But let all who put their trust in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever, because You cover them. And let those who love Your name be joyful in You. Psalm 5:11
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" Mark 9:23-24
The Psalm was written and sung long after God had performed many miracles:
- Enoch walked with God and then was taken by God.
- Noah survived with a boatful of animals for more than a year while the flood waters receded.
- Abraham and Sarah had Isaac long after their bodies were naturally capable of having another child.
- Jacob wrestled with an angel.
- More than a million people found plenty of water and food in a dry, desolate desert.
- The walls of Jericho crumbled to dust.
- Gideon defeated an army of thousands with his tiny band of 300, albeit that army fled in fear.
- A young boy killed a giant with one stone. Some might not call this a miracle since the boy was adept at killing ferocious animals with his hands in order to protect his father’s sheep.
And that is a much abbreviated list.
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible records miracle after miracle illustrating God’s power and might, His loving kindnesses and mercy. How can we not trust?
Many do not. Many do not even believe God exists, so how can they have faith in something they do not believe, and how can they trust something they do not believe the evidence of?
In a nutshell that outlines the differences between belief and faith and trust. It is a progression ... or is it?
John 3:16 notes that all who believe will be saved. Then Hebrews 11:1 notes that faith is believing something that we really do not have solid evidence of. We cannot physically touch God, and we do have eye witness accounts of what Jesus did, but we did not see. Abraham did not see, but he believed God.
We could say that trust comes after belief and after faith because that tiny nuance is that trust is a conviction that the evidence is true. However, the Greek word translated trust comes from a root word that means anticipate or expect with confidence. That implies a future happening. The Bible is full of evidence. But, first we must believe God exists, and then we must believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God before we can have faith in, and trust the evidence given is the truth. Without belief in God and believing God, there can be no faith and no trust.
Jesus identifies just how crucial belief is to anyone who would please God by obedience in John 6:28-29. After Jesus had fed the 5,000 and had crossed the lake to Capernaum, several followers asked a (what I believe is serious and sincere) question.
“What shall we do so that we may work the works of God?” John 6:28
This question comes from people who grew up doing the works of the ceremonial law, adhering to food restrictions, and all the sacrifices. These are works that God ordained through Moses. They were careful to ask in the plural because they were used to doing many things to keep themselves acceptable in the eyes of God. Earlier, Jesus had already told them they must work for their food and not expect it to be handed to them. Then He tells them not to labor for food that is temporary, but for the food that is eternal. Their question seems to stem from a sincere desire to have this eternal food, and in order to have something so great and precious, they must do something great and worthy.
Jesus said to them, “This is the work (notice the singular) of God, to believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29
This one thing supersedes all other things: ceremonial law, sacrifices, etc. because believing is necessary for everything else to fall into place. Unless you believe, you cannot seek. Unless you believe, you cannot please God. Without belief, there is no reconciliation to God, but then you first must believe God exists (Hebrews 11:6)
God's asks a lot of us. We can't see Him. We can't touch Him. Why should we believe Him, trust Him, have faith in Him?
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:8-9
But even greater than that, he wrote in Romans 4:24
They [scriptures of Abraham’s faith] were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life. 25 God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.
Abraham’s faith that God would do as He promised was actually his certainty of God based on God’s word, and some evidence. God had been faithful to Abraham in the little things, such as keeping him safe in his travels so how much more Abraham knew that God would keep his promise that through Isaac would be born nations. An even greater act of trust is when Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moria and made the altar ready for sacrificing Isaac. Abraham knew God's character by then and trusted Him completely.
For me, it is easy to believe there is God. He created the heavens and the earth in all their glory. The universe is vast beyond our wildest imaginings, but the Bible tells us that it can be measured by his hand's breadth. A newborn's cry is a testimony to God's presence for He created life. His signature is in the stars for He named each one of the billions of billions of stars. Just look at some of the photos that the Hubble Telescope takes. The dogwood's flower gives testimony.
But to believe God, that is harder to do. When you don't "feel" the presence of God, how do you know He's there? When you feel so unworthy, why believe He would do something like answer a prayer?
That is when we must go with what we know rather than our feelings. I love to remember the times we have had together and to draw my comfort from those things He has done for me, from the fact He has never failed me, ever. I know He will fulfill His promises because of all the promises He has already fulfilled. He made the sun stand still. He made the wet bottom of the sea dry as toast. He caused it to rain, and He caused the rain to dry up. He raised Jesus from the dead.
That kind of power flows through Him and yet, He is mindful of me. He knows my name and how many hairs are on my head and the number of gray and the number of brown. It matters not to Him how many wrinkles I have, for He has taken me Just As I Am.
Only God has the power to change lives, the power to forgive the blackest of sin, the power of mercy, the power of grace. Without those, Jesus would not have risen from the dead for He wouldn't have given Himself as sacrifice; and the whole character of God would have been different. Praise God we need not contemplate that, because Jesus is even now alive, at the Father’s right hand interceding for us in the kindest way.
Though the storm rages, we are to be at peace for our Father is at hand and He will cover us with His wings of protection. Paul said it best…
Romans 5:1 By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. 2Christ has also introduced us to God's undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. 3But that's not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. 4And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope 5 that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love.
So you tell me, is there any difference between belief and faith and trust?
'Refreshment in Refuge' Copyright 2014 © Gina Burgess. 'Refreshment in Refuge' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to http://www.liveasif.org/ 2) 'Refreshment in Refuge' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.
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