Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Evidence of Faith

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1).

Does the Bible commend “blind faith”? Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is a certainty about something we do not see, and some have taken that to mean that real faith has no basis in logic or evidence. But this is not what the author of Hebrews has in mind.

When Moses came before Pharaoh, Moses trusted God and told Pharaoh to trust Him also. God had done miracles for Moses to see, and Moses did those miracles before Pharaoh. God called on Moses to trust Him on the basis of clear evidence, and Moses called on Pharaoh to trust in God on the same basis.

Similarly, when Jesus came and demanded that men put their trust in Him, He did many miracles to show who He was. At one point Jesus told the disciples, “Believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves” (John 14:11b). The same is true concerning the apostles in the book of Acts. In fact, the Bible is full of miraculous signs that provide evidence for the Gospel. Beyond this, the Bible is full of logical arguments for belief.

Thus, we see that biblical faith is not “blind faith.” What, then, does the author of Hebrews mean when he says that faith involves being “certain of what we do not see”? The reference is to things that are presently invisible and things in the future. We can use the Exodus from Egypt as an example. God showed many amazing miracles to Israel when He poured out plagues on Egypt, divided the Red Sea, and fed them with manna. Then God called on them to believe something that they did not yet see. They did not yet see the land flowing with milk and honey. All they saw were giants in that land. God called on them to trust Him for the unseen and future things.

Similarly, says the author of Hebrews, we can be sure of certain unseen things. We do not see Jesus enthroned at God’s right hand, but based on the history and teachings of the Bible, we know that He is. The Hebrew Christians had not seen Jesus vindicate them against their adversaries, but in the near future (A.D. 70) they would see it. We have not seen Jesus return as Judge of the world, but we can be certain of it. Faith does involve trust in things not seen, but faith is grounded in revelation.

Many Christians have the idea that it is “more spiritual” to believe things on blind faith than on careful Bible study and reasoning. Such faith is not biblical faith but mere credulity. Many charlatans roam the Christian world claiming to do wonders or to have a direct pipeline to God. Test such people carefully.