Believing in what we cannot see

The Bible says that “Faith is the realization of things hoped for, the confidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Perhaps you, like others, struggle to put your confidence in something or some-one you cannot see. Some people believe that if they can’t see it, it can’t possibly be real.

Imagine that I am holding in my fist a 1941-42 wartime mercury dime. A friend of mine tells me that such a piece is valued at $250. Because my fist is closed, you can’t see it. You simply have my word that it’s there. Whether you can see it or not, however, doesn’t make it any less real. Reality isn’t limited by what you see anymore than it is limited by what I see.  Let’s say that I wanted to determine whether you really trust me. Imagine that, in my system of values, whether you believed me was more important than all the things you did to impress me.

The best way for me to determine the sincerity of your belief is for me to ask you to put your confidence in me for that dime even though you have not yet seen it. If you do only that, I say, the dime can be yours. But you must believe even though you cannot see. When someone asks me if I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my answer is a definitive Yes!  When they ask me how I can believe in what I cannot see, my answer is that I believe God when He says He cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and that His promise of eternal life to those who believe in His Son (even though they haven’t yet seen Him) is true (John 1:12).

And one other thing, I believe that one day He will open His hand, but I won’t look upon a $250 dime. Instead I will see for the first time the scars from the nails that bought my salvation.  Do you still want to believe only in what you can see?

Desiring God most of all

I enjoy reading the works of John Piper. In His book Desiring God he makes an especially excellent statement. Here it is:

Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable, but also that He is desirable.  It is the confidence that He will come through with His promises, and that what He promises is more to be desired than all the world.

That is a statement worth thinking back over and meditating upon.

Of course the Bible is filled with statements that faith is the only way that one attains eternal life. Remember John’s words in the opening of his gospel?

As many as received Him to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe (i.e. place their faith in Christ) in His name” (John 1:12).

And did not the apostle Paul express that same thought?

For by grace you have been saved through faith . . . (Eph. 2:8).

In fact, the word faith is used in the Bible nearly 250 times. But what Piper is talking about is the nature of saving faith, and I appreciate his clarification. He is saying that true faith is more than a ticket to heaven. We don’t place our faith in Christ only because He is reliable and trustworthy (even though He is). But we find in our moment of faith that he is desirable. To express it in simpler terms: We love Him.

Paul makes the point again,

But if any man loves God, the same is known by Him. (I Cor. 8:3).

Therefore, the Christian finds Jesus Christ to not only be reliable but also desirable. The believer will find that he not only trusts the Lord, but that he also loves the Lord.

Do we trust Him more than the things of this world?

Do we love Him more than the things of this world?