Charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.
Is death the last step? No, it is the final awakening.
A bold Christian is the highest style of a man.
We have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before sunset in which to win them.
Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful, with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained….This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.
All denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind and the modern skeptic doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then writes another book, a novel in which he insults it himself. As a politician he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then as a philosopher that all of life is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie.
The man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts. Then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is forever engaged in underminging his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for tramping on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for tramping on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt becomes practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.
…the word of a person was only as good as he is. One’s word was one’s life.
This is an enormous truth. That is why Jesus did not fear His accussers. He was committed by His Word. He, above all, lived a life where the word and life were identical. Of no other life can this be said. Either there was a breakdown within one’s word, or there was a breakdown between the life and the word. Jesus, by honoring His Word, offered them and us His life. He did not die merely for justice. He died in prophetic fulfillment, demonstrating that you cannot kill the truth. Thereofre, in a real sense, they could not destory Him either.
I once saw a poster on the wall in the office of a school principal. It simply said, “If you cannot understand me in my speech, how can you understand me in my silence?”
The world will try to interpret truth by its wits. The Christian interprets truth by His Word – and by His silence.
When God restores our spiritual sight through the mystery of evil, we are then able to see the work of God displayed with in the framework of our most difficult question. With tears of joy we bend before him.
In summary, for the Christian, evil is real, this world is real, and time is real. Jesus recognized all three realities with reference to the blind man. He pointed out that this world has built into it the component of time. And upon the anvil of time beats the hammer of eternity until time ultimately reflects the values of the etermnal and willl be shed as a sheel, from within which ultimate truths will be freely embraced. When we enter that stage, we will find out that the real anvil was eternity, that time provided the hammers, and that God’s glory and purpose will be what remains.
I can now enjoy the benefit of time’s distant view. The Jesus I know and love today I encountered at the age of seventeen. But His name and His tug in my life mean infinitely more now than they did when I first surrendered my life to Him. I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny. I came amid the thunderous cries of a culture that has three hundred and thirty million deities. I remain with Him knowing that truth cannot be all-inclusive. Truth by definition excludes.
The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried and found wanting, but that it has been found difficult and left untried.