September 26, 1995
My brother tells a story on himself about tearing apart cupboards during renovations and finding some money. It was paper, marked and dated prior to the American Revolution. He thought he was rich.
Of course he took the bill to a reputable coin dealer. Since it was so old, it must be worth a considerable amount. Can you imagine his chagrin when the dealer told him it was not real — it had been made by a cereal company during a promotional campaign!
His story reminded me of another I heard years ago about a man who belonged to a well-known religious group with headquarters in Utah. His daughter told how he had committed his life to the teachings of this group but on his death bed he said, “Now I will find out if what I believed is really true.”
My brother’s story was funny; the second story made me weep. An uncertain hope for increased wealth based on counterfeit money is far less serious than an uncertain hope for forgiveness of sin and eternal life based on teaching that may or may not be true.
Granted, life is full of uncertainties. Who can predict what will happen tomorrow? Who knows for sure which teams will win the game or who will win the next election? Who knows if anyone will be sick or healthy or how long they will live? On the other hand, the Bible says we can be absolutely sure of what will happen to us after we die.
In the Bible, faith is described as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith that merely wonders if something is true, is by definition not faith at all. It is simply wishful thinking, an “I hope so” belief rather than an “I know so” faith.
The reason true faith gives certainty is very similar to the reason my brother knew his find was worthless. Someone reliable and who had accurate knowledge told him. Furthermore, based on the coin dealers credibility, he choose to believe his words.
Biblical faith stands on the same ground. God reveals truth to godly, credible people. We are given the choice whether we will believe or reject it. When we choose to believe, “the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are the children of God.” Deep in our hearts and minds, we know that what He says through Scripture is true.
This is not the same as making up something and telling ourselves it is true. Just as the coin dealer was important regarding what my brother believed about his money, so revelation from God is vital regarding what we believe about Him and eternal life.
His revelation has two sides, one is objective, the other subjective. God revealed Himself to the prophets of Israel, then through the person of Jesus Christ. His truth continues to be revealed through the written record of those disclosures in the Bible. This is objective revelation in that it can be examined, even tested to some extent. It shows us Christ is the Savior.
Subjective revelation is what the Spirit of God does in our hearts. People can read the Bible, pray and perform religious ritual, but only when the Spirit touches and opens the inner person, do they realize that “Jesus is my Savior.”
Revelation makes us dependent on Him. On our own, we distort and wrestle with the message of the Bible. With Him, it becomes clearer. We can believe it because we are absolutely sure of what it says. The Apostle John said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.”
Scripture promises a certainty so that anyone who believes in God’s Word has assurance throughout their life. No one has to wait until they die to know the truth.