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The Key to Salvation and Spiritual Growth

We live in a culture of seeing is believing. For example, perhaps you once shared a story with some friends about an exciting experience, but they did not think it to be true? Whether it is a fishing story about the "big one' that got away or when you scored an eagle shot on a par four at the golf course, some people will not believe unless they either see it for themselves or where empirical evidence is essential. Not much had changed in some 2000 years, as the disciple Thomas, also known as Didymus, had that same mindset when his fellow disciples told him they had seen the resurrected Messiah, they had seen Jesus.

Thomas said, 'Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." Interestingly, Jesus appeared to Thomas and extended the evidence to him, the opportunity to see His nail-scared hands and to put his hand into His side. Jesus tells Thomas, "Do not be unbelieving." Thomas replied to Jesus, saying, "My Lord and my God." Jesus said, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are those who did not see, and yet believed" (John 20:25-29).

While traveling to Cana in Galilee, a certain nobleman, whose son was gravely ill, approached Jesus even though he lacked in faith, which Jesus knew, saying, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe." Jesus told the man, "Go your way, your son lives." While on his way home, the nobleman was met by his servants, who said to him, "Your son lives," and at that moment, the Bible says the nobleman believed, as did his household (John 4:48-50).

Faith is an essential element to one's salvation, for the Bible teaches that "By grace we are saved, through faith" (Eph. 2:8). Faith is also vital to a believer's spiritual growth and relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible further states, "By faith, we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (Heb. 11:3;6).

The world sees spiritual faith as a whimsical part of an ancient fairytale told long, long ago in a land far, far away. Ironically, such people have no problem putting their trust in man's fallacies but struggle or refuse to place their faith in God's infallible word and will. They want evidence-based proof before they believe, before they have faith, but wait! If something has to be proven in a physical sense or by first-hand observation for people to believe, Jesus's resurrection, for example, what is the need for faith?

It took faith for Noah to build the ark while the people mocked and taunted him. It took faith for Abram to leave his homeland and set out for the horizon at God's call. It took faith for Moses to return to Egypt and face Pharaoh. It took faith for Daniel to enter the lion's den and walk into the fiery furnace, only to emerge unharmed. It took faith for a small boy named David to face and defeat the mighty Philistine Goliath.

It took faith for Mary to stand in the face of persecution as she carried Jesus in her womb. It took faith for Peter to step out of the boat to walk on water. It took faith for the blind man to get up and wash his eyes to obtain sight. It took faith for the ill woman who reached out to merely touch the hem of Jesus' garment to receive healing. Lastly, it took faith for Jesus, as a man, to yield to the cross, saying to His Father in heaven, "Not My will but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

If people want evidence, the Bible holds pages and pages of recorded history, first-hand accounts by those who had experienced and seen miracles as such with their own eyes. Perhaps that is why Moses, inspired by God, opened the book of Genesis with this preamble: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). If one cannot accept that by faith, such a person will struggle with all the miracles that follow throughout the Bible. Faith is the key to our salvation and spiritual growth.

Therefore, no matter what challenges we face in and among the world, let us cling to our faith in God and meet those challenges head-on with confidence. We know, according to God's word, that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). Best of all, let us keep this verse at the forefront of our thoughts: "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31); therefore, as the old hymn goes, by faith, onward Christian soldiers.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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