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基督徒世界观 译介圣经神学

 
 
 

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我如何能认识神?(Tim Keller)  

2011-07-28 04:13:00|  分类: 好消息! |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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【福音单张】

我如何能认识神?
HOW CAN I KNOW GOD?


June, 1991
作者:提摩太?凯乐(TIM KELLER)
译者:唐兴 /校对:诚之


什么是基督教?有人说是它一种哲学,也有人说它是一种道德的立场,甚至还有人说它实际上是一种经历。然而,这些说法都无法触及其核心。虽然每一种说法都讲到了基督教的某个部分,但是,这些都不是基督教的定义。基督教的核心是人与神之间的一种交换(transaction)。当一个人成为基督徒的时候,他就从远处对神的认识,移近至直接或亲密地认识神。基督教就是认识神。

认识你独一的真神,并且认识你所差来的耶稣基督,这就是永生。(约翰福音17:3)

我为什么必须认识神?

我们有强烈的欲望想认识神,但是我们通常无法正确地理解这种欲望。当我们第一次恋爱、结婚、终于进入所选择的职业、终于买到度假屋的时候——这些突破都挑旺我们去盼望一些最终不会发生的事。最后我们发现对那个盼望的渴慕,是爱人、事业或成就所不能满足的。甚至当目标已经垂手可得时,那满足感就会很快消逝。没有任何事物能带来其所应许的喜乐。许多人藉着忙碌和否认来逃避无聊的空虚,但这最多仅是一种拖延罢了。法国皇后玛丽-安托瓦内特(Marie Antoinette)说:“万物乏味”。回应这种看法有几种不同的方式:

怪罪于事物本身——对你四周的人、事、物吹毛求疵。你相信更佳的配偶、更好的老板或薪水,最终会带来难得的喜乐。世界上许多最有成就的人都是如此——无聊、不满、不断寻找新事物,常常更换顾问、伴侣、同伴或环境。

怪罪自己——更努力地去达到标准。许多人认为他们曾经做了错误的选择,或是没有能够面对挑战,获得那些可以带给他们喜乐和满足感的事物。这些人被自我怀疑毁灭,甚至消磨殆尽。他们想:“如果我能达到我的目标,这种空虚就会消失了。”但并非如此。

怪罪于宇宙本身——完全放弃追寻理想的实现。这样的人说:“是的,当年轻的时候我曾经是一个理想主义者,但是到了这把年纪,我已经不存妄想了。”这会使你变得尖酸刻薄,你决定要压制那一部分曾经渴望理想和喜乐的你。但是你却变得食古不化,並且你感到自己丧失了你的人性、怜悯和喜乐。

怪罪并认识到自己与神之间的分离——看到空虚是出自于你与神的分离,没有与神建立一个个人的关系。要与神建立个人的关系,你必须认识到三件事:

1)我们是谁:

神的造物。神创造了我们就是为了要与我们建立关系。我们是属于祂的,我们的每一口气、每一分钟,所有的事物,都要感谢祂。因为人类被造,是要为(敬拜)祂而活,所以我们总是会要去敬拜某些事物——如果我们不敬拜神,我们就会选择其他最钟爱的对象来敬拜,好使我们活得有意义。

罪人。我们都选择(且每天重复确认)拒绝神,以我们自己的喜好和快乐为最高的优先。我们不愿意敬拜神,並且不把祂当作主人,臣服于祂,然而我们却是被神创造来敬拜祂的,所以我们会依恋偶像,把我们的生活专注在那些我们认为有意义的事情上:成功、人际关系、影响力、爱情、舒适,等等。在属灵的捆绑之下,为了神以外的任何事物生活,都会导致挫折和败坏。神创造了鱼生活在水中,牠离开水就没有自由,而且会死。敬拜其他的事物而非神,就会丧失意义。如果我们成就了这些事情,它们却没有带来满足,是因为它们不是“神。”这些事物从来都不是要被用来取代神的。敬拜神以外的事物也会导致自我形象上的问题。结果我们会以在这些事物上的成就来定义自己。我们必须拥有它们,否则就满盘皆输;所以这些事物促使我们劳命,当它们受到危害时也会使我们满心恐慌。

