Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Can we SEE Faith?

Meditation for the week of April 1, 2012

Luke 5:20  When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."

How can we SEE faith?  Faith is a matter of the heart.  The Ethiopian official was told that if he believed with all his heart he could be baptized (Acts 8:37).  Romans 10:9 says that if we confess with the mouth what we have believed in the heart we will be saved.  So it is true that we believe inwardly but what happens inwardly is seen outwardly.  We cannot hide what we truly believe in.  We talk about it, we read about it, we try to be with others who share the same interests and point of view.  We often pay money to be involved in whatever we truly believe in.  These five men believed that the Lord could heal the man who was paralyzed.  Because of the faith of the five, a man in need was brought into contact with the Lord who forgave his sins and healed him.

When we first read this passage, it seems that the Lord saw the faith of the four friends and healed the paralyzed man because of their faith.  That is the way I read it for years.  That puzzled me because only personal faith saves, and this is a picture of what takes place spiritually when we trust in the Lord Jesus.  But now I can see that all five of these men were convinced that the Lord could heal.  The faith of the four men brought the man who needed help to the Lord, but it was the faith of the man himself that caused the Lord to forgive his sins.  In the context of Scripture, we know that everyone must believe in the Lord personally to have their sins forgiven.  The faith of my father or of my mother or of my friends is not my faith and will not save me.  My faith is not the faith of my father or my mother or of my friends and will not save them.  All five had apparently been convinced that the Lord could heal so their confidence in the Lord was seen by the effort they all made to get close to the Lord.  But I do not believe that the Lord healed this man based on the faith of his friends.  Their faith provided opportunity, but the paralyzed man’s faith provided forgiveness—and that is the general teaching of the Scriptures.

I notice that their faith was in a person.  Everyone has faith in someone or something, but for many their faith is misplaced.  When people do not believe in the Lord, they are believing one of Satan’s many lies.  I also notice that their faith was not a general belief in a creator God who will work everything out according to His will.  While many people have that kind of faith and claim to be Christians or followers of Christ because of that generalized concept of God, these men had their faith in the Lord Jesus.  They trusted HIM.

Today, I believe that the way we come to trust the Lord Jesus is by getting to know Him through what He says.  When we trust what a person says, we are trusting the person.  Even Romans 10:17 tells us that saving faith comes through hearing the Word of God.  God has made us promises, and when we trust in those promises we are trusting in the Lord.  I could give many reasons why we ALL SHOULD trust in the Lord through the promises of Scripture, but ultimately we all believe what we want to believe.  The paralyzed man wanted to believe that he could be healed.  I want to believe that that I can know for sure that my sins are forgiven and that one day I will be in heaven.  Because of that I believe God and the promises He has made in the Bible.  I believe that Christ died for my sins (Romans 5:8).  Others believed in the Lord and wanted me to believe in the Lord as well. They prayed for me and they preached to me; but, ultimately, I had to trust the Lord for myself. 

I have trusted in the Lord, and I know I am saved.  1st John 5:13 says that the things in the Bible were written that we might know (not just hope) that we have eternal life.  I have been saved by trusting and not by doing; but because I have faith in the Lord, others should find that obvious when they are around me.  Hopefully, they can SEE my faith in the Lord Jesus.

Bruce Collins

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