Question: “Why does God require faith? Why doesn’t God “prove” Himself to us so there is no need for faith?”
Answer: Our relationship with God is similar to our relationship with others in that all relationships require faith. We can never fully know any other person. We cannot experience all they experience nor enter into their minds to know what their thoughts and emotions are. Proverbs 14:10 says, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.” We are incapable of even knowing our own hearts fully. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human heart is wicked and deceptive, “Who can know it?” In other words, the human heart is such that it seeks to hide the depth of its wickedness, deceiving even its owner. We do this through shifting blame, justifying wrong behavior, minimizing our sins, etc.
Because we are incapable of fully knowing other people, to some degree faith (trust) is an integral ingredient in all relationships. For example, a wife gets into a car with her husband driving, trusting him to drive safely, even though he often drives faster than she would on winter roads. She trusts him to act in their best interest at all times. We all share information about ourselves with others, trusting they will not betray us with that knowledge. We drive down the road, trusting those driving around us to follow the rules of the road. So, whether with strangers or with intimate friends and companions, because we cannot fully know others, trust is always a necessary component of our relationships.
If we cannot know our fellow finite human beings fully, how can we expect to fully know an infinite God? Even if He should desire to fully reveal Himself, it is impossible for us to fully know Him. It is like trying to pour the ocean (seemingly infinite in quantity) into a quart-measuring jar (finite)… impossible! Nonetheless, even as we can have meaningful relationships with others that we have grown to trust because of our knowledge of them and of their character, so God has revealed enough about Himself through His creation (Romans 1:18-21), through His written Word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21), and through His Son (John 14:9), that we can enter into a meaningful relationship with Him. But this is only possible when the barrier of one’s sin has been removed by trusting in Christ’s person and work on the cross as payment for one’s sin. This is necessary because, as it is impossible for both light and darkness to dwell together, so it is impossible for a holy God to have fellowship with sinful man unless his sin has been paid for and removed. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, died on the cross to take our punishment and change us so that the one who believes on Him can become a child of God and live eternally in His presence (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Peter 3:18; Romans 3:10-26).
There have been times in the past that God has revealed Himself more “visibly” to people. One example of this is at the time of the exodus from Egypt, when God revealed His care for the Israelites by sending the miraculous plagues upon the Egyptians until they were willing to release the Israelites from slavery. God then opened the Red Sea, enabling the approximately two million Israelites to cross over on dry ground. Then, as the Egyptian army sought to pursue them through the same opening, He crashed the waters upon them (Exodus 14:22-29). Later, in the wilderness, God fed them miraculously with manna, and He guided them in the day by a pillar of cloud and in the night by a pillar of fire, visible representations of His presence with them (Exodus 15:14-15).
Yet, in spite of these repeated demonstrations of His love, guidance, and power, the Israelites still refused to trust Him when He wanted them to enter into the Promised Land. They chose instead to trust the word of ten men who frightened them with their stories of the walled cities and the giant stature of some of the people of the land (Numbers 13:26-33). These events show that God’s further revelation of Himself to us would have no greater effect on our ability to trust Him. Were God to interact in a similar fashion with people living today, we would respond no differently than the Israelites because our sinful hearts are the same as theirs.
The Bible also speaks of a future time when the glorified Christ will return to rule the earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-10). More people will be born on the earth during that reign of Christ. He will rule with complete justice and righteousness, yet, in spite of His perfect rule, the Bible states that at the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will have no trouble raising an army to rebel against Christ’s rule. The future event of the millennium and the past event of the exodus reveal that the problem is not with God insufficiently revealing Himself to man; rather, the problem is with man’s sinful heart rebelling against God’s loving reign. We sinfully crave self-rule.
God has revealed enough of His nature for us to be able to trust Him. He has shown through the events of history, in the workings of nature, and through the life of Jesus Christ that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving, all-holy, unchanging, and eternal. And in that revelation, He has shown that He is worthy to be trusted. But, as with the Israelites in the wilderness, the choice is ours whether or not we will trust Him. Often, we are inclined to make this choice based on what we think we know about God rather than what He has revealed about Himself and can be understood about Him through a careful study of His inerrant Word, the Bible. If you have not already done so, begin a careful study of the Bible, that you may come to know God through a reliance upon His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to save us from our sins, so that we might have sweet companionship with God both now and in a fuller way in heaven one day.
PLEASE NOTE: PLEASE SUPPORT OUR MINISTRY BY BEING ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN SPREADING THE GOSPEL AND SAVING THE LOST. PLEASE USE THIS STUDY TO REACH OUT TO THE LOST WORLD. YOU CAN SAVE THIS ON YOUR PC/LAPTOP/IPHONE/IPAD OR MOBILE. CAREFULLY STUDY THIS BIBLE STUDY AND MAKE USE OF IT IN YOUR DAILY ENCOUNTER WITH AN UN-BELIEVER. ALTERNATIVELY, YOU CAN SHARE THIS POST ON YOUR FACEBOOK WALL WITH YOUR FRIENDS WHO ARE UN-BELIEVERS.YOU WILL THINK THAT IT IS ONLY THE DUTY OF A PREACHER OR PASTOR OR THE CHURCH. NO IT’S NOT, IT IS YOURS & MINE OBLIGATION/RESPONSIBLITY AS CHILDREN OF GOD TO DO PERSONAL EVANGELISM AND CO-OPERATE WITH GOD TO SAVE THE LOST. THE MINI-BIBLE STUDY WILL HELP YOU TO ANSWER SOME OF THE FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) ASKED BY NON-CHRISTIANS/UN-BELIEVERS/HEATHENS.
