Is the Gospel a Call to Blind Faith?

6345431496_f710348d05_mA young lad was asked in Sunday School, “What is faith?” He answered confidently, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

He may have heard Hebrews 11:1 but not understood its nuances: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Still, there are those who argue, “Religious faith is self-deception; it is a mental trick we play on ourselves to keep our anxieties at bay.” Others label it an attitude the weak embrace to make their weakness bearable.

But, aren’t we all bound to faith in navigating the uncertainties of our daily lives? We don’t eat in a restaurant unless we have faith that the food will be safe and tasty. Somebody recommended the place but we responded in faith.

We write a check in faith that the money will be in the bank, even though we cannot see, feel, hear, or smell the money. We rely on the evidence of past experience.

Getting married is a towering act of faith. So is signing a mortgage. Even opening a can of peas is a gesture of faith.

The Christian gospel calls us to faith on the most consequential scale of all. It speaks to a life and death issue — our sin and its shadow over the life we live, and the need for redemption for this life and the next. What is the evidence?

Here is one aspect of that evidence.

During the first century, four men set down in writing the story of Jesus Christ, the Messiah sent from God. Two of these men — Matthew and John — had traveled with him for approximately three years. A younger man, Mark, had apparently witnessed first hand the events of Jesus’ unlawful arrest which would lead up to his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection (Mark 14:51).

Luke, the fourth witness, had not traveled with Jesus but had researched the events of his life, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, and had carefully recorded the story. He was an educated man, a doctor, and is recognized to the present as a careful historian (Luke 1:1- 4).

These accounts were carried across the known world from that time to the present, and although they have been repeatedly attacked they continue to speak saving truth 21 centuries later. The essence of their call? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). This is a call to faith based on evidence.

It is also convincing to many that men of great learning have come to faith through reading these timeless accounts. Being convinced of their authenticity, men like Augustine of the fifth century, Martin Luther of the sixteenth, G.K. Chesterton and C.S.Lewis of the twentieth, and countless others who after thorough investigation have embraced the Gospel’s truth in faith.

As well, ordinary people and even the down-and-out testify to the life-changing power of the Gospel. The greatest wonder is a supernatural change to mind, heart, and habits of people at all levels.

But not all become believers who have read the Gospels and encounter the witness of others. Some read but cannot seem to rise above their unbelief, or they refuse to relinquish it. To them this Gospel cautions, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).

When saving faith enters the heart and mind of one who formerly did not believe, this faith brings assurance with it. Jesus prayed for his disciples before he was separated from them, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

Saving faith leads to a kind of knowing – an affirmation of the truth made to the heart. The Apostle John wrote: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

The Gospel call is not a call to credulity, an invitation to “believe what we know ain’t so.” It is a call to engage the facts set down in the Gospel, consider the testimony of other believers, and examine our own hearts to renounce resistance to their truth.

It is a call to put full faith in the one who came into our world as an infant, lived a blameless life before the world, died an ignominious death on behalf of others but rose again to ascend into heaven. There he ever lives to make intercession for us.

What a consequence! When we believe, our hearts say with conviction: Jesus is Savior, and Jesus is Lord!

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Photo credit: Phil Long (via flickr.com)

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3 thoughts on “Is the Gospel a Call to Blind Faith?

  1. Well done Don, but for me it is easier by far to think about faith than to experience it. This I came across in advice to a new convert. A person’s actions in life tell everything about the reality of faith. Roy C.Kenny

  2. I have used the phrase many times regarding faith “faith is believing in what you know is so.” A strong confidence that the reports of eyewitnesses and others acquainted with the facts can be depended upon. And overall a conviction that God intends to give us true information about Himself and the plans He has so carefully and lovingly made for humanity and this earth. Thanks for this good article.

  3. It’s said seeing is believing,implying we can’t believe what we can’t see.Does that mean for a blind person nothing exists.Of course not.Seeing is just one of 5 senses. We can also feel ,smell,taste and hear something’s existence.

    Then there are things which exist yet can’t be seen,smelt,heard ,felt or tasted.They are invisible to the sense and also ,untouchable,unsmellable,unhearable ,untasteavble.Yet still they exist and are believable even knowable
    .
    We can’t see time or electricity.They exist.We can’t see love.We can see the result of love when a mother comforts her infant ,but we can’t describe the shape,size or colour of love.Yet we believe in love.

