|Happy? Maybe. Healthy?...|
Faith is not weird, and it is NOT enough. There is an idea that "All you need is to have faith." As we looked at last time, faith has to be IN something or someone. Not only that but faith is only as good as that thing or person. I can have a confirmation of order (Faith) from a retailer, but it is only as valuable as the retailer is reliable. I have an expectation that when I catch a train to London Bridge it will take me to London Bridge. However trains are subject to natural occurrences that may prevent that. Breakdowns or landsides etc may occur although they are rare enough for me expect the train to get there. Of course this is also dependent on me making sure I get on the right train. If I get on a train that is going to London Victoria station I may have all the same confidence but I have put it in the wrong place. Following on from the definition of faith we had before the writer to the Hebrews continues ( 11:6)
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Faith is required to please God, but it has to be in the right place. Faith in Amazon.com is not enough, nor is "faith in faith", or "faith in something." What counts is faith "That He is." This is not just believing that there is a god. Exodus 3 recounts the encounter that Moses had with God when he was sent back to the Israelites in Egypt. Moses wants to know the name of the one he has met. In verse 14 God reveals his name. "I AM THAT I AM... I AM has sent you." It is tempting to go off on all sorts of interesting paths regarding this name, its significance and the way it affected the transmission and copying of the Old Testament scriptures but those can wait for another time. There are a couple of things it is worth seeing now though. I AM THAT I AM speaks of the self existent one. As we saw before God is beyond time and space. As the creator of time and space he is outside it. Every-thing, every-where, every-one and every-when is here and now for him. There is a picture on the wall opposite me as I write. I can see the whole of it at once as it is 2D and I dwell in 3D. In the same way we are 3D plus time, but God dwells in eternity, he also has the power of intellect necessary to comprehend and process everything that he sees. This also deals with the question "Who created God?" Because He IS, and He IS outside of time and space He has no beginning or end. Scientists tell us that everything that has a beginning has a cause. God has no beginning so needs no cause. It would be like asking a physicist what creates or destroys energy, it is a meaningless question. (For the non-physicists reading - Energy is never created or destroyed, merely transformed from one form to another.) Going back to Hebrews, believing that "He is" means believing in "I AM." It is not faith in some sort of god or "cosmic force" but in a specific person, The Self Existent Creator God.
So faith is dependent on the NATURE of God. It is also dependent on His CHARACTER. If He is not a "rewarder" then faith will not achieve any reward. This brings us back to His word. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." ( Romans 10:17) Faith can only come as a result of and a response to the self revelation of God. This is why Luke made a diligent study and careful investigation into the records of Jesus' teachings and ministry. So that his readers could be confident in their faith. (See Luke 1) It is also why we can look at the evidence to see how trustworthy the records are for our faith. Sceptics are right when they say that believing in some sort of fairy tale is worthless. However there is an abundance of evidence that we DO have reliable records of the revelation of God to us. This is something I am looking forward to looking into in future posts.