The Blessing of Biblical Faith

Have you responded to an advertisement lately that promises something vague? You’ve had to open the envelope or email to learn more about the stated reward or discount. Many internet and email advertisers pursue us today with offers. But, we have to chase the ‘invitation” if we’re interested to learn the truth. Then, if you apply for a new credit card, expect to get other companies pursuing you for months. I’ve had many companies send me mail promising a $250 or $500 cash reward for opening an account with them. Curious, I open the envelope to see what I must do to earn it. I have to spend five or ten times that amount in a few months before getting the “reward.” I don’t know about you, but that’s not a reward in my eyes; it’s a bribe. If I had not read the literature carefully, I might not realize the condition for getting the funds and would have requested the card—in blind faith. Blind faith is a faith with no reason or faith despite evidence to the contrary. God’s Word never endorses faith without reason, evidence, or proof. The proof of Scripture is in the historical accuracy of its events, prayers, miracles, and teachings. Real people lived real lives and said things people memorized and recorded about the world, God, people, and creatures. “Biblical faith is not blind trust in the face of contrary evidence, not an unknowable’ leap in the dark;’ rather, biblical faith is a confident trust in the eternal God who is all-powerful, infinitely wise, eternally trustworthy–the God who has revealed himself in his word and in the person of Jesus Christ, whose promises have proven true from generation to generation, and who will ‘never leave nor forsake’ his own (John 13:5). Such faith in the unseen realities of God is emphasized throughout [Hebrews] chapter 11 and has provided confidence and assurance to all who receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.” (1) We sometimes confuse sight with the truth; but God is invisible but real or believable. When we have faith in our unseeable God, the object of our faith is Christ, who is alive, reliable, and the source of all spiritual blessings. Believers are spiritually blessed by Jesus Christ because we have real, biblical, saving faith. Let’s delight in the blessings of Christ and reject tendencies toward “blind faith.”

Thomas Believed When He Saw Jesus

After Jesus’s resurrection, Thomas seems to think that the disciples saw a ghost rather than Jesus’s real, glorified body. The following Sunday the disciples gathered before returning to Galilee. Jesus appeared in the locked room “and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” (John 20:26-29) “What does Jesus mean when he says, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed?’…I believe he is speaking, not of a subjective faith, but of a satisfied faith. He is speaking of faith that is satisfied with what God provides and is therefore not yearning for visions, miracles, esoteric experiences, or various forms of success as evidence of God’s favor. More than that, he is saying that a faith without these things is not inferior to but is actually superior to a faith based upon them. If you are a normal Christian, I am sure there have been times when you have been discouraged, perhaps overcome with doubt, and you have said, ‘Oh, if God would only reveal himself to me in some special way so that my sight, touch, or hearing could assist my faith.’ We remember that there were people in the Bible who had such evidence’…Why can’t we have something similar?’ we argue. ‘Surely we could believe much better and be far more effective in our Christian walk and witness if we did.’ But that is not true, even though we like to tell ourselves that it is. For one thing, we usually want such experiences for the wrong reason—vanity. We would have a far higher opinion of ourselves if we should be granted an experience which most do not have. For another thing, visions do not necessarily lead to greater faith…If you are looking for miracles (which God sometimes does provide, but seldom), you will gradually become insensitive to the thousands of normal evidences of God’s mercy which you receive constantly…the blessings of the gospel are for those who live by faith and not by sight, who live by their faith in the character and benevolence of God.” (2) We are spiritually blessed by Jesus Christ because he gives us this reliable biblical, saving faith. The more robust our belief, the more able we are to reject tendencies toward “blind faith.”

Blessed to Believe Him Without Seeing Him

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7) “This is not a reference to believing the unbelievable but to living all of one’s life based on confident trust in God’s promises for the future, even when one cannot yet see the fullness of the coming glory.” (3) “The present state and situation of the saints, whilst in the body, is a state of pilgrimage, and so of absence from the Lord Christ, and from their Father’s house, serves to increase their confidence and assurance, that they shall not long continue so, but in a little time shall be at home, and forever with the Lord. For we walk by faith, and not by sight. Faith is a grace which answers many useful purposes; it is the eye of the soul, by which it looks to Christ for righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation; the hand by which it receives him, and the foot by which it goes to him, and walks in him as it has received him; which denotes not a single act of faith, but a continued course of believing; and is expressive, not of a weak, but of a strong steady faith of glory and happiness, and of interest in it…Faith looks at, and has a glimpse of things not seen, which are eternal; but it is but seeing as through a glass darkly; it is not that full sight, face to face, which will be had hereafter, when faith is turned into vision..” (4)

Being Informed About God is a Blessing

“When Christians are not informed about the many reasons for God, their faith rests on an intellectually weak foundation. With a weak foundation, their spiritual home becomes unstable and is difficult to share with others. If spiritual leaders convince you that believing things without any reason to do so is virtuous, then you’ve opened yourself up to being misled by anything they tell you…I would challenge you to raise the bar of your engagement with Christians to the highest level you can take it. Maybe begin with Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis or The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. If that’s weak sauce, go after Reasonable Faith, by William Lane Craig. Hungering for something bristling with the toughest arguments? Work your way through The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.” (5) “God blesses faith, and not the living out of some unusual experience…Suppose God’s blessing were linked to the unusual. In that case, either his blessing would be for a small and select company only, or else the things we consider unusual would have to become commonplace, in which case they would cease to have the character of ‘special evidences.’ They would be like those other countless evidences of God’s providence which we enjoy daily but do not regard so highly, simply because they are common. No, the blessings of God are for all; and they are based, not upon the unusual in Christian experience, but upon faith which by its very nature and definition is common to all who call upon the name of Christ as God and Savior. This is why the Gospel of John ends on this note. It ends here because John wants to encourage everyone to believe on Jesus and enjoy God’s blessings.” (6) And, I add, to reject the tendency we may have toward blind faith, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) The next time I read of some “reward” on the front of an envelope, I will think of our sure, true, reliable inheritance in Christ. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9) 

Related Scripture: 2 Chronicles 30:26-27; Luke 1:18-20; John 20:29; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1; Ephesians 3:17-19; Hebrews 11:1.

Notes:

  1. English Standard Version Study Bible Notes, Hebrews 11:1, (digital edition), Crossway, 2008.
  2. Boice, James, Boice Expositional Commentary Series, John 20:29, Baker Books, Software version, 1998.
  3. ESV Study Bible Notes, Ibid, 2 Corinthians 5:6-7.
  4. Gill, John, John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:6-7, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-corinthians-5.html
  5. Weitnauer, Carson, The Problem of Blind Faith, February 2, 2013 by Carson Weitnauer, http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2013/02/02/the-problem-of-blind-faith/.
  6. Boice, Ibid, John 20:29.

June 2, 2022

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