Belief and Faith

“But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”
Romans 10:16-17 NLT

Paul realistically states to his readers, that not everyone will welcome the “Good News about Christ”. That was just as true in his day as it was in the days of the prophet Isaiah, who wrote in 53:1, “Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm”? This verse in the prophecy from Isaiah is a remarkable vision of God’s suffering servant, Jesus Himself. But the people of his day apparently didn’t take much notice. It was the same in Paul’s day, and it is the same today. Why wouldn’t a message of Good News be welcomed with open arms, and immediately responded to? 

We see the answer in part by the behaviours of people, who want to be in control of their own lives, and not be controlled by a faith in a God they cannot see, let alone believe in. Our scientists develop theories to explain the world around us to avoid having to acknowledge that there is a God who created all that we see. Psychiatrists go to great lengths in their counselling sessions to explain away the mental state and guilty feelings of their patients when all that is needed is repentance and faith in God. Our politicians and law makers devise legislation that they think will suit their mistaken political assumptions but that does not adhere to God’s principles, and get themselves in an awful mess in the process (for example the recent Gender Recognition Bill passed by the Scottish parliament). Lobby groups stridently declare their own particular ideologies, infecting the society around them with their poisons. A society that is not aligned to God’s way soon starts to collapse, and we fear that this century will not end well.

But none of this must stop us pilgrims from sharing the Good News about God and His saving grace. We will be ridiculed, bullied, criticised, and ostracised in the process, but we must persevere anyway. We do not know if the words we speak become seeds that slowly germinate in a person’s soul, eventually sprouting up some years later into a declaration of faith in Christ. Or we may be harvesters, bringing the right word that finally encourages a waverer to accept and believe in the message of Hope, God Himself. 

Paul wrote, “faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ”. It is through our senses that we receive the Good News, and our ears are the gate through which it flows. So, how is our communication script? Do we have a ready-made message that we can roll out, with suitable adaptations, to introduce someone to the Good News about Christ? Or do we sense an opportunity, and end up spluttering and blurting out something that doesn’t quite fit the occasion? Of course, the Holy Spirit within us can provide some important insights into the encounter. Jesus stopped at a well in Samaria for a rest and a drink. A woman came to draw water, and He shared His message of Hope on the back of some remarkable insights into her private life. We read in John 4:16-18, ““Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”” How did Jesus know this except through the Holy Spirit providing the information? We pilgrims also have the Holy Spirit living within us, as Jesus told His disciples in John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future”. The Holy Spirit knows the key that will unlock even the hardest, most resistant, hearts, and He will provide this information, if we listen to Him and act upon what He says. A contentious thought for some? Perhaps, but the Holy Spirit is powerful, the third person of the Trinity, and, sadly, is mostly discounted in churches today. We pilgrims must carefully listen for His voice, and act upon it.

The Good News about Christ really is good news. Those who hear it, and act upon it, are securing their future for ever. What can be more important than that?

Dear Father God. Once again we thank You for Your grace and love, that flow unceasingly into the world today. You are there us, always a loving Father and Someone we can be secure in. Thank You. Amen.

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