(Note: I fully intended to post an article on Romans 6:17-18 today but wasn’t satisfied with what I had written. I am posting something I had already written and will go back and revise what I had planned for today.)
Faith isn’t just believing what Jesus said. It is believing in – trusting him that he is who he said he is, that he did what the Bible said he did and that he will do what he said he will do – to the end that we will do what he commands us to do. It is the exact reverse of what Eve did in the garden. Because she believed a lie her trust in God failed and she became disobedient.
For some, it is difficult to trust others because they have so often been disappointed and hurt by those whom they had thought they could rely on to be there for them through good times and bad. When one has been betrayed, lied to, been scorned and rejected the suspicion is that the next person who comes into their lives will be like all the rest, so they wall themselves off from the world, hoping to avoid any more pain. Some try to medicate away the pain of their loneliness through the use of drugs and alcohol or sex and pleasures of various sorts. But nothing is an adequate substitute for another person in one’s life – someone we can talk to and share our lives with – someone we can trust our hearts with.
There is someone who will be all that and more to us if we but allow Him into our lives. It is, of course, Jesus, the lowly Galilean. Jesus, who came to be the King whom God had long ago promised, did not come sitting upon a glorious throne. He did not come with an army in a regal parade of the victorious conqueror. He did not come with a fanfare of trumpets, or the shout of multitudes of admirers. He came as a baby, small and weak and helpless. He had to learn everything that human children have to learn. He had to learn who He was and what He was expected to do while He was in this world.
And before anyone objects that there is no way that He could understand what we go through in this life, let me remind you that when He came telling the world that He was the Son of God, He endured the same kind of treatment from callous, uncaring people that you and I have known in our lives. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, lied to and lied about. He was falsely accused, scorned and spat upon. He finally was made the victim of the actions of an illegal court, sentenced to death, scourged, mocked and crucified. He, while hanging on the cross was taunted and ridiculed by unbelievers until He died the death of a common criminal – and that solely because He loves us so much. So no one can say He doesn’t understand the trials they have been made to suffer.
This Jesus – this one who would be a companion to the friendless, a comforter to those who sorrow, a physician to those who are wounded in spirit, an encourager to those whose spirits are made low by the things they have endured – this Jesus wants to be their trusted friend.
But how can we know He can be trusted? How do we know He won’t let us down? How do we know He won’t be like everyone else? There are numerous reasons we can have a confident faith in Him.
First, He isn’t just someone else. He is different from all other people. He is the only begotten Son of God – the only one of His kind. There is no one else like Him. He is Himself God who came into this world in order to do the greatest good for the human race. He was foretold of old, born according to numerous prophecies. He is the most special person who has ever walked upon this sin-cursed earth. And He did it all for you and me, giving us the gift of divine forgiveness if we simply will put our trust in Him.
One inspired writer in urging believers to not trust in money (which can be stolen, lost or which can lose its value) quoted Jesus as saying; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Before He ascended to the Father Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Someone might reason; “Yes, I know He said that, but He did go to heaven, didn’t He? How can He be with us and be in heaven too?” Jesus explained this to His disciples when He was preparing them for His departure. He said,
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18).
So when the Spirit came into the world He came to be the abiding presence of deity, available to all as a Helper or Advocate – one who stands beside us – to assist us, to represent us and to plead with the Father for us. When Jesus was present in the flesh He could only be in one place at a time. But now in the person of the Holy Spirit, He can be with all His people wherever and whenever we need Him – which is all the time.
Finally, we should trust Him – put our complete confidence in Him – because He has promised to return for us to take us to be with Him forever. To His disciples who were deeply disturbed because He had told them of His impending betrayal and death, He said;
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3).