Saturday, April 1, 2023

 Believe It Or Not

Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

There was a show called “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” and also a museum by the same name. They have collected many things that are hard to believe. Ripley was intrigued by things that seemed hard to believe. Sometimes, even after seeing them with our own eyes, we wonder if they are really true. It is our nature to be skeptical of things we are not familiar with or have not seen with our own eyes.

God has called on us to believe His Word. Even though we cannot see God, with our natural eyes, we take Him at His Word. Why would I want to do that? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. In verse 6 we are told that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Those that come to God must do so in faith, believing. So, faith is the very basis of our relationship with God. We believe God’s Word, because we have seen that it is true and that He keeps His promises.

None of us has seen God at any time, and so we must believe, by faith in His Word, that He is God. We must believe by faith, that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place, and to forgive us our sins. We must accept by faith the free salvation which God offers us. But that is not all. We must also continue by faith to walk with God in close fellowship. We will not enjoy the fulness of what God has to offer, until we accept it by faith.

In His Word, God tells us about the things that He has done, and the things that He will do. We see that God is ABLE to DO, and always DOES what He says He will do. When we read about God’s faithfulness in the past, the Holy Spirit increases our faith in God for the future. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.

So, when God makes promises to us about our future, we can take Him at His Word, and simply believe. God has made many great and precious promises to those that believe on Jesus Christ as their Saviour. “... Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: ...” 2 Peter 1:4. These promises present us with a great hope. “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” Colossians 1:5. 

One of those promises is found in Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” This promise is hard to believe. It is beyond our imagination to understand what it could mean to be glorified together with Jesus. Well, I choose to believe it and am incredibly grateful for what God is doing in my life.

God deals with us according to His Word. We cannot expect to know about God’s dealings without reading and studying His Word. As we begin to understand God’s way of dealing with us, our faith will increase, because we will see that He is doing just what He said, and that even the suffering here is working right now in lives of those that yield to Him. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

As we read God’s Word more, we come to realize the immensity of His promises, and they might seem hard to believe, but our faith increases with each time we read. So, spending time in the Word of God is important because it is also how we are “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.” 

When we spend too much time in the things of the world, it can tend to diminish our faith. That is one reason that we gather together in church to take in God’s Word and encourage one another. However, church should not be the only place we hear God’s Word. We need to study every day to let God speak to us and increase our faith. We can read and study anytime. Also, so that we can have fellowship with others of like faith. It is very important to be in church at every opportunity that we get.