Faith Equals Trust
The apostle Paul wrote, in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 7; “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” The word “faith”, means.. “trust, and confidence, and conviction”. And the word “walk”, refers to our behavior, and our manner of living. Therefore, to “walk by faith” means that our behavior and our conduct is governed by our trust, and our confidence in God’s word. If we “walk by faith” even our attitude is governed by our trust in God.
You know, if we truly trust in God, we can’t have a bad attitude. How can we have a bad attitude, if you truly trust in God? I mean, if you truly trust, and have absolute confidence, “..that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”, Romans 8:28, then how can you have a bad attitude? That just has to lift your spirit and your attitude. And if we trust, that “if God is for us, who can be against us”, V-31, then how can you have a bad attitude?
Shortly before Paul wrote the words.. “we walk by faith and not by sight”, he wrote these words; “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen, are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
Looking at the things which are not seen, the things which are eternal, is how you conduct yourself, if you have complete faith in God; If you trust Him completely, and are totally confident in what He says.
That’s the attitude that all Christians should have, ALL the time. It’s really quite a contrast to the attitude people used to have. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:22 & 23; “For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified! To the Jews, a stumbling block, and to Gentiles, foolishness.” When you preach Christ, you preach FAITH! Ephesians 2: 8 says; “We are saved by grace, through FAITH..”
The Greeks of Paul’s day, must have thought that their wisdom would be the proof of any kind of salvation they could attain. And of course, the Jews wanted proof of salvation to be exhibited by God through signs; through miracles. But God says that the proof of salvation is in His WORD, and in the countless miracles that He ALREADY performed throughout the ages.
Psalm 19:1 says; “The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the expanse is showing the work of His hands,” Romans 1:20 says; “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen , being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
The heavens above, and the expanse all around us, and everything that’s been made, are all signs from God. They’re signs of His existence, and of His power, and even of His “divine nature”. Absolutely nothing, except the all knowing and all powerful God, could have made such things! So mankind is “without excuse”.
But even after seeing the results of the miracles, still some people won’t believe. I don’t know if they’d believe, if God created ANOTHER heaven and earth. Probably not. You remember one time Jesus said, in Luke 16:31; “..Neither will they believe if someone rises from the dead.”
Remember when Jesus said this, in Acts 17:30 & 31; “..God is now declaring that all men, everywhere, should repent, because He has fixed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed; Having furnished PROOF to all men, by raising Him from the dead!”
“Proof”! And still people won’t believe! So Jesus was right.. “..neither will they believe if someone rises from the dead.”
So then, what will make people believe? More miracles, more people raised from the dead? Evidently not, because Jesus wasn’t the first one to be raised from the dead was He? He was the “first fruits” of those to be raised and never to die again! 1 Corinthians 15:23. But He wasn’t the first to be raised from the dead.
I think most people would be surprised at how many people the bible says have been raised from the dead. In 1 Kings 17:20 thru 23, Elijah called on God to raise a young boy who had died, and God raised Him! And you know what the boy’s mother said, in verse 24? “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord, in your mouth, is truth!” That was a sign from God, of His salvation. His words are truth!
In 2 Kings 4:33 thru 35, Elisha prayed to God to raise a young boy, and God raised him.
Here’s an odd occurrence, in 2 Kings 13:21; Elisha himself had died, and was buried in a tomb. And at a later date, some people were burying another man in hurry, and the bible says; “..and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha, and when the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet.” I must admit, I have no idea why this happened, because to my knowledge, that’s all the bible says about it.
But that’s three people from the old testament that were raised from the dead. Now let’s look at the new testament.
In Luke chapter 7, there was a funeral procession, and they were carrying a man in a coffin, and they passed by Jesus and His disciples. And it says in verses 14 & 15; “And He (Jesus) came up and touched the coffin, and the bearers came to a halt, and He said; Young man, I say to you arise!” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
Here’s what happened as a result of that miracle.. Verses 16 & 17; “And fear gripped them all, and they glorified God saying; A great prophet has arisen among us! And.. God has visited His people! And this report concerning Him, went out all over Judea, and in all the surrounding district.”
God was bringing salvation to His people. He provided a sign, and it looks like the sign got noticed. Right after this, is when two disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked Him; “Are you the Coming One, or do we look for someone else?” Verse 20. And Jesus answered in verses 22 & 23, and said; “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard. Blind receive sight, lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and deaf hear, dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.”
All these miracles, for the sake of creating faith, and therefore trust, in Jesus Christ, so that man would DO what Jesus says to do, so that we can be saved.
Now let’s go to Luke chapter 8. A man named Jai’-rus, who was a ruler in the synagogue, had a 12 year old daughter who had just died. And when Jesus heard about it, He said in verse 50; “Do not be afraid, only BELIEVE, and she shall be made well.” And it says in verses 54 & 55; “He however, took her by the hand and called, saying; Child arise! And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately..”
What was the purpose for the miracle? Jesus said; “Do not be afraid, only believe!” The purpose was to believe in Jesus, and believe in salvation through Him!
The next person to be raised from the dead, is probably the most well-known of all, except for Jesus, and that is Lazarus. Jesus and Mary and Martha, and a lot of family friends were there, and they went to the tomb where Lazarus was buried. And here’s what it says in John 11, verses 39 thru 46; “Jesus said; Remove the stone. Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him; Lord, by this time there will be a stench. For he has been dead four days. Jesus said to her.. (now listen to this) Jesus said to her; Did I not say to you, if you BELIEVE, you will see the glory of God?”