    To detect these things we are equipped , blessed,with a host of additional faculties ,beyond the senses,to know of the existence and presence of precious spiritual things..We kave reason,logic,understanding,intuition ( sometimes called sixth sense) and faculties we may not even have a name for yet.

    There is one very sweet faculty with which we are also blessed. It is the precious gift of faith ,with which we can discern the sublime.
    In that branch of philosophy called aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness – including moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual, or artistic greatness..It is especially the greatness beyond all possibility of calculation or measurement. The greatest ,unique sublimity of all is God.

    Through faith in His second Person we find Him. Through Jesus we come to know God.

    When folk say religious faith is to ease our anxieties – well yes,religious faith eases our anxieties.That’s good.Faith works .But the easing of anxieties is merely the beginning of the blessings faith brings.

    When folk who say faith is for the weak,what about Peter’s faith.Accepting and enduring inverted crucifixion is the opposite of weakness..In northern Iraq today people, including children, refuse to renounce Christ,when ISIL soldiers threaten beheading unless they deny Him..That’s strength not weakness.Again and again we see faith shows the greatest sterength.

    What strengthens our faith ?.Scripture does. The Christian witness given by those who evangelize us does.Experience of Christ through the Holy Spirit entering our lives and our hearts does.The new birth,that astonishing first entry of the beauty of holiness into us, is perhaps the most powerful such experiental encounter with the Lord..

    Regarding scripture,the Bible, it’s greatly encouraging,Pastor,that someone of your long experience of closely reading the Gospels,attribute the Gospels of Matthew and John to the two disciples Matthew Levi and John the Beloved..So many commentators try to convince us it’s a different Matthew ,a different John.

    My gut feeling has always been that these Gospels come from the actual companions of Jesus.John particularly gives such a vivid account ,so full of details of time and place.He was there! I assume there were times when some of the 12 disciples were away baptizing ,teaching and healing in His name.John seems always to be by Jesus.For instance he but not Matthew witnessed the remarkable raising of Lazarus.If Matthew had been there he would have written of so memorable a miracle.John was present..He did .

    I think authorship was different 2 thousand years ago.Maybe that confuses commentators.I think the message not the author was paramount.Authors weren’t celebrities with authorial egos.I think witness was often passed by word of mouth and written up at a later date. I try to imagine back then with those conditions and resources.

    There was no printing.A single copy was written and if one wanted it read in say Egypt ,Jerusalem and Rome, simultaneously , then copies had to be made.The further afield the gospel was spread,the more copies had to be made.

    I’m guessing authors rarely signed their names on manuscripts. Then again ,like medieval times and even today ,the author may have dictated and a scribe written it down ( pa or secretary or dictation machine today).

    Maybe John ,a fisherman,wasn’t a skilled writer at first and employed help.Matthew would more probably have been a skilled writer.I’m just guessing,trying to imagine.

    Matthew and John are good eye witness accounts , by people inviolved in Christ’s mission from recent memory ,of events so great they could not be forgotten. ,.Luke’s gospel is the writing of a learned physician who travelled with Paul evangelizing . Mark ,not one of the 12 diasciples,but one of the 70,I’m not so clear about who Mark was but assume he was there at the last supper and then at Jesus’s arrest.I read he was at the wedding feast at Cana but can’t remember where I read that.

    In any case it is remarkable to have 4 detailed historical accounts of a person of 2,000 years ago.I think we have more information about Jesus than any other ancient person.Not just Christian accounts ,since Josephus the Jewish historian of the same century as Jesus , confirms Jesus lived , taught and was crucified on Pilate’s orders.

    We don’t need faith to know about the Son of God.But we do need faith to know Him fully

    The Lord our God gave us the greatest gift possible.In the end even Abraham wasn’t required to give his son.God gave His Son ! God gave us the option of redemption ,freedom from imprisoning sin , freedom from the curse of death.

    Who would not accept such a gift with the utmost loving gratitude?The Lord our God even gifted us with faith,the means to accept His Son Jesus for our Lord and Saviour. Jesus ,Son of God,God of God , IS our Lord and Saviour.

    Thankyou for another encouraging and inspirational blog Pastor Don.You stretch my mind and heart further and further to the Lord.

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