Mark 5:36 “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”
You and I are believers. Aren’t we?
It’s Oh so simple… Isn’t it? All we have to do is believe.
But first of all we have a slight problem here: HOW CAN AN UNBELIEVER BELIEVE? The very fact he is an unbeliever makes it impossible for him to believe.
So you can see, it is not as simple as we make out. In fact it is an impossibility. This was no simple formula God handed down for wannabe saints! Believers are not saved by their ability to believe. Human will (the will of the flesh) has no part in belief!
John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” That seems quite simple doesn’t it? Receive Him, and He will give you power to become sons of God.
But it is not quite that simple, because if we read on we see a paradox: These “sons of God” do not have anything at all to do with their own son ship. It was not of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man. So that ‘will of man’ spoken of must necessarily include their own will also. They did not, nor could they, decide with their will that they would receive Him. That would contradict the message here. James 1:18 “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth…”
Next there is a further problem: HOW CAN A DEAD MAN DECIDE?
“..You … were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1. To be quickened means to be made to live. But the pre-state of salvation is death. Therefore there is nothing in salvation that can at all be attributed to the sinner. He is dead.
To ask a dead man to believe is as silly as asking a dead man to walk! Unless, of course, you do not think you were really dead. Only part dead, perhaps. Or possibly you thought there was part of you that wasn’t bad. You were bad – but not all bad.
See the flesh as it tries to have a part in its own salvation.
Testimonies are usually excuses for the flesh to glory in its actions: “I received Christ!”
On hospital visitation, a family member of the sick man assured me she was believing for a miracle. I am sure she meant well, but can you see how she had changed the grace of God into her act of believing. Instead of hoping in God’s grace, she was parading her faith!
And then there is another issue: HOW CAN THE CORRUPT MIND THINK?
All we have to do is believe, and we shall be saved. And we have verses to quote to support it:
Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
So there we have it! And we write tracts to illustrate it, and we give them out, and we invite people to think about it, and decide to believe.
But have you ever thought how difficult it would be for a corrupt mind to think aright?
What must the unbeliever do? Convince his mind to make a rational judgment? Persuade himself of the truth of the matter?
So how can we believe? Well, it is an impossibility. Except for this one thing: WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
It is God at work within you.
His Spirit convinces us of our state, and of our inability to help ourselves in any way.
And after the conviction comes the alleviation of grief, brought about by the entrance of faith. Faith that flows from God Himself. A gracious act, in which we have no part, and can take no merit.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9