What peace is there in the world today? What peace is there in your life? Know this: The peace that God gives is not the absence of conflict in the world. It is the soul’s rest upon absolute confidence in God, even amidst troubles.
Charles Finney, 1792-1875, wrote, “Unbelief is not the mere absence of faith. It is distrust — the refusal of the heart to trust in the truth, wisdom, providence and grace of God. Consequently, in unbelief, the soul can find nothing on which to rest for a moment. It is not satisfied with its present circumstances, because there is no confidence in the wisdom and goodness of him who appointed them.”
God has revealed himself to you in the Bible but you persist in unbelief? Why? Many would answer with the need for a sign. “Give me proof and I will believe.” Really?
The New Testament book of John contains a listing of signs including: Jesus turning water to wine, 2:11; healing a royal official’s son who was sick, 4:46; healing of a paralyzed man, 5:9; feeding five thousand with two fish and five loaves of bread, 6:9; walking on water, 6:19; healing a man born blind, 9:11; and raising a man named Lazarus from the dead, 11:43.
And yet these signs were not sufficient, even when they happened, John 12:37.
Not that the signs were not adequate for the purpose or that there were not enough of them. We consider things to be sufficient in the logical sense, of a condition such that its existence leads to the occurrence of a given event or the existence of a given thing.
Signs do not cause faith. Stop signs do not cause automobiles to stop. They inform the driver of the need to stop. Signs provide information and call for a response. The Bible provides us with information about Jesus and provides the condition for our response.
Many respond with unbelief. God would have us respond with faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1.
Signs are not the basis of our faith. They are the promptings of God to receive his gift of faith.
The mailman left me a note once, saying that he’d tried unsuccessfully to deliver a package to me. With that note in hand, I went to the post office and picked up my package.
God prompts us in diverse ways and at various times. There is much more sufficient evidence to convince anyone, if that were the purpose.
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,” John 20:30-31.
More signs would not mean more believers. You have all the “signs” you need to respond in faith. Yet some will not respond appropriately because man is more concerned about what he wants for himself than what God wants for him. Man does not want to be different from others he sees, but God wants him to identify with Jesus that others might see God in him.
Man wants to be at the top of the dung heap; God wants to place man on a higher place.
Man loves the things that meet a want more than the things of God which are sufficient for all his needs. Man chooses to love that which is temporary instead of choosing to love an eternal God.
How can man witness the glory of God and choose the glimmer of man? Many of us do that every day.
Oh, that we would see God and rightly respond.
When we get a glimpse of God’s glory and hear his still small voice, we must choose. Will you choose belief or unbelief? Signs will not cause anyone to believe. People will believe because they choose God who has revealed himself to them.
When we respond rightly to God, we will find peace.
Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels,” Mark 8:36-38.
The Rev. Neil L’Hommedieu is pastor of Blue Mountain Baptist Church. You may reach him at 509-527-0691.