People of Faith Series “The Four Friends”
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So we can see from this statement that faith has substance and this substance is the evidence of things which have not yet appeared. My question is – what is the substance from which our faith is derived?
In my blog entry on Faith and Forgiveness, I used the scriptures from Mark 2:1-12 which is the story of four men who carried a bedfast paralytic to Jesus to be healed. And in verse five it tells us, “When Jesus saw their faith…” The question is – what were these men doing that caused Jesus to determine they had faith for this paralytic man to be healed? Well, the story tells us, “The crowd was so large there was no way for the men to get the paralytic into the house – so they climbed up onto the roof, made a hole in the roof big enough for the bed to fit through and lowered the bed with the paralytic on it down to Jesus.” (My paraphrase) The story also tells us, Jesus said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Which tells me, this man enjoyed his sin a great deal up until the time his sin got out of control and became a burden to him and was in the process of killing him. Did not the Apostle Paul tell us in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death?” Yes, he did. And this paralytic man was almost to the point of receiving his wages for his past sins.
If we combine Hebrews 11:1 with Mark 2:5, we can make the determination that our actions is the substance of our faith. Now let me bring this faith thing a little closer to home using money as our example. Do we not use the money we earn for purchasing the items we can’t live without? Of course we do. Our money is good in any store in the world and if we have enough money we can walk out of those stores with whatever our heart desires. And in some cases, if we don’t have enough money to purchase a particular item we can make the purchase on credit promising to pay for the item at some future date with money we do not yet have in our possession. So going to the store and taking the money out of our wallet to pay for our purchase is the exercise of our faith in the ability of the money to perform our request. Our faith in God to perform our request works the same way our money works with one exception; we cannot purchase anything from God on credit. We either have the faith to receive our request, or we don’t.
The world operates on credit, but not God. He has told us, “We are not to owe any man anything but to love him;” (My paraphrase) because sooner or later credit once it gets out of hand will become a burden to us and rob life from us if we continue to spend more money than we have coming in. Credit, like sin, accumulates at interest unless it is removed from the equation before it overwhelms us. The paralytic in this story had let his sin overcome him and if it had not been for the faith actions of his four friends; he would have paid the full price of his sin. But Jesus saw the faith of the paralytic’s friends and forgave this man of his sins; and when the man was forgiven, his sin problem and the results of it were removed from him.
As we have just learned, our faith is not invisible like most people would have you believe. It is plainly seen in our actions and if our actions are contrary to the will of God; friends, death is lurking close by. However, when we exercise our faith in God by following His instructions, God rewards our faith with the things we desire. It sound like a win – win situation to me. DThrash