Sunday, August 18, 2013

Believing is Seeing


August 8, 2013
August 8, 2013

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29. Eight days before this the disciples had been gathered together behind closed doors. They had seen Jesus crucified, found the empty tomb, and were worried that they, too, would be arrested.  While they were discussing these events Jesus appeared in the room. They were very understandably confused, but Jesus showed them His hands and His side as proof that it really was Him. Thomas had not been there and when he heard about it he wouldn’t believe them until he saw for himself the nail prints in His hands and the hole in His side. After all, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus had indeed died. Eight days later, the disciples had once again been gathered together, but this time Thomas was with them. Once again the doors were shut but Jesus appeared there. Thomas saw and believed “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.” John 20:28. For Thomas seeing was believing, but Jesus said “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”. That is us today…believing is seeing.

So many people doubt God’s existence. Whether a person accepts God as real or not does not lessen the fact that God is real. He does not need our seal of approval. “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” John 3:33. In Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse he says “God is true, though we do not set our seal to it; let God be true, and every man a liar; his truth needs not our faith to support it, but by faith we do ourselves the honour and justice to subscribe to his truth, and hereby God reckons himself  honoured”. I’m always amazed at how many folks think the Bible is just impossible to believe, especially the part about this Jesus fellow. Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and the Gospels are eyewitness accounts of His ministry earth. Yet those same folks who doubt find it simple to believe George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin existed. And Alexander the Great for that matter. The accounts of these men are accepted yet the one who stands out in most people’s minds as impossible to believe even existed is the One who died so they could live. That is Jesus Christ…the Messiah.

It’s astonishing that many who profess a belief in Jesus Christ relegate the Bible into a category of myth and allegory instead of believing its factual accounts of earth’s history, yet they expect to be recognized as born again believers in Christ. I can sort of understand the lost world’s denigration of truth since they are blinded by the “god of this world”, but why would professing Christians question God’s word? The worldly people seem so wise, but are really fools. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19. The wisdom of this world…that’s almost an oxymoron! Wisdom is only in the knowledge of God and believing His word.

“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31. Let’s start here with the word “believe.” Many people don’t grasp the true meaning behind the word “believe.” It’s a simple English word meaning “to hold a firm religious faith – to accept something as true – to have a firm conviction as to goodness, efficacy, and truth”. In His word, God says that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing on the Lord means we must firmly put our faith, our hope, and our trust in Christ; He alone is our salvation. When Christians are asked if they believe in Jesus Christ they say yes, but many of these same people cave in when they are asked if they believe everything Jesus tells us in His word. For example: When questioned about the two specific natures of Jesus Christ (Jesus is fully God and fully Man) many don’t really believe that, yet this is a very fundamental truth of the Christian faith.

Other basic Christian beliefs that many question are the virgin birth and His death on the cross, and subsequent resurrection. We cannot be born again if there is even one component of the Gospel that we hold in unbelief. Sadly many Christians fall into this category. We either believe everything about our coming King or we don’t, there is no in between. Unbelief regarding one or more aspects/attributes of Jesus Christ is the same as unbelief. If we’re going to turn our lives over to Jesus Christ then we must stop calling Him a liar. A new believer in Christ, like a newborn baby, isn’t expected to understand everything about this new life in Christ. But just like that newborn baby, growth needs to happen. Step by step you learn more and grow. How many people saw Benjamin Franklin fly a kite in a thunderstorm? Yet it is taught in history classes. How many people saw the risen Christ? Hundreds. Yet this most important historical event is questioned. Believing is seeing.

We see many people today who claim to be Christians but do not believe God’s word – the Holy Bible.
They desire to be called Christians, they believe that name fits their new age concept, but they really want a “designer god” that fits their lifestyle. This is a simple re-emergence of Satan’s lie to Eve. When it comes to the truth of the Bible they would rather stand on their own spirituality instead of standing on God’s inerrant word, which they see as myth mixed with allegory. Much evidence regarding places, events, and people named in the Bible has been unearthed by archeologists over past decades. For a Christian who believes by faith, believing should be seeing, but after so many discoveries have been made by archeologists, anyone who remains in unbelief is foolishly and woefully ignorant.

“He that is not with me is against me;” Matthew 12:30. How can we say we believe in Jesus Christ when we stand opposed to portions of His truth? In the above verse Jesus makes it plain that if we aren’t in full agreement with Him, which means we believe His inerrant word, we stand against Him. If you are against Jesus in regards to any of His precepts are you really born again? “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. It seems so simple, yet so many people question this truth. They refuse to believe therefore they cannot see.

Many Christians try to add works to belief and will tell you that you must be baptized in order to be saved. Others tell you that you cannot be saved unless you speak in tongues. Some even think you have to be able to handle poisonous snakes in order to be saved. Baptism is an act of obedience. Speaking in tongues is just one of many gifts of the spirit and not a requirement. Poisonous snakes? Foolishness. It is our belief in Jesus and His finished work on the cross that determines our salvation. “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31. Simple…believing is seeing.

Another example of what some Christians foolishly refuse to believe about Jesus is that He is actually God Almighty. Oh sure, they believe He is the Son of God but not Almighty God. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24.Others believe He’s their Savior but not necessarily the Savior for everyone. They believe in many paths to God. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. John 14:6.Some professing Christians believe that humanity evolved from pond scum and that God was just an overseer – that the creation account is simply an allegory. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3. Some Christians don’t believe that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8. So on and on it goes. It’s amazing what professing Christians simply refuse to believe about the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus’ own words tell us what we must do to be saved (justified). He simply says to believe on Him…the One God sent. That’s it. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29. Why is it that so many folks find it necessary to complicate this? Belief is so simple, but people make it so hard.

Some Bible teachers would have you believe you have to confess all of your sins before you can be saved. Yes, many times we are told to repent, but what does that word mean? In the Greek, the word is “metanoeō” which means to change one’s mind. The account of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts chapter 8 is a good example. He was trying to understand who Jesus was by reading from Isaiah 53. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading, but the man answered “…how can I, except some man should guide me?….” Acts 8:21.Philip didn’t give him a list of sins to repent from but explained who Jesus was.. Being sinless isn’t a prerequisite of salvation. You just need to change your mind about the need for a Saviour. Belief is the only prerequisite to becoming a born again child of God. “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16b. Over and over again the Bible explains what it takes to be born again, born from above, from God. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.John 3:18. We condemn ourselves when we choose not to believe.

If we are to believe God’s word we must believe that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection paid the price for ALL sin. Those who are born again are no longer judged as sinners, and over time even those living a lifestyle of obvious “public” sin will come to recognize their opposition to God’s will. This recognition of sin usually isn’t immediate upon believing in Christ. It’s a process and involves all three members of the Holy Trinity. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:2. For most of us it’s a slow, steady, gradual process referred to in our Bibles as sanctification. Everyone who claims to believe in Christ needs to learn about Him and grow closer to Him in our thoughts, words, and actions. That is done by prayerfully studying our Bible, believing God’s word, and applying it to our life. When we sin we need to confess to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10.

In order to see Jesus first we must believe. We must believe that Jesus Christ is God Almighty, He entered His creation and became a Man (the Man Jesus Christ). His Word is true as He is the Word; we can and must trust Him with our lives by believing without any doubt who He is and what He’s done. Then by studying God’s word and examining our own lives we will see sin as God does. We will get the mote out of our own eye before we try to get the speck out of other people’s eyes. Christ paid the full price for our forgiveness. Do you believe it? Do you see Him? If so, live for Him.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
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