“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
~John 20:29b (NRSV).
Could it just be that the great ‘heaven ‘n’ hell’ debate is the biggest red herring in faith-life circles? Well, we’ll have to wait until the Great Judgment for that one to be answered.
One incontrovertible power of spirituality, however, is faith. Yes, the practice of it.
What Many New Believers Don’t Hear or Learn
A definition: Faith is going on to act at accord with biblical truth despite any real sense of visible hope.
A thing grossly underestimated by many telling, selling and hearing the Gospel story is the power of faith for everyday living.
The Gospel: it’s a simple, yet complex message. Jesus died for our sins and we’re no longer condemned in God’s sight, but following Jesus is not just good news about grace — if that could ever be undersold, let alone grasped.
The difficult life is the blessed life in that faith has its opportunity to shine through us — that is, to believe, in the presence of little or no evidence of fruition. From our definition above it’s acting even without promise of reward. But it is rewarded — inevitably.
Our acts of faith are done without thought of reward.
Thomas and Us – (Reading John 20:24-29)
Poor Thomas. He gets lambasted for the very things we all do; he disbelieved.
He sought evidence and so do we. We want proof; to hold God captive to the delivery of promises for blessing. After all, our flesh default is to think we deserve it.
We’re caught in our faith-voids, too, whenever we complain, make envious comparisons or compromise on the good standards we set ourselves.
So we can learn a lot about ourselves in studying Thomas.
Thomas learned rather an embarrassing lesson, and any time we too are shown to be lacking trust in God we learn again the graphic lesson — faith is not about seeing at all. In fact, it’s about believing on the Word of God alone, without sight.
And, of course, the best news is faith is the simplest thing — a decision or series of them. Based on the biblical morality and imperative we go ahead anyway.
Everyone’s Equally Blessed
We’re not that different, then, from Thomas. Yet, Jesus sets the bar higher in faith — a commodity everyone has in abundance if they’ll only express it. Jesus asks us to believe without seeing. Anyone can do this, but they must first deal with their scepticism.
Anyone can express faith; it just should be good biblical faith, not a bad faith that’s grounded in untrue sources; the self, for instance.
We should always have confidence in our faith in biblical truth, but know that such faith is uttered via our actions in line with the biblical morality and mandate.
Everyone has the same capacity, but what must be built is a sound moral warehouse. From such an investment we simply add courage to make decisions out at sea without sight, yet, of land.
Everyone is capable of such decisions. This really is the main thrust of the Christian faith.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Dornob.