And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.
– 2 Corinthians 4:13
Christianity is a great confession – a great positive confession.
We’ve learnt about negative confession. People do it in the name of spiritual humility. The book of Colossians calls it false humility. The sad thing is that this kind of negative confessions slowly destroys people – it destroys their happiness, their confidence, their assurance, their health and their finances.
The right confession is the confession that is based on who we are in Christ, what we have in and through Christ, what we are because of the new birth in Jesus, what we are to God the Father, what Jesus is doing for us, and what His word can accomplish in and through us. For several weeks, we have been learning about the reasoning behind confession. We saw 10 reasons already. Let’s look at one more reason.
THE CHOICE TO BELIEVE
Confession is important because it shows that you
have made the choice to believe in God’s word.
When people are in trouble, they usually speak about the problem. That is a natural reaction to their current problem. When you see a person who speaks God’s words at their moment of trouble, you see a “quality Christian”. Such a Christian will overcome problems and be a great witness for Christ and has a great future. Some people say that they don’t know whether they have faith in their heart. It’s very simple to find out if you have faith in your heart. Listen to yourself talking. Your words will show whether you have faith or unbelief.
Made in the image of God to create and sustain our world by our word
God ‘framed’ the world by His word. ‘Framed’ means ‘fitly joined together’. What created this perfect fit in the midst of chaos? – The word of God. God not only created the world, but also upholds everything by the word of His power.
What does it mean – ‘to uphold’? The word that He spoke sustains the world in the same condition that it became when He spoke it. The word is still powerful and making everything function harmoniously. Psalm 99 says that He will not change the word that He has spoken. The sun still rises and sets. Are we worried about it? We take it for granted. The four seasons come and go. Gravity still works. We are all standing and walking on the earth without wondering if gravity will one day cease to function and if we will all start floating ins space. The natural world functions as it has always been. We see that the word of God is still sustaining and upholding everything. His word has not changed.
God made us like Him. We are supposed to function by the word of God. Just like He made and is upholding the world by the Word, we also have to make and uphold our world by the word of God. That is why Christians must realise the importance of the words they speak. There is power in the spoken word.
UNBELIEF OF THE DISCIPLES
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “ Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
– John 20:19
The disciples were glad only after Jesus showed them His hands and His side. They believed only after they saw. Seeing and believing is the lowest kind of faith. When you see a chair with 4 legs, you don’t inspect it and see if it’s strong; you just sit on it without any hesitation. You see and believe that it will hold you. But if you see a chair with a leg missing, you won’t sit on it, because you see that it is unstable and you believe that you will fall. If I point empty space and say to you, ‘Please sit on the chair’, will you sit? You won’t because you don’t see a chair. This is seeing and believing. On the contrary, the highest level of faith is not believing what you see, but believing what you do not see, but just hear.
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.
– John 20:24,25
Thomas’ level of faith was even lower than that of the other disciples. He said that he would believe only after he touched. He had to see, touch and believe. There are several levels of faith. The Bible talks about little faith, more faith, growing in faith, exceedingly great faith and so on. These believers were in their lowest level of faith. It was the worldly level of seeing and believing. They didn’t believe in resurrection. They could not believe that Jesus would rise up from the dead. It’s not just about Thomas that had unbelief; it was the state of mind of all of the disciples.
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “ Peace to you!”
Then He said to Thomas, “ Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
– John 20:26-28
It is the same situation as the first time that Jesus appeared. They were in a room, the door was closed, and Jesus comes inside. He tells Thomas to feel His wounds. Nobody had told Jesus what Thomas had said. But Jesus knew what Thomas had said and told him to touch his wounds. Thomas now realises that he was in the presence of God.
Then, we hear a fantastic truth about faith from the mouth of Jesus.
Jesus said to him, “ Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
– John 20:29
We have not seen Jesus. We have not felt His wounds. We have not seen Him die and resurrect; yet, we believe in Him. We believe that He died and rose again for our sins. We believe that He lives today. We believe that He is the Saviour and have received him in our lives. We are blessed, because Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’.
Faith requires deliberate effort
Believing is a matter of choice. Some people have predetermined not to believe. Some people are slowly convinced and then believe. Most of are raised to believe in certain things; to believe otherwise is a big effort. There is a culture within Christianity that we are used to – a culture that says we are nothing, that we are weak and unworthy, and that we’re unfit for blessing. It’s a culture of unbelief, a defeatist culture, a negative thinking culture. They can’t think or speak anything positive, they can’t believe for anything great. They need a culture shock to get out of such small thinking.
Jesus’ command to us is the same as his command to Thomas – “Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” This means that we have ‘a capacity to believe’. We have to make a choice. To get out of an attitude of unbelief into an attitude of faith, we have to consciously work. By faith, we have to reject a mentality of failure, worry, inferiority, unworthiness, poverty, weakness, inability and all negativity. We are used to our old thinking of unbelief. We have to make a deliberate effort to believe in the right things and receive the blessing that God has for us.
The worldly belief system is ‘believing what you see’. The Bible-faith belief system is ‘believing what God says’. Even if what you see is contradictory to what God says, you believe the Word, instead of what you see. You believe the word instead of what the circumstances seem like. You believe the Word instead of your experiences. You believe the Word and the Word only. That is the ‘faith’ that the Bible talks about.
…to be continued…