“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Just over a week ago was the 13th anniversary of my salvation. That was a big day. My darkest day and also my brightest. It was the day I first believed.
We see all sorts of Disney-type messages out there, encouraging us to “believe.” If only you might “believe” everything will be all right. I suppose that must make people feel better or they wouldn’t be doing it. However, it’s nothing more than a mother kissing a boo-boo. The real problem is sin and the real answer is saving faith in Jesus.
What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to believe? I’m not going to try fool anybody – I can’t explain it to you. I know it is far different than I thought. Certainly, it’s not the same as believing the Nicene (or Apostle’s) Creed. Heck, I had said that thing probably thousands of times and would have said I actually believed it. But that wasn’t what Jesus was looking for, and I knew it.
No, he was looking for those who would believe enough to follow him. As in 100%. All that changed for me on June 13, 2007. On that day, I was all in. The truly amazing thing as I ponder that day is that I agreed to something I didn’t truly understand, nor do I think I would have agreed to in the moments before I did. You see, I said to God, “I will do anything you want me to, even if it means telling other people about you.” It was immediately upon that that I was saved. No mistake about that.
It was a couple of days afterwards when I finally addressed the Jesus issue. Up to then, I was dealing with God the Father, or at least that’s who I thought I was dealing with. A couple days later, I asked, in prayer, what I should do with Jesus. I can’t tell you why for sure, but my main problem with faith was directed at Jesus. As I have since learned through the bible, Jesus is the spiritual target. Mine was a spiritual battle. My prayer was answered with simply an understanding that Jesus was indeed sent by God and that I should follow him. I’ve been doing that since.
The interesting thing is that I didn’t agree to any of it – in that it wasn’t my idea to begin with. The idea that I would do anything including proselytizing would have been ludicrous to me. And follow Jesus? Wow, if only you knew me before I was saved!
So, where did these ideas come from and why did I agree to them?
I guess the best explanation that I’ve heard comes from the folks of Reformed Theology which would say that the bible teaches that our salvation is initiated by God and that our belief (or faith) is a response to the regeneration that God did to us. Our faith, in fact, is a gift of God.
So, I said that I would do anything, even to share the gospel. That wasn’t my idea; it was God’s command, and I obeyed. It SEEMED like my original idea, but it wasn’t. You know, I’m glad about that because I would have tried to look for a loophole or some way to manipulate my acceptance. I would have tried to bargain with God. You know what? God doesn’t bargain; he doesn’t have to. Oh, I suppose one could say that Abraham bargained with God about Sodom, but did he really? I don’t think so. Certainly, he didn’t let me bargain because I would have been insincere.
This has been a HUGE blessing for me. Mind you, I’m acknowledging to you that God did NOT allow me to exercise my free will in this matter. For that, I am grateful and will thank him for all eternity. I was blind. I was foolish. Yet God plucked me out of my cesspool and saved me.
I don’t understand all this faith and belief stuff. I’m not going to try kid you into thinking I do. There are times that I scratch my head and really wonder if all this is true. Yet, when I stop to think about all that has happened and how the bible accurately describes everything, I find myself having great faith. Do I understand? No. Do I have faith? Yes.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God,
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
You have my story in this post. Do not these verses fit perfectly? I’ll bet if you really think about your salvation story, you’ll find the same thing happened to you.
Father, thank you for your mercy. I’m still at a loss as to why you are kind to me, but I am grateful. Thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers