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Friday, October 12, 2012

It All Comes Down to Faith

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) 1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Christians are a people of faith. We should admit it as much as we proclaim it. We believe and look for objective non-controversial evidence which back up our faith. We do not realize that it ceases to be faith if  we start believing in these "facts." Thus, we point to what we claim as answered prayers and God's providence as proof that we have a creator who is worthy of our belief. I wonder how many people believe without having to have these "proofs." I wonder how many proofs are simply circumstances molded to fit into the belief of the person who chooses to believe.

I have never seen God but I believe in Him. It is more than believing that He exists. I believe He is involved in His creation. I don't have to see Him to believe. I choose to do so.

I have no guarantee for my prayers but I still pray. I don't know which ones whill be answered exactly as I have verbalized them and those which I will claim were God's providence even though they weren't what I had asked. I believe that God does what is best for me without having absolute evidence of that.

I have no proof of the afterlife in heaven other than God's word. Of course, that is dependent upon  something else I can't prove. I have no proof that the words of the Bible had any contact with God other than the testimony of the authors. I choose to believe it is God's word. I choose to believe I will go to heaven because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I will go there because I believe it.

I say it again: I choose to believe. I truly can't explain this belief without using other terms that I can't prove. I can look continually for non-controversial evidence but each and every instance can be debunked. This does not keep me from believing it is true.

My very nature is not reject anything that can't be proved. Somehow I am comforted by the fact that I believe in God whom I cannot prove and know my life is one of skepticism in everything else.

But think of all the things that we accept in this world without absolute proof. We have no proof that everyone's fingerprints are different from any other person's. We would have to have a record of all fingerprints of everyone who had ever lived to prove that. We don't have nearly enough samples to say that without these records and a thorough comparison.

This would also be true of DNA and retinal patterns. We know that the samples we have indicate that they are different but we can't know they are all different so we take a leap of faith and say that they are.

There is another system of faith that opposes my faith. It comes from those who choose not to believe what I believe. They work hard at proving their own system of faith. They look for evidence that there is no God. Of course, this is impossible. It is always impossible to prove something doesn't exist because no one can make an observation of everything everywhere for all time. They take a leap of faith and say there is no God.

However, I am confused as to why these people who do not believe as I do attack my own faith so vehemently. Why should they care? I want them to believe as I do so they will have an eternity. They want me to believe as they do so that I will no longer believe in eternity. Why should they care if there is no eternity? I wonder if their work to disprove my faith helps them believe in theirs'.

I believe by faith in an Almighty God and in His Son. I believe that the Holy Spirit is active among us today. I believe that Jesus will come back for His believers. I believe this by faith and really nothing more.

It all comes down to faith.


Deb Willbefree said...

Another thoughtful post. I enjoy the opportunity to pause and read here. It, somehow, stimulates my thinking and gives me an interlude of peacefulness. (Well, most of the time. sometimes, I just get fired up and start climbing up on my soap box.)

As I read this post, I thought of a friend of mine. She has great faith, but is not always able to grasp the bigger picture re: those who do not believe.

Like many of us, she has unbelievers in her acquaintance. More than once she has told me with both bewilderment and frustration how they wouldn't accept her views on a specific issue--even tho she gave them the Bible verses that supported her position. :}

I have never been able to get her to understand that quoting Bible as support only works if the listener BELIEVES the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible's content may be her source of what is right and wrong, but it's only so much paper and ink to one without faith.

I think that all of us forget that sometimes. We all forget that this is not our home and we do not speak the language of the citizens here not share their culture.

Traveling on, by faith.

Deb said...

Indeed it is "I choose to believe". It all comes down to faith; and it is also, it all comes down to making choices.  

It is we choose to believe, yet it is not blind faith; and it is also not, we have all the indisputables, before we choose.

Adam and Eve chose; they chose to believe the Serpent rather than the words of God.  God told Adam not to eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, saying that on eating, he would surely die. Yet Adam and Eve chose to believe the Serpent's word that the fruit was good for them.

Abraham also chose to leave his home and ventured out, with God's words to him.  For New Testament, the Apostle Paul chose to continue to go to Jerusalem despite twice, he was warned about the dangers that would await him at the City.

The above, and many other characters in Scriptures, made choices, yet their choices were not blind faith or without any basis. Faith is not blind, for Scripture said to us, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the words of God. 

A person does not come into the Christian faith with a choice without any backing or realm/reason; but the backing or basis is not indisputable fact.  In fact, I can even go to the extent to say that no one comes into the faith or becomes a Believer or Christian on the basis of an indisputable fact. Why? Because Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God; when it is fact, it is no longer faith. Choice precedes fact; when it is fact, it is no longer a choice. It is always before it is a fact that you get to choose.

Before the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is eaten, Adam and Eve could still choose, but not when it was a fact that they had eaten of the fruit. Paul could have avoided the persecutions he faced at Jerusalem, had he not proceeded to enter the City, but when it was a fact that he entered the City, he had no choice, but to face the afflictions spoken of, by the warnings.

In order to please God, faith must necessarily present, but faith is not fact, and a choice is always necessitated.  "What if I do nothing?" Well, doing nothing is an outcome of a choice.  Understanding it this way, we can appreciate the saying of Ps Prentis, that there is "another system of faith" that is in opposition. Deciding not to do anything is much exercising of a faith, as deciding to do something, is a faith, when it is not fact, yet.  When you hear the Gospel and you decide not to do anything, you have exercised faith, but a displeasing "faith".  When you decide to do something like, saying the Sinner's Prayer, you have exercised faith, the kind that is pleasing to God.

Can money buy you happiness? Ps Prentis said no one can make an observation of everything everywhere for all time. Looking at the question from this perspective, you don't know it, as a fact, whether or not, money can buy you happiness. When it is not a fact, it means there is still a decision to be made or a choice to make. So, are you going to have faith that money will buy you happiness, or are you going to have faith in the words of God that says you are to seek first, God's Kingdom and His righteousness, and then all your needs would be added unto you. Life is about choices, and in that sense, we are exercising faith regularly; the relevant issue is whether or not, we are exercising God's pleasing faith.

Cont... said...

Cont. Fr above

The Christian life is about exercising God's pleasing faith. But such a life is impossible if you know not, God.  When you know not, God, you will not know what pleases Him. When you don't know what pleases Him, your choices are "blind choices"; it is like you just roll a dice.  Even if you get it right, it is only "it happened to be"; it is not unto the Lord.  Scripture, in Romans 14:6, tells us that whatever we do, it necessarily has to be unto the Lord, otherwise, it counts not or little.  There is a big difference between "you give your lunch pack over to a starving fellow when you are obeying the Word or the Holy Spirit" and "you give your lunch pack over when you don't like the food in the lunch pack, and you throw it out to the starving fellow".

Primarily, there are 2 avenues to knowing what is/are pleasing God: one is from knowing the Word, and the second is revelation by the Holy Spirit.  This is why believers must read and know the Word or Scripture.  You and I must grow in the Word. Then, we must also be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God. It is about living, and so, it is not just about knowing, but to live by the Word and by the Spirit. Knowing our identity in Christ is not all, we have to live out the identity. It is not you are what the Word said you are; it is not even you are what you proclaim you are; it is you are what/whom you are when you live out who you are. To live out who you are, is exercising God pleasing faith, in living out your life. Choice precedes fact (Even for love, you must choose to love, that love becomes.  People like to say love is a commitment, few realized that it is first, you choose to love, and when you have chosen, you have to follow through with commitment).

Anthony Chia, high.expressions