In The End, Faith Is What Matters
In the Movie "Secret Garden," a boy is kept hidden because he is allegedly very sick. The Doctors say his legs are too weak to walk. The boy believes the Doctors. A girl visiting finds him. She challenges the boy by telling him, "You do look sick, but it is nothing a little sunshine, and good food will not help. And your legs could walk if you exercised them." The boy refuses to listen to the girl. However, the girl eventually convinces him to try to walk. The boy, of course, struggles to walk a few steps, assuring the boy that he could walk. The girl saw beyond what the Doctor saw. She followed her conviction that the boy's body atrophied because of disuse. She saw a body that worked fine, but that the owner had refused to make work. However, in the end, it boiled down to the boy believing that he could walk. The girl could have given him evidence and proof that he could indeed walk, but unless the boy thought he could, he would have never walked.
Faith is, at times, defined as belief. All the proof and evidence in the world – whether internal or external - cannot replace faith. It is by faith that the just lives (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11). It is by faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). Hebrews 11:6 says that, "… without faith it is impossible to please him." In John 14:8, 9 Phillip asked Jesus for evidence, Jesus in essence answered "I am your evidence." In Matthew 12:38-40 some Scribes asked Jesus for a sign, Jesus replied similarly. Jesus did not believe that evidence would be useful in making people believe unless they chose to exercise the faith given to them.
Let us consider what it says in Hebrews 11:1- 3,
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
This statement was true in Paul's day, is true in our day, and before the Bible text was first written. Verse 3 says that our understanding of the world we live in comes through faith, not just evidence from history, archeology, social or physical sciences. Trying to prove that the written narrative of the Bible is reliable has its place. However, how do you explain that from fallen Adam to the writing of the Pentateuch? Those who believed in this era did so without a written narrative of the history of redemption. This is not to say that the Bible is not necessary. It is, however, important to say that the Bible is an instrument in God and men's hand to lead men closer to God. The Bible informs us of how we are saved in Jesus, the Word of God incarnate.
In the end, you must believe that what the written Word says is true. Romans 10:17 says it clearly, " So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." The Bible is perhaps the most important way to hear the Word of God. However, without faith, the Bible is nothing more than a collection of exciting stories that paint a historical picture of how things were more than 2000 years ago. Let us read Hebrews 11:4:
Hebrews 11:4 By faith [and without the benefit of a Bible] Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
The same is the case of Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses (Hebrews 11: 7-11, 22-24.) This is the case of those mentioned in Hebrews 11: 32. They had the benefit of Written Scripture. Were these latter ones better off because of the Written Scripture? They believed by faith that what we know today as the Bible is the Written Word of God, without the internal or external proofs we have today. It is by faith that they pleased God and were saved. The same is true for us. Nothing can replace faith effectively.