Believing in the Unseen
Faith is the belief that we can put our lives in the hands of God and trust in what we know about Him from the Bible.
There is a “seen faith” and an “unseen faith.” According to John 20:29, which says blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed the real power is in our unseen faith. When we believe in the unseen, then we are truly blessed.
But believing things we can’t see is difficult. We live in a world where we like to be in control, and we can’t be in control when we have to trust in something we can’t see.
Control is a weird thing. Even when we’re not technically “in control” of a situation, if we can at least foresee the outcome, it’s easier. We can have more peace about it. It’s when we have no control AND we can’t foresee the outcome that we start to get anxious and lose faith.
Start with What You Know
When it comes to having faith in things we can’t see, like the future, it helps to start with having faith in what we know and what we’ve seen. For instance, we know that Jesus Christ is our savior. We know from reading the Bible that the price He paid for us made us right with God and granted us everlasting life. Because of this we know that God loves us, and those of us that have been saved have experienced this love personally. We’ve seen it.
Believing in Jesus is the first step, but faith entails much more than just believing. The book of John tells us that Jesus is the Word. But he’s not just the written word. He’s the living word. So believing in Jesus means we not only believe that what the Bible says is true, but we also believe what He’s done, what He declares, and that He’s still working today.
In essence, when we read the Word and believe in what it says, we’re believing in Jesus. We can’t believe in Jesus and not the Word or believe in the Bible and not Jesus since they are the same. Embracing Jesus while neglecting the Word isn’t possible.
Once we believe in Jesus, there are things we can do to help us build our faith from there. The typical things like studying the Word, praying, fellowshipping with fellow Christians, and meditating on the fact that Jesus is our King of Kings all help us grow in our faith. Our faith is meant to grow. If it’s not growing, then it’s getting smaller. We have to exercise our faith like a muscle.
But this also takes faith. It takes faith to believe that God will reward you for all the time and energy you put in to building your relationship with Him. We’ve always heard in church to do these things. We’ve been told to read our Bible and pray. It’s the cookie cutter church answer to everything. But it takes faith to believe that it’s worth something, that there’s a spiritual payoff.
What’s ironic is that when we put in this effort, God gives us a zest for life in return. Then that zest for life gives us the energy to pursue Him even more. It’s cyclical. It’s kind of like the idea of tithing. When we give our money to God, He blesses what’s left, and we’re able to give even more. We just need to trust God to take the first step.
God Gives Us Our Faith
The great thing about that very fist step – the one where we’re saved – is that God even helps us with that. Ephesians 2:8 says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. This grace that saves us is a gift, and how do we get this grace? Faith. Our faith is what releases this grace to us to save us. But guess what. That faith is also a gift from God. The faith it takes to know God and to please Him and to fully accept His grace as everything God promises it to be…is a gift. All we have to do is make the choice to accept Him.
What this means is that non-believers who don’t understand how grace works or maybe even don’t fully believe that God could truly forgive them for everything they’ve done don’t have to worry about their faith being weak. All they have to do is make the decision to accept Christ. God won’t force us. But once we do choose Him, He will give us the faith it takes to fully receive His grace and be saved.
Faith and Works
Lastly, once we are saved by our God-given faith, what naturally follows is obedience. The word used in the Bible for this is often “works,” which just means us doing what God calls us to do, both as a follower of Christ and personally day by day.
James 2:20 says, Faith without works is dead. Therefore it must take works to have faith that’s alive. Faith and works go together. And why wouldn’t they? The natural response to a God who has saved us is to do what he asks, having faith that He knows what He’s doing.