“And so they removed the stone, and Jesus raised His eyes and said; Father, I thank Thee that Thou hearest Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always. But because of the people standing around, I said it. That THEY may believe that Thou did send Me. And when he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice; Lazarus, come forth! And he who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings. And his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them; Unbind him, and let him go.”
“Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary, and beheld what he had done, BELIEVED in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done.”
The miracle was a sign from God, wasn’t it? It was a sign, so that the people could believe in Jesus. Jesus said in verses 25 & 26; “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall live, even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me, shall NEVER die. Do you believe this?” That’s the question of all time! “Do you believe this?”
The next one to be raised was Jesus Himself. And you remember what God said in Acts 17, verse 31; That God had “furnished PROOF to all men, by raising Him from the dead.” Proof for us to believe in!
And then after Christ was raised, probably very shortly after, we have that really mysterious event, recorded in Mathew 27:52 & 53; where the bible says “..and many bodies if the saints who had fallen asleep, were raised. And coming out of the tombs AFTER His resurrection, they appeared to many.” What in the world was that done for? What was that “a sign of”? Remember, a miracle is a “sign from God”. So then God was signifying something, when He raised these bodies and caused them to appear to “many”, in the city of Jerusalem.
What was God signifying? Was He signifying His power to raise the dead? The Jews should have already known that God could raise the dead. We saw three different illustrations of it in the old testament. And we saw three more illustrations in the new testament, of Jesus Himself raising the dead.
But here’s an illustration of how stubborn people’s hearts and minds are. I just quoted the part of Acts 17:31, that tells how God, “furnished PROOF to all men, by raising Him from the dead.” (By raising Jesus) Well, listen to the next verse, verse 32; “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some sneered, but others said; We shall hear you again concerning this.”
So then, no matter what God has done throughout history, some people simply refuse to believe. They sneer at the idea! And others, well, they’ll think about it. But then verse 34 says; “But some men joined him and believed..” And that’s exactly the way it is today. Some sneer, and some consider the possibility, and some, a few, actually believe. Amazing, isn’t it?
But what WAS God signifying, when He raised those bodies out of their tombs? Was He simply displaying His ability to raise the dead? All we can do is speculate, because God hasn’t told us anything specific. All we have is the general statement made by John, in John 20:31, which says; “But these things have been written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing, you may have life in His name.” Every miracle simply gives us more evidence to believe in the word of God, and in the power of God.
But allow me speculate though, for just a minute or two. Consider the empty tomb, where Jesus had been laid. It presented a problem for the Jewish leaders. They didn’t want to admit that Jesus was actually resurrected. As a mater of fact, they had posted guards at the tomb, so that no one could steal the body of Jesus, and then spread the story, that He had been resurrected.
But, it says in Mathew 28:2 thru 4; “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.” The plan of men, to guard the tomb of Jesus, wasn’t working.
Someone “stole” the body of Jesus, from right under the noses of the guards. And the One who stole it was GOD! So then when the guards reported to the chief priests what had happened, that the body was gone, this is what they said; Mat 28:13; “You are to say; His disciples came by night and stole Him away, while we were asleep.” And verse 15 says; “..this story was widely spread among the Jews, and to this day.”
Now, in light of what we I just read, consider the bodies that were raised out of their tombs after Jesus was resurrected. The scripture says; “They entered the holy city and appeared to many.” Mat 27:53. What was the purpose of that? God always has a purpose for His miracles. People must have somehow been able to tell, that these bodies had come out of the tombs. If that wasn’t discernable, then those bodies would have simply blended in with all the other thousands of bodies of the people who walked the streets of Jerusalem. Isn’t that correct? If those bodies couldn’t be distinguished, from all the other people, then indeed that miracle would have been completely pointless.
Now remember, I’m not saying that I have all the facts here, because I don’t. God hasn’t given us all the facts. But I’m speculating about a purpose for this miracle. So then these bodies had to be different in some way, from all the rest. And there had to be some connection, between these bodies, and all the empty tombs that they had come out of.
Do you think that all the people of Jerusalem, including the chief priests, would have concluded that the disciples of Jesus had come and stolen ALL these bodies form their tombs, and had made them appear in the city? I don’t think so. I think people would have been able to put two and two together, and figure out that these bodies that they were seeing in Jerusalem, and the empty tombs outside the city, were the result of an act of GOD!
And I also think that those same people, would have considered the empty tomb of Jesus, and would have concluded that this too, was an act of GOD, no matter what story the Jewish leaders had circulated! God himself, had resurrected Jesus, just as Jesus had predicted He would. Jesus said in John 2:19; “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.” This miracle of the bodies coming out of the tombs, may just have been a sign from God, that no one “stole” the body of Jesus; But that God Himself had resurrected Him!
Miracles are a sign from God, and in this case, it’s a sign from God of His salvation through His Son Jesus!
Now just so that you know, there were two others that were raised from the dead, after this event. And these were Tabitha, (or Dorcas) the Christian woman who had done so much for all who knew her. She fell sick and died, and was raised by Peter, in Acts 9:36 thru 41. And Eutychus, the young man who fell out of the second story window, who was raised by Paul, in Acts 20:9 & 10.
The miracle of life, from God.