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Faith in Things Not Seen

August 9, 2012

Hebrews 11:1 states “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Many misunderstand this comment and seek to narrowly define Christian faith as “wishful thinking which has no evidence”. Here as in so many other places, the battle of worldviews occurs in the semantics more than in the reasoning…

The secular world has worked hard to maneuver the postmodern view of religion into a private belief system which has no basis in, nor relevance for, the physical world. The great theologian Dr. Francis Schaeffer, and more recently Nancy Pearcey, have done a far better job than I can do here in demonstrating the fallacies of this thinking. But it is easy to understand why skeptics want to define faith in this way; they can immediately skip down the garden path to atheism with a quick whisper of Occam’s Razor to make themselves feel logically justified in doing so.

What is shocking is how many professing Christians allow others to define their claimed faith in these terms. Many actually seem to feel this is a kind of testament to the strength of their faith – that it exists without any reason! Some misunderstand Jesus’ words in John 20:29, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” He does not say “blessed are those who know nothing about me and have no reason to believe in me, but believe anyway”, but He is merely commenting that trusting eyewitness accounts is admirable, particularly since He had told his disciples to expect His resurrection. In accepting the world’s notion that religion is disconnected from the physical world, that it is only a series of beliefs held in the intellect which impacts other beliefs and thoughts but has no connection with physical reality, many churchgoers are denying the true nature of God and His sovereignty. The God who changed our hearts is the Creator of this physical world!

Is Hebrews 11:1 a soft underbelly and weakness of our faith? Are the “things hoped for” mentioned in the verse some kind of strange wish-list for which there is no reason to expect delivery? Not at all. The things Christians hope for – the return of Christ and our eternity with Him – are things promised in His Word and spoken by Him directly when He was on the earth. Are the “things not seen” events which have never occurred or are impossible? Not at all. They are events witnessed by many people and recounted in the most validated ancient history book ever written – the Bible. The truth of their accounts is proven and reasonable.

As Christians today our faith is truly the “assurance of things hoped for” – let’s make sure the world knows that this assurance derives from knowing that God is who He says He is – and the “conviction of things not seen” – let’s tell the world that this conviction comes from our trust in the Word of God! (Eph1:18).

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From → Bible, Worldview

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