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“The Secret of Joy” (2 Cor. 8:1-4)

Knowledge and Faith (1 Tim. 1:13-15)

Knowledge and Faith (1 Tim. 1:13-15)

 

WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Most of our problems with God arise from our having not enough knowledge or not enough faith. Sometimes, we don’t understand enough about God and what He wants for us. At other times, we don’t like what we understand so we choose not to believe it.

With God’s help, both problems are fixable; and God is ready to help. Paul discovered this when he struggled with these same two difficulties:

“I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them” (1 Tim. 1:13-15).

Ignorance – This is the easier problem to fix, but it takes longer. God’s truth will recommend itself to the open mind because He created that mind. However, discovering and understanding that truth requires inquiry and study. There’s really no shortcut.

To make it a little simpler for the honest inquirer, God provided authoritative truth in a single volume: “The entirety of your word is truth, each of your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). Much other helpful material is written, but only the Bible comes with God’s guarantee: “Every word of God is tested” (Prov. 30:5).

Jesus has a special tenderness for those who reject Him because they don’t yet know enough. Even as such people nailed Him to the cross, he prayed, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Unbelief – This can be the more difficult problem, but it can be solved instantly. Knowledge is a matter of the mind: It’s something you learn over time. Faith is a matter of the will: It’s something you decide in a moment.

When Jesus brought His ministry back to His hometown, “they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’” (Matt. 13:54). There was no doubt in their minds that He spoke truth and had power from heaven. But they had seen him grow up as the carpenter’s son, and there was no way they were going to humble themselves to follow Him as Master. Their refusal to believe thwarted His desire to bless: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matt. 13:58).

WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – Blind faith is not a Biblical concept. It’s not something God asks or desires from us. Instead, He wants to reveal Himself to us and to lay out His ways before us. “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18).

Our great need is not better understanding of creation, but fuller connection to the Creator in whom is all that is good and right and beautiful. Let’s decide not to allow ignorance or unbelief keep us from that.

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