Faith

15 Sep

A funny thing has happened to ‘faith’ recently – it’s meaning has been dramatically changed!  I noticed this again as I read the newspaper editorials.  People now talk about faith as ‘believing something for which there is no evidence’.  So, the argument goes that it doesn’t matter whether or not the events of Easter happened – who cares, it’s whether you believe them.  However, this is to confuse ‘faith’ with ‘blind faith’.

When the Bible talks about faith it is talking about believing on the basis of the evidence and then trusting it.  That is why the New Testament is so concerned to stress the history of what happened to Jesus.  That Jesus actually died is so important, because if he didn’t we would still be facing God’s judgement.  That Jesus truly did rise from the grave is so important, because if he didn’t we would still be in our sins and death would still be the end for us!  The Apostle Paul reminds people that ‘faith’ is not a private experience that cannot be tested when he reminds the Corinthians of just how many people saw Jesus risen from the dead (1 Cor 15).

Why is this so important?  Well, Christian faith is not irrational (as so many want to say today).  Christian faith is not believing in fairy stories that could not possibly be true.  Christian faith is rationally deciding on the basis of the evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be; that he lived a sinless life; that in his death he was taking the punishment of God that we deserved; that he rose from the dead; and that, one day all humanity will be raised, some to everlasting life and some to judgment.

In the end we all have faith.  However, faith in itself is nothing – what is important is what the faith is in.  It’s less about whether we have faith and more about whether the thing we put our faith in is faithful and trustworthy.  Many modern atheists say that they don’t have faith.  What a stupid thing to say! The atheist has faith – but not in God.  Instead they put their faith in themselves and the ability of the human mind to overcome obstacles and find answers.  Surely this is ‘blind faith’ given our track record!  The Christian puts their faith in God who has shown his faithfulness in sending his Son into the world to save us.  Both have faith – but I know which one I think is more rational and trustworthy!

Phil Colgan

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One Response to “Faith”

  1. Anita Swift September 17, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks, Phil.

    This got me thinking – Christian faith IS rational. The evidence IS there that Jesus is who he claimed to be and that God is supremely worthy of our faith. And yet so many seemingly otherwise rational people choose to put their faith in themselves instead.

    It reminded me that rational faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8), since the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who don’t trust the true and living God (2 Cor 4:4) so that they don’t see that Jesus is who he claimed to be despite the evidence. This means that the very human mind that unbelievers are putting their trust in will always prove to be untrustworthy apart from the grace of God.

    So I guess I need to keep asking God to give the gift of faith in him to my friends who are still trusting in themselves.

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