Why Do Personal Evangelism?
The Need for Personal Evangelism
In Luke, chapter 15, , Jesus tells three well-known parables, and all with the same message: lost people are valuable to God! Today we will look at the third parable.
Luke 15 starts with the religious leaders of the day, those who ought to have known better, condemning Jesus because he received sinners and ate with them (Luke 15:1-2).
And in response to the scorn over those the Pharisees and Scribes considered lower than them, Jesus told the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Each parable is about something that the world values little, but God values much. Each parable teaches that lost people are valuable to God.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son:
Finally, Jesus told “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-24).
If one could suspend their disbelief over a strange shepherd willing to risk loss and injury over one sheep, and if one could overlook the strange behavior of a woman searching her home through the night for one coin, the parable of the prodigal son would be unthinkable. It’s a story only a mashugana could believe!
A father had two sons, and the younger demanded his inheritance, an act that would have been a harsh insult in the First Century, as children were only allowed their inheritance after the death of the parent. Jesus’ audience would have understood this son to be saying, “Dad, I’m too impatient to wait for you to die. I want my money now.” The MacArthur Study Bible explains it this way, “Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me A shocking request, tantamount to saying he wished his father were dead. He was not entitled to any inheritance while his father still lived.”
How did the father react to such brash rebellion? Punnishment? Stoning? Incredibly, the father “divided his property” (vs. 12). The son took all his father worked so hard for, and he “squandered his property in reckless living” (vs. 13).
Eventually the son came to ruin, stooping so low that he had to take a job tending pigs and eating with them. No doubt the Pharisees and Scribes enjoyed that part, figuring the boy got what was coming to him.
But Jesus wasn’t finished with the story. The son, realizing he had nothing, went back to his dad, humbled. He was in the perfect place for the father to take revenge on this strong-willed embarassment of a child.
Incredibly, the father showed something that the Pharisees and Scribes did not know much about – the father showed mercy!
Jesus continued the story, saying that “while [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (vs. 20). The ESV Study Bible explains it this way: “A long way off emphasizes the father’s great love; he must have been watching for the son. ran. The father cast aside all behavioral conventions of the time, as running was considered to be undignified for an older person, especially a wealthy landowner such as this man. embraced him. Literally ‘fell on his neck’”
The word “prodigal” means “extravagant,” and this parable is named after the “prodigal son” because he lived an “extravagant” lifestyle, but the father could also be described as “prodigal,” because he displayed an “extravagant” amount of love.
As if forgiving his child were not enough, this extravagant father put the best robe on his son, sandals on his dirty feet, adorned him with jewelry, and even killed the fattened calf, celebrating with “music and dancing” (vs. 25).
When the older son heard about this, Jesus said “he was angry and refused to go in” (vs. 28). When the father came out to speak with the older son, the son harshly questioned the father’s behavior. The older son rebuked his father, “when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” (vs. 30). “Amen!” the Pharisees and Scribes must have thought. “At last somebody has some sense in this story!”
But just as in “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” and in “The Parable of the Lost Coin,” Jesus was showing them the heart of God towards the lost. In the words of the “extravagant” father, “your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found” (vs. 32).
This parable is not about a younger son who went away, nor is it about an older son who stayed. It is a picture of our Father in Heaven who loves extravagantly. It is a joy to God to show mercy to sinners who come to God in repentance. Though the world may despise and look down upon those considered “lower,” Jesus told three parables in Luke Chapter 15 to teach that lost people are valuable to God, and it is God’s pleasure to find and redeem them.
Why we must leave the comfort of our homes/corporate job anything else that we are following, heading out in faith that God will provide for for our loved ones wife and children, father/mother or Brother/Sister? Because God loves to redeem the lost. I can’t not go. I am compelled to lovingly tell whoever will listen (and maybe a few who won’t) that we have all broken God’s Law, and unless we are forgiven through Christ, then we are “alienated and enemies [of God] in [our] mind by wicked works” (Colossians 1:21). I must tell them that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). And I must share that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). By raising Himself from the dead, Jesus proved He was God, that there is life after death, and that He has authority! He commands all people everywhere to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15.)
What an amazing God! What an amazing gospel! That’s why the verses in Luke, chapter 15 ireminds us that what is not valuable to the world is so very valuable to God.Lost people are valuable to God. By God’s grace, perhaps it will be His pleasure to use me and you to find a few lost sheep, coins, and rebellious sons.