4:12 and 10:43.
For further study on how we are to thank God for such deliverance, read Ephesians 5:8-11.