Keeping the faith

From the 2rd century AD, Christianity has always had its share of critics in an attempt todestroy faith in God: Celsus, a pagan philosopher said:

“Christianity is untrue, it served only the superstitious and simple-minded, if there is any substance why such a small following?”

He needed to be told of Matthew 7:14,

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.

But ancient people were offended, especially when asked to believe in realities that no one could see or experience. F.W. Mattox said,

“Christianity is based on historical fact, the pagans had their myths but Christians had their facts the miracles and the resurrection of Christ with the greatest effect being at the location where they took place. The truth of Christianity does not rest on its philosophical aspects; but rather on the death and resurrection of Christ and these facts were open to public investigation.”

But later, educated Greeks with their reputation to examine all things with a Reason, taught that

“Faith could easily become a crutch for the simple-minded who dared not face reality”.

A pot calling the kettle black. For many today, God is far removed from the real world of experiences, most people build their lives on things visible, TV commercials capitalize on the good things of life we don’t need. Scientific advances increasingly make God remote. Materialism is most people’s real-world today, homes, land, and things have become their only sense of security which are only temporary and don’t satisfy for long, they are forced to ask, usually when it’s too late, is this all there is to life? With some, faith is impossible if you can’t touch it. Thomas one of the twelve said to the rest of the disciples,

“unless I see the nail holes in His hand and touch them and touch His side I will not believe”.

When Thomas eventually touched Jesus, he cried “My Lord and my God”. Thomas became a sure witness to the world rather than the doubting Thomas we like to expose. Jesus said,

“Because you have seen and believed blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.

Then Jesus said to Thomas (and all of us)

“Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:24-29).

Real faith is vital.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Even Struggling Christians need heroes, the rest of Hebrews 11 is a testimony of those who persevered through all kinds of hardship for their faith, some receiving what was promised others not, but they remained faithful, providing motivation for others to live for a cause. Faith is based on “things not seen” so not subject to probing science. Only God’s invisible world gives us a place to stand. But real faith makes demands. It separates us from the values of our culture and makes us appear ridiculous to believe in the unseen. Faith means holding on no matter what. Christians will be rewarded if they persevere to the end. Perhaps Jesus prepares Christians for frustration with the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-9 when so many reject the gospel of Christ through their lack of faith but few there are who find it, not helped by because some Christians lack strong faith to tell it.

Author: John Shepherd

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash