Todays readings.. Judges 20, Isaiah 42, 1 John 5
“OUR FAITH … HAS GIVEN US UNDERSTANDING”
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world,” writes John, and then he adds, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” [1 John 5 v.4]. What is faith? That’s is a fundamental question – and the answer is simple!
Consider what happened in the First Century – beginning with 12 ordinary men, most of them fishermen. Yes, miracles happened at times, but though these were a spur to faith, they did not create the ongoing faith that spurred so many on – to be faithful in the face of all sorts of persecution. The fact is that the pagan Greek and Roman world was challenged as to what it really believed, who really was the God that should be worshipped! Many resisted the challenge – and nearly all do today!
Paul in his letters to these converts reminds them “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” [1 Thess. 1 v.9,10]
These former pagans had reached a conviction as to the real nature of the Creator of all things who sent his Son into the world. This conviction included the realization that we are nothing, we are like a cloud floating through the sky, dissipating into nothingness – unless …!! Unless we seek a relationship with God!
There is a well-known verse which tells us, “without faith it is impossible to please him … whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” [Hebrews 11 v.6] Belief must be so genuine – that it spurs us into action.
Today the challenge to our efforts to develop such a faith is the fiction of evolution – the impossible idea that everything by some means “created” itself! So we turn from human fiction to the wonder of what happened to challenge human minds 2,000 years ago. It is “our faith” in what happened then – that enables us to “overcome the world” writes John. It is “our faith” that inspires us today.
Let us fully absorb into our minds how John stresses this point – at the end of his first Epistle. “We know the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ” [v.20]
It is inevitable that genuine faith leads us to know God, to have a prayerful relationship with him, a relationship which develops more and more – to be “in him” – as we ‘feed’ on his word every day.