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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."    Hebrews 11:1
FAITH OR PROOF
     What do you think would make your relationship to God stronger, all the faith in the world without the need for proof or all the proof in the world without any faith?  The Bible documents, in the book of Exodus, how the Israelites were freed by God's mighty hand after more than 400 years of bondage.  They were witness to the many plagues the Lord brought down upon the Egyptians.  They saw how Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, was humbled before the Lord and set the Israelites free.
 
     They were guided by God as they traveled through the wilderness.  "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." Exodus 13:21-22.  They watched in awe as God Almighty provided them safe passage through the Red Sea as Pharaoh's armies pursued them. "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.  The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left." Exodus 14:21-22.
 
    How relieved they must have been when the Lord brought the waters down on their enemies, proving God's power and His love for them. "The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea.  Not one of them survived." Exodus 14:28.  "And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant." Exodus 14:31.
 
     You would think that after everything the Lord had brought them through and all the physical manifestations of His power and love they had witnessed, the Israelites would have an unshakeable faith in Him.  The Bible goes on to explain how this just wasn't the case.  In fact, not that long after leaving Egypt, while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, the Israelites turned from God and constructed an idol to worship.  "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.  They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf.  They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt'." Exodus 32:7-8.  The Lord listened to Moses and did not destroy the people of Israel but they were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 more years before they were allowed to enter The Promised Land.
 
     It's obvious that the Israelites had all the proof they could ever want of God's physical existence and His love for them.  What they lacked was faith!  As Christians, the Bible tells us,"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7.  If the Lord had intended for us to be able to "prove" His existence to people, there would be no need for faith!  It is through our faith in Jesus Christ that we are made righteous before God. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Romans 3:22.  It is through our faith in Jesus Christ that we are able to have fellowship with God.  "In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Ephesians 3:12.
 
     When a person becomes born again, the Holy Spirit comes and lives in that person. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"   1 Corinthians 6:19.  When we humble ourselves before the Lord and allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord of our lives, He will guide us by His Holy Spirit. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."  John 14:26.  We follow in faith knowing He will not disappoint us or lead us astray.  The Holy Spirit allows us to see and understand things that otherwise we would not be able to.  "The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."          1 Corinthians 2:10-14.
 
     "Evidence can never compel or coerce faith.  We cannot supplant the role of the Holy Spirit." Dr. Craig L. Blomberg, PH.D.
 
    There are many wonderful books available which discuss the vast amount of physical evidence that confirms the truth and accuracy of the Bible but; do we acquire faith by proof?  As demonstrated by the Israelites in the Old Testament, absolutely not!  Any attempt to "prove" the truth and accuracy of the Bible where there is no faith is futile and where there is faith, proof is unnecessary.  Faith is not the accumulation of information resulting in the intellectual acknowledgement of the existence of God.  "Can you fathom the mysteries of God?  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?  They are higher than the heavens - what can you do?  They are deeper than the depths of the grave - what can you know?  Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." Job 11:7-9.    Physical evidence can fascinate us and serve to strengthen our faith but it is not the seed from which our faith grows.  It should never replace the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, our only true source of faith.  "Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" Galatians 3:3.  We do not "prove" the Bible by physical evidence or by any science known to man.  The Holy Spirit confirms in our hearts the conviction that the Bible is indeed the Word of God!
 
     So, how do we acquire the faith we need?  The Bible gives us the answer. "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17.  Where is the real and only source for the power of salvation found?  In the Gospel of Jesus Christ! "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation" Romans 1:16 KJV.  We must know the Word of God in order to acquire faith and for our knowledge and faith to increase.  It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we may come to God.  In fact, without faith, we can not please God. "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." Hebrews 11:6.
 
    "The Bible does not give us proofs of the existence of God, it proclaims Him; it just tells us about Him."  Dr. Martyn Lloyd - Jones.  Many people believe that the Bible tells us everything we "want" to know about God, when in reality, the Bible contains everything we "need" to know about God!  The Bible makes it clear that there are mysteries of God that are not revealed to man.  "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever" Deuteronomy 29:29.  It is a demonstration of our faith when we accept the fact that there are many things about God that we will not be able to understand.  However, Jesus said, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you." Mark 4:11.  The secret is proclaimed to all, but only those who have faith understand.  The secret is that the kingdom of God has come to us in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
 
    Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ is not a complicated thing when we come in faith.  "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:  'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.'  Where is the wise man?  Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 Corinthians 1:18-20.  "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30.  Our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is something we should accept as simply as a child.  "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:14-15. 
 
     It is not the amount of faith we have that will change our lives but the quality.  Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20.  The power available to each of us through our simple faith in Jesus Christ is limitless.  Such is the quality of faith we strive and pray for.
 
     In closing, always remember that the Bible considers it praiseworthy to have a faith that does not require evidence.  Remember how Jesus responded to a doubting Thomas in the Gospel of John.  "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29.
 
    "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6.

Copyright Abel Ramirez. All rights reserved.

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