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NetChaplain

Believing Without Seeing

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This article is not an attempt to address personal beliefs concerning any individual teaching, but to emphasize significance concerning the opportunity for the believer to understand faith in a fuller sense in relation to its exercise. For we “hope for what we do not see” so “we can eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom 8:25).

 

Believing Without Seeing

 

In these post-apostolic times it is more blessed to “hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28) than to seek for, or even “require a sign,” which was the normative for the Jew during the time of Christ (1Cor 1:22) due to the confirmations required for their Prophets (Deu 18:22). Since those days it presently serves understanding that faith resulting from observable (physical) evidence impedes the opportunity for its fuller development, which should more now than ever, reflect that which is apart from the natural (physical nature).

 

Though the observable universe is physical proof of God’s sovereignty (Rom 1:20), and that He has physically proven Himself within the Law and Apostolic eras, I believe He has in these times purposed for faith to consist more so of that which is apart from material observances in order that faith can potentially be exercised in its greatest capacity. For the highest blessing in faith results in believing without seeing physical evidence (John 20:29). Hence, faith is at its pinnacle, not when it is evidenced from things seen but rather when it “is the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).

 

In times past I believe God manifested Himself by “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) in order to establish faith in His written Word. As His manifestations continued the necessity for external confirmation progressively decreased. It wasn’t until after the completion of the Scriptural cannon that the written Word of God would confirm itself apart from the necessity of visible manifestations, thus allowing for a greater capacity of faith. For where would there be a need of faith in a reality which is already seen (Rom 8:24)?

 

I believe the significance here lies within the fact that it is in this life only that faith will be exercised (2Cor 5:7), hence the significance of its highest use. I also believe this is why one cannot now physically prove the reality of God, so that faith in Him could be primarily based upon His Word more so than on the senses or science.

 

As before mentioned I believe the primary intention for physical proof during the apostolic era was to “confirm the Word” (Mark 16:20; Heb 2:4), because belief in the written Word of God results in faith (Rom 10:17), not “by” but “through” (Eph 2:8) which salvation is received. Thus the Spirit regenerates (rebirth) the minds and hearts of believers in the life of Christ (Col 3:4)—through the written Word of God, and since the completion of the Scriptures as a cannon, faith can now be based more on the invisible than the visible.

 

Regardless of where believers are concerning the development of their faith and their conformity-level in Christ (Rom 8:29), the Father “works everything together for good” (v 28) in their lives. The tinsel-strength of our faith here consists in not just knowing this, but understanding that we can expect everything, every day to be pre-arranged to benefit for our “good” (i.e. strengthening faith, drawing closer to God and to one another, more effective outreaching to others, etc.) even if we at times for any reason may think otherwise!

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