Seeing Is Not Believing
By Ben Johnson
Faith is one of those words that has lost its definition in a post-religious world. It’s become like the old toolkit people have in their storage closet: they know it’s good thing to have, they just don’t know what it’s supposed to do. We are to have faith in things all around us, but I don’t know if anyone could define what exactly faith is.
This past Sunday, Pastor Matt explained the definition of faith provided by the author of Hebrews. The definition has two parts: faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.
Do you know what those two things have in common? They’re things you can’t see.
To have assurance for things hoped for means feeling secure in things that haven’t happened yet. Do you know how risky that is? Millions of people put such assurance in the stock market each day, and many of them find themselves let down and penniless. It’s dangerous to put assurance in something that you can only hope for because there’s a possibility that it won’t happen. We’ve all hoped for things that haven’t happened. Faith can be severely disappointing. That new promotion that fell through, that relationship the blew up, that church that would provide the answers, these are all things that people have put their hope in only to have it disappoint them.
To have conviction of things not seen is even harder to do. Conviction by itself is scary to us, it makes our society uncomfortable. We cast the side-eye at people who are too enthusiastic. Being passionate about anything is weird to us, but hold a conviction to something not seen? That is preposterous! We live with facts, data, and logic. We can only be convinced of what is in front of us. How can we put our trust in something that is unseen?
And yet, that is what the author of Hebrews encourages us to do, to put our conviction in God and what He has done and will do in us. As stated before, to have assurance in anything is risky, but we can have assurance in God because He will not let us down.
Our faith in God is not unfounded. It is rooted in the past with the great works He has done, both in history and in our lives. We know that God delivered His son to pay our punishment, and that because of it we can be fully convicted that God is with and will take care of us. Not only that, but Christ’s resurrection gives us hope that one day we too will be raised to be with God and live in His presence forever.
To have faith in things that fail is foolish, and everything will fail us. However, God will not fail. We are reminded of that every time we open his word and remember his work in our lives. So, for now Christians are convicted in things unseen as we wait to be made new in Christ. We believe in what we cannot see, yet we are assured that it will one day come to pass. That is the best kind of faith.
Ben Johnson is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary pursuing an MA in theology with a concentration in Church Planting. He is originally from Huntsville, AL, and is a graduate of Samford University. He and his wife reside in Greenville, SC.