2)神是谁:

爱和公义。祂积极地关心我们的喜乐和福祉。大多数的人都爱那些爱他们的人,然而,神却爱那些与祂为敌的人。因为神是善良和慈爱的,所以祂无法容忍邪恶。爱的相反不是愤怒,而是漠不关心。“你越爱你的儿子,你会越憎恨他内心的欺骗、昏醉和叛逆。”(E. Gifford)我们可以想像神的立场,祂好像是个法官,同时也是父亲,正在审判祂有罪的儿子。作为一个法官,祂知道不能放过祂的儿子,因为没有公义,社会没就无法生存。神爱我们,但我们却亏欠和反对祂慈爱的权柄,慈爱的神如何能为了我们而忽视或不理会公义呢?答案在耶稣基督。耶稣是神自己来到地上。祂先在地上活出完美的一生,尽心、尽性、尽意地爱神,满足神对人所有的要求。祂活出我们对神的亏欠——完美的一生。耶稣非但没有得到祂应得的奖赏(永生),还为了我们的罪,以祂自己的生命作为活祭,为我们每一个人的亏欠承受了死亡的惩罚。当我们信祂的时候:

1)祂的死就成为我们的罪的赎价,並且,
2)祂一生完美无暇的记录,就被算在我们的帐上。所以,神就接纳我们并且把基督所成就的,看为是我们的。
3)你必须作的:

悔改。你首先必须承认,你一直都是过着以自己为主人的生活、崇拜错误的事物、违反了神的律法。“悔改”的意思就是,你寻求饶恕並且从原来的立场回转,定意为神而活,以祂为中心。
相信。信心乃是从信靠你自己的努力,转向基督为你所成就的。

你原来是依靠其他的事物,使自己蒙悦纳,但现在你开始有意识地依靠耶稣为你蒙神的悦纳所做的一切。你不需要依靠任何事物。如果你认为:“神因为我的努力而欠我什么,”你还是站在恩典之外。你需要这样祷告:“我看到自己的缺失和罪恶,超过以前所想像的,然而,神对我的爱和悦纳,更超过我所盼望的。我要从为自己而活的老旧生命回转。我生命中没有任何一件事,配得你的称许,但是,现在基于耶稣所成就的,为了祂的缘故,求你接纳我进入神的家。”

当你做出这样的交换时,就会立刻发生两件事:1)你的记录就被洗清了,你的罪就被永远的除去了,你就被合法地纳入神的家中,並且,2)圣灵就会进到你的心中,並且开始改变你,使你有耶稣的性情。接下来,你要把你的承诺与一位基督朋友分享。督促自己接受基本的基督徒操练:祷告、敬拜、研读圣经,並且与其他的基督徒交通。

为什么我应该要寻求神

一方面,你觉得“需要”祂。也许你认识到只有神才能满足你的需要,但是,你不能利用神来达成自己的目的。神是不可能讨价还价的(如果你满足我的需要,我就这样作)。这完全不是基督教,而是一种迷信或异教(你必须「安抚」易怒的神明才能得着好处)。你进入基督教是为了要服事神,还是要神服事你?这是两个对立的动机,其结果是两种不同的宗教。你必须接近神,因为,1)祂给了你生命(祂是你的创造者),你亏欠祂,並且,2)祂为了你牺牲了祂的独生子,你因此深深地感恩。

另一方面,你可能完全感觉不到认识神的必要或兴趣。这并非意味着你应该留在对神不闻不问的状态。你若是神所造的,无论你喜欢与否,你的生命就是属于祂的。你有义务要寻求祂,並且求祂软化你的心、开启你的眼睛、並且光照你。你若说:“我没有信心”,那也不是藉口。你必须怀疑你的怀疑。没有人能立刻怀疑所有的事——你必须相信某事,才能怀疑其他的事。举例而言,你相信你有能力掌控自己的生命吗?有这样的证据吗?为什么怀疑每一件事,却不怀疑你对神的怀疑以及你对自己的信心呢?这公平吗?你所亏欠于神的,就是你要寻求祂。当如此行!

