Many people have a faulty view of faith. They believe faith is necessary when there is no evidence to support reality. Some feel to believe in God you must make an intellectually blind “leap of faith”. This is certainly not a Biblical view of faith. I personally do not hold this view and I would like to share a few reasons why I am confident to take another “leap of faith.”
LESSONS FROM A CHILD
I recently reflected back to a typically beautiful Saturday morning here in Southern California. I was working out in my garden. At the time, my five-year-old son who loves to climb was perched on top of my work shed about 9 feet above the surrounding concrete slab. “Will you catch me dad?” he asked. Upon seeing me nod my head, without hesitation he leaped off the roof into my outstretched arms. I caught him of course (however today I may not be so confident). But it was his confidence that intrigued me. “Derek, why do you trust that I will catch you?”, I asked. His response was simple but powerful.
“Dad, I have been jumping into your arms my entire life and you have never dropped me.”
That statement from my 5-year-old son embodies the true definition of faith! His faith was based on his past experience. It was an evidential faith. He simply trusted me based on his personal experience. I had never dropped him so he had all the confidence in the world that he could fling himself into the air without fear of landing on the concrete below. It was really an active trust that I would continue to do the same. So how strong is your faith? Is it strong enough to cause you to leap?
Many criticize Christians of having a “blind faith.” Unfortunately, some Christians subscribe to a faulty concept of faith. The Bible does not ask us to make a blind leap of faith. In the example I provided, it was not a blind leap but a confident leap because my son trusted in the evidence that he had experienced in the past. Like my son, I can make a similar statement about my Heavenly Father:
“I have been jumping into His arms my entire life and He has never dropped me.”
An accurate definition of Biblical faith is trusting what we have good reason to believe is true.
It is active trust based on evidence. God never asks for us to have blind faith.
Scripture gives us a clear definition of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Christianity is a faith full of evidence. It is based on things we can know.
In 2 Timothy 1:12 the Apostle Paul said, “I know whom I have believed”, and Jesus Himself said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Christ Himself saw the importance that we would be encouraged and convinced by the evidence. He knew at times our faith was weak. In the book of Acts, we are told that He showed Himself by “many infallible proofs” over a 40-day period. This resulted in a passion and fire in His disciples that even caused them to die for what they believed. This was a fearless faith.
WHAT IS A FEARLESS FAITH?
The Scriptures are full of examples of men and women who possessed a confident faith based on evidence. Among the many historical events that sets Christianity apart from all others is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The book of Corinthians was written less than 25 years after Jesus's crucifixion. In chapter 15 Paul reminds them, "Now I want to remind you brothers, of the Gospel message I preached to you." Paul was delivering what he had received. In this account alone we learn the risen Jesus appeared to individuals as well as groups. He appeared to Peter, James and Paul. He also appeared to the 12, over 500, and to all the apostles. Think about what that did to their faith. They had personal experience and were eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus! Wow, you talk about a faith builder.
NOW SOME WILL SAY, IF YOU HAVE ALL THIS EVIDENCE THEN WHY DO YOU NEED FAITH?
How can you have faith in something you know is true? This statement indicates that faith is opposed to knowledge. Again, this is a misunderstanding of faith. Faith and reason are not opposites, rather they are complimentary. Reason assesses the facts or evidence, and faith trusts considering the reasons.
This does not mean that Christians do not have questions. There are many things that I do not understand and cannot explain.
However, the things that I do understand help me trust in the things that I do not.
This is when I need faith. But this is much different than believing blindly. It is trusting in the best inference of the evidence. My son trusted me based on what he did know. The eyewitnesses of the resurrection trusted based on what they did know and had personally experienced. They still needed faith. This is what I call a Fearless Faith!
There have been many times I have had to rely on the promises in God’s Word. There are times I do not understand. I do not have all the answers. I have questions and doubts. Just like you, I have experienced some heartache in my life. I have had to leap into my Heavenly Father’s arms many times.
He has never dropped me.