Monday, October 3, 2011

Seeing Is Not Believing

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)

Our text follows our Lord’s appearance to Thomas. Thomas had heard the news that Jesus had risen from the dead, but he refused to believe it. “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Often we too can be like Thomas. Unless we see some evidence, we are unwilling to take God at His word and believe His promises to us. It matters not that the whole of creation proclaims His glory: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen” (Romans 1:20); yet we insist on seeing something new, something fresh.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says that “faith is the substance [Greek: hupóstasis – a setting under, a support or a foundation] of things hoped for, the evidence [Greek: élengchos – proof or conviction] of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Abraham is someone who had faith in “things not seen.” God promised Abraham that his descendents would be numbered as the stars in the heavens. At the time, Abraham was childless and far advanced in years. He sojourned from place to place without a parcel of land to call his own, much less an heir to establish a nation. Yet “he believed in the Lord; and he [the Lord] counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

It is “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). God gave us His Word so that we could believe without seeing.

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