我若是还没有准备好这样做?

列一个清单,把你认为是跨越到信心这一边的障碍写下来。以下是可能的标题:

内容的问题。你是否了解基本的基督教信息——罪,耶稣是神,献祭,信心?

理解的问题。你对基督教是否有理性上的问题?你心中是否有解决不了的反对基督教的问题?

代价的问题。你是否认为成为基督徒会付上很高的代价?你对这样的承诺有那些顾虑?与你的基督徒朋友讨论,直到这些问题得到解决。你可以考虑阅读路易斯(C. S. Lewis)所著《返璞归真》(Mere Christianity)以及斯托德(John Stott)所著《真理的寻索》(Basic Christianity)。


请参考另一份福音单张:
你想获得一个新生命吗﹖

英文原文:
HOW CAN I KNOW GOD?
TIM KELLER

What is Christianity? Some say it is a philosophy, others say it is an ethical stance, while still others claim it is actually an experience. None of these things really gets to the heart of the matter, however. Each is something a Christian has, but not one of them serves as a definition of what a Christian is. Christianity has at its core a transaction between a person and God. A person who becomes a Christian moves from knowing about God distantly to knowing about him directly and intimately. Christianity is knowing God.

“Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom you have sent.” --John 17:3

Why do I need to know God?

Our desire for personal knowledge of God is strong, but we usually fail to recognize that desire for what it is. When we first fall in love, when we first marry, when we finally break into our chosen field, when we at last get that weekend house—these breakthroughs arouse in us anticipation of something which, as it turns out, never occurs. We eventually discover that our desire for that precious something is a longing no lover or career or achievement, even the best possible ones, can ever satisfy. The satisfaction fades even as we close our fingers around our goal. Nothing delivers the joy it seemed to promise. Many of us avoid the yawning emptiness through busyness or denial, but at best there is just a postponement. “Nothing tastes,” said Marie Antoinette. There are several ways to respond to this:

By blaming the things themselves – by finding fault in everyone and everything around you. You believe that a better spouse, a better career, a better boss or salary would finally yield the elusive joy. Many of the most successful people of the world are like this – bored, discontented, running from new thing to new thing, often changing counselors, mates, partners, or settings.

By blaming yourself – by trying harder to live up to standards. Many people believe they have made poor choices or have failed to measure up to challenges and to achieve the things that would give them joy and satisfaction. Such people are wracked with self-doubts and tend to burn themselves out. They think, “If only I could reach my goals, then this emptiness would be gone.” But it is not so.

By blaming the universe itself – by giving up seeking fulfillment at all. This is the person who says, “Yes, when I was young I was idealistic, but at my age I have stopped howling after the moon.” This makes you become cynical, you decide to repress that part of yourself that once wanted fulfillment and joy. But you become hard, and you can feel yourself losing your humanity, compassion, and joy.

By blaming and recognizing your separation from God – by seeing that the emptiness comes from your separation from God, and by establishing a personal relationship with him. In order to form a personal relationship with God, you must know three things:

1) Who we are:
God’s creation.
God created us and built us for a relationship with him. We belong to him, and we owe him gratitude for every breath, every moment, everything. Because humans were built to live for him (to worship), we will always try to worship something – if not God, we will choose some other object of ultimate devotion to give our lives meaning.

Sinners. We have all chosen (and re-affirm daily) to reject God and to make our own joy and happiness our highest priority. We do not want to worship God and surrender ourselves as master, yet we are built to worship, so we cling to idols, centering our lives on things that promise to give us meaning: success, relationships, influence, love, comfort, and so on. In spiritual bondage. To live for anything else but God leads to breakdown and decay. When a fish leaves the water, which he was built for, he is not free, but dead. Worshiping other things besides God leads to a loss of meaning. If we achieve these things, they cannot deliver satisfaction, because they were never meant to be “gods.” They were never meant to replace God. Worshiping other things besides God also leads to self- image problems. We end up defining ourselves in terms of our achievement in these things. We must have them or all is lost; so they drive us to work too hard, or they fill us with terror if they are jeopardized.

