Faith should not only be upheld by true servants of God but also something they must strive to enhance.
IN THE BIBLE, Apostle Paul taught that faith is among the three greatest virtues. In his first epistle to the Christians in the city of Corinth he said, “Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13 Good News Bible).
What is the definition of faith given by Apostle Paul? He explained in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (New International Version).
As with the other two great virtues, faith is something that a true servant of God cannot do without. Apostle Paul declared, “At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One” (Eph. 6:16 GNB).
Thus, faith should not only be upheld by true servants of God but also something they must strive to enhance.
Faith and one’s relationship to God
For one to become pleasing to God and hope to have a relationship with Him, faith is essential. Apostle Paul emphasized the connection of faith to one’s relationship to God saying:
“No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him.” (Heb. 11:6 GNB)
Though God cannot be seen in His state of being, for He is spirit (John 4:24), meaning that He has no flesh and bones or any material form (Luke 24:39) and thus is invisible (I Tim. 1:17), yet all faithful servants of God have come to believe in Him without doubting His existence. In fact, they seek Him with full assurance and without even an ounce of skepticism.
But why is it so difficult for others to believe in the existence of God? Because some argue that they have no reason to believe in Him, for there is no way to prove His existence. But is this really the case?
The visible proof of God’s existence
Concerning the skeptical and those who are doubtful of God’s existence, Apostle Paul declares:
“Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:19-20 New King James Version)
The world and the universe is filled with visible proof of God’s existence. Through His eternal and almighty power (Gen. 35:11), He created the world and the things that are in it, as well as the entire universe. King David pointed out, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun” (Ps. 19:1-4 NKJV).
Thus, certainly, without God, no living creature, even mankind, can exist (Job 12:7-10), let alone the entire universe. God encourages us to observe His creation such as the beasts or animals, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all mankind, because they will make us realize that there truly is much visible proof of God’s very existence all around us.
The Lord Jesus Christ encourages the doubtful to use their visual sense to prove to one’s self God’s existence. The gospel according to Matthew records that when Christ was teaching a multitude of people He said to them, “Look at the birds” (Matt. 6:26 GNB) and “Look how the wild flowers grow” (Matt. 6:26, 28 GNB). Christ desired so much that they would wholeheartedly believe in the true God, that He appealed to them to use even their own visual sense to prove to themselves that God does exist.
The importance of hearing
In ancient times, the Bible recorded that, God spoke with an audible voice to His servants. Adam and Eve heard His voice in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:16-17). God spoke to Noah (Gen. 6:13-14), to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), to Moses from a burning bush (Exod. 3:4), and to many other prophets through various means (Heb. 1:1). In the Christian dispensation, God spoke through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:2).
The Lord God commanded also that His spoken words be written in a book (Jer. 30:2) and also gave the command through the apostles, not to go beyond what is written (I Cor. 4:6). Apostle Paul referred to the book containing God’s words as “the Holy Scriptures” (II Tim. 3:15), which we now know today as the Holy Bible.
How can one receive the true teachings of God? According to Apostle Paul, it is only through the preaching of commissioned messengers:
“And how can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out? As the scripture says, ‘How wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news!’” (Rom. 10:15 GNB)
Since the messengers are the ones divinely authorized to speak the words of God (John 3:34), He Himself wants people to pay attention and listen to their preaching. Hearing God’s messages as preached by those sent is necessary in the process of developing faith. Apostle Paul declared: “So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ” (Rom. 10:17 GNB).
According to the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving the messengers is essential to having relationship with God. To receive them is tantamount to receiving Christ and the one who sent the Lord Jesus Christ, the Almighty God Himself (John 13:20; 8:42).
Satisfying the sense of feel
For those who have a need to “feel” something in order to solidify what they believe, the Holy Spirit that God sends to the hearts of believers in the name of Christ will be truly of great help (John 14:26; 15:26; II Cor. 1:21-22).
The Holy Spirit is given as a stamp of God’s ownership to those who wholeheartedly believe in the true gospel preached by the messengers (Eph. 1:13-14 GNB; Rom. 10:15 GNB). They are the ones baptized in the one body—the Church Of Christ (Acts 2:38; I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 16:16).
As stated by the apostles, the very proof of receiving the Holy Spirit from God is to feel the strength in one’s inner self, which gives one the power to understand and have faith:
“I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you … may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love.” (Eph. 3:16-18 GNB)
Tasting and smelling the goodness of God
Everyone experiences the natural flow of God’s blessings. And God is pleased with those who acknowledge Him as the provider of all good things being enjoyed on this earth (Jer. 9:24). Some take for granted the sun that gives warmth, the rain that sustains our crops, as well as the beauty and sweet smelling fragrances of the flowers, yet all of these are manifestations of God’s kindness to the world (Matt. 5:45; 6:28-30).
The Bible makes it clear that all people taste the goodness of God, and so it is only right that we learn to trust in Him and acknowledge Him (Ps. 34:8 NKJV). Those who may think that their prosperity is only the result of their own hard work should realize that they have just benefited from the natural flow of God’s blessings to all mankind. The early servants of God acknowledged this saying:
“Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all.” (I Chr. 29:11-12 NKJV)
Believe in God and serve Him
More than just believing, he who truly wants to serve God must enter the body of Christ, which is the Church Of Christ (Matt. 16:18; Col. 1:18; Rom. 16:16). God wants His servant to also live by faith and put into practice His teachings (Heb. 10:38; James 1:25 GNB) and for this, he will be blessed in everything that he does.
Worship God with joy (Ps. 100:3-4, 2) and acknowledge Him by obeying His commands (Ps. 95:6-7; I John 2:3); in this way, one can truly have relationship with the Creator, that is, God is pleased with his services.
Those who corrupt themselves are not recognized by God as His children (Deut. 32:5), but those who have faith in Him and prove that they know Him through their constant and lasting obedience to His commands have a great advantage, that should not be taken for granted: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Gal. 4:8-9 NIV).
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine, September 2012 issue.