Belief and Faith

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

  • John 3:16-18

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

  • Hebrews 11:1-3

I was going to write a post about my wife’s upcoming surgery on Thursday morning, 4 November.  My wife has officially become a “pushmepullyou,” that mythical creature from the Dr. Doolittle movies.  You know, the llama with two front halves on either end.  The surgeon called the head of the dialysis center.  The center refuses to use my wife’s fistula unless they install a graft.  The surgeon refuses to install a full graft unless it is necessary and the right thing to do.  The surgeon wants to do a mini-graft to make it easier to use the fistula.  The surgeon thinks that if he installs a full graft, the steal syndrome, where some blood fails to go to the hand, will get worse and she could have major problems with her hand.  Thus, my wife could be in surgery all day and then the center may refuse to use what the surgeon installed.  Please, pray.

But on to the topic.

From the graphic above, I believe in the Ole Miss Rebels.  I suppose that I must do so.  I graduated from the University of Mississippi and their sports teams are known as the Ole Miss Rebels.

My freshman year is when Archie Manning broke his arm and Johnny Vaught had a heart attack, not at the same game.  I can look those historical events up on the internet.  I can go to the websites for various college bowl games and see when Ole Miss played in those bowls (not all of them) and see if they won the games.

I went to school there and I attended games.  A coach saw me kicking field goals for an intramural football game and invited me to play for the university’s soccer team, not realizing that I was a senior with an ROTC commitment.

My senior year, I was the commander of the color guard for home football and basketball games.  I known that the Ole Miss Rebels exist. My belief in their existence is a certainty.

But if you told me that I had to forfeit my life if Ole Miss does not win this weekend…  Nope.  They may be heavy favorites, but I would not take that bet. Note: I wrote this before the Auburn game, having serious misgivings about the team’s record against ranked teams away from home. They have lost only two games this year, both away games, in the state of Alabama, to ranked teams. This weekend’s game is probably one where they will be heavily favored. Yet, I stand behind my refusal to take a bet on it.

I have mentioned that Lee Strobel wrote that the Greek word translated as “believe” in John 3:16 is better translated as “believe and trust.”  As C. S. Lewis described, it is one thing to tie up a box with a cord and believe that the cord will hold.  It is quite another to be suspended by a rope far above the ground (assuming a cliffside rescue scenario or something similar).

I have met so many people who claim that they were saved 2,000 years ago.  If their faith goes no further than that fact, they have no more of a relationship with Jesus other than they have read the Book and know some historical facts.

I have met many people who claim that they believe that Jesus existed.  Others that believe Jesus was the Son of God (notice the verb tense in each case).

My wife has COPD.  It is about this time of year that she gets pneumonia or bronchitis.  We have never figured out whether it is the change in weather or her schedule or the pollen in the air, but the result is a hard fight against infection.  The nebulizer breathing treatments, that used to be once a month or so, are now daily.  I have asked a few times if she wants two treatments in a day, and a nurse recently suggested it.  If she said that she relies on Jesus for each breath that she takes, I might think that she really means it, as a life and death situation.  She understands what it is like to have difficulty doing that.  She understands how important breathing is.

I believe in the Ole Miss Rebels, but I have little faith in them, even this year with a good team and an exciting offense.

Salvation is by Grace and that by faith, as the Apostle Paul wrote.

Our “belief” must be a strong belief that is like a life and death situation, for once we pass to the next life, it is the only thing that matters.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

6 Comments

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  1. Blessings and prayers for your wife and her surgery. Also for you as her best caregiver ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark, I agree with almost everything you say about belief and faith. Saving faith is a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. Demons believe facts about Christ, but they do not have saving faith. Some geniuses read the Bible, interpret its message, and proceed to doubt and damnation. Others have childlike faith and are guaranteed eternal life in the new creation. But I take exception to your doubt that those who say they were saved two thousand years ago have saving faith. My relationship with Jesus Christ puts all the focus on his work for me. I am resolved to know nothing but Christ crucified. My salvation rests on that which he finished on the cross, so I am in fact saved and because a Christian through an event that precedes my birth by many centuries. J.

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    • Thank you for your comments. In reviewing this post, I had my heart tug a bit with that statement. I have known several people who make that statement to shut down further comments about accepting Jesus or born again or giving a testimony. Whether they actually have faith is unknown. They simply end the conversation and change the subject. I have often been talking to a third party, and the attempt at evangelism shuts down. The third party parrots that statement as a method of ending further discussion. You are quite right. Thank you for the correction.

      Liked by 2 people

      • In the past, I have given a three-part answer to the question(s), “When were you saved? When did you become a Christian? When did you give your life to Jesus?” My first answer is always the Friday when Jesus gave his life on the cross on Calvary–that removed my sins and claimed me for the kingdom of heaven. If the questioner is seeking a more personal commitment and event, I refer to my Baptism, which occurred when I was a month old. Since I do not remember that event and could not have spoken a confession of faith at that age, when pushed to identify a time when I consciously repented of my sins and asked Jesus to be my Savior, I respond, “I do that every day.” Some people have told me that those answers mean that I am not a Christian. But I know that my life belongs to Jesus, I am in his hands, and he has taken away my sins. He is my Lord, my Savior, and my Redeemer, even if I have not followed someone else’s rules to enter his Church and his Kingdom. J.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you again. What I know about you is that you are not timid in helping me keep my words written better, and keeping my theology straight. I have no worries about not finding you in Heaven. This post was a time when it got sloppy. Odd, being a Presbyterian, I can point to those same three events in you three part answer. I have a date also when I first unconditionally surrendered my life to Jesus – something that my mother did not like, thinking I would go from a weird kid to an unbelievably weird kid. And she was correct in thinking that. But being honest, I would have to take your assessment that the repentance issue is a daily thing. Maybe too many have that one day that they are counting on, but then they slide by there after. And what is really strange is that I wrote a post similar to your three-part answer in the past. Yes, I am guilty of being sloppy. But I have greatly enjoyed our conversation. And I do know the day I was baptized – although too young to profess anything. I was with a female classmate in the Montreat, NC southern Presbyterian library. She pulled our small church’s history for the year we were both born and I was baptized on her day of birth, probably the Sunday before Christmas.

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