2) Who God is:
Love and justice.
His active concern is for our joy and well-being. Most people love those who love them, yet God loves and seeks the good even of people who are his enemies. But because God is good and loving, he cannot tolerate evil. The opposite of love is not anger, but indifference. “The more you love your son, the more you hate in him the liar, the drunkard, the traitor,” (E. Gifford). To imagine God’s situation, imagine a judge who also is a father, who sits at the trial of his guilty son. A judge knows he cannot let his son go, for without justice no society can survive. How much less can a loving God merely ignore or suspend justice for us—who are loved, yet guilty of rebellion against his loving authority? Jesus Christ. Jesus is God himself come to Earth. He first lived a perfect life, loving God with all his heart, soul, and mind, fulfilling all human obligations to God. He lived the life you owed—a perfect record. Then, instead of receiving his deserved reward (eternal life), Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins, taking the punishment and death each of us owed. When we believe in him:

1) our sins are paid for by his death, and
2) his perfect life record is transferred to our account. So God accepts and regards us
as if we have done all Christ has done.
3) What you must do:

Repent.
There first must be an admission that you have been living as your own master, worshipping the wrong things, violating God’s loving laws. “Repentance” means you ask forgiveness and turn from that stance with a willingness to live for and center on him. Believe. Faith is transferring your trust from your own efforts to the efforts of Christ.

You were relying on other things to make you acceptable, but now you consciously begin relying on what Jesus did for your acceptance with God. All you need is nothing. If you think, “God owes me something for all my efforts,” you are still on the outside. Pray after this fashion: “I see I am more flawed and sinful than I ever dared believe, but that I am even more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I turn from my old life of living for myself. I have nothing in my record to merit your approval, but I now rest in what Jesus did and ask to be accepted into God’s family for his sake.”

When you make this transaction, two things happen at once: 1) your accounts are cleared, your sins are wiped out permanently, you are adopted legally into God’s family and 2) the Holy Spirit enters your heart and begins to change you into the character of Jesus. Follow through. Tell a Christian friend about your commitment. Get yourself training in the basic Christian disciplines of prayer, worship, Bible study, and fellowship with other Christians.

Why should I seek God?

On one hand, you may feel that you “need” him. Even though you may recognize that you have needs only God can meet, you must not try to use him to achieve your own ends. It is not possible to bargain with God. (I’ll do this if you will do that.”) That is not Christianity at all, but a form of magic or paganism in which you “appease” the cranky deity in exchange for a favor. Are you getting into Christianity to serve God, or to get God to serve you? Those are two opposite motives and they result in two different religions. You must come to God because 1) you owe it to him to give him your life (because he is your creator) and 2) you are deeply grateful to him for sacrificing his son (because he is your redeemer.)

On the other hand, you may feel no need or interest to know God at all. This does not mean you should stay uncommitted. If you were created by God, then you owe him your life, whether you feel like it or not. You are obligated to seek him and ask him to soften your heart, open your eyes, and enlighten you. If you say, “I have no faith,” that is no excuse either. You need only doubt your doubts. No one can doubt everything at once—you must believe in something to doubt something else. For example, do you believe you are competent to run your own life? Where is the evidence of that? Why doubt everything but your doubts about God and your faith in yourself? Is that fair? You owe it to God to seek him. Do so.

What if I’m not ready to proceed?

Make a list of the issues that you perceive to be barriers to your crossing the line into faith. Here is a possible set of headings:

Content issues. Do you understand the basics of the Christian message—sin, Jesus as God, sacrifice, faith?

Coherence issues. Are there intellectual problems you have with Christianity? Are there objections to the Christian faith that you cannot resolve in your own mind?

Cost issues. Do you perceive that a move into full Christian faith will cost you dearly?

What fears do you have about commitment?
Now talk to a Christian friend until these issues are resolved. Consider reading: Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis (MacMillan) and Basic Christianity, by John Stott (IVP) ? 1991, Timothy Keller

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