Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NET
Faith in Jesus is a gift from the Father.
It cannot be caught or taught.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
Jesus asked His disciples what people were saying about Him, who they imagined Him to be – Who do they say the Son of Man is? (Matthew 16:13). In asking the question He used the designation “Son of Man” which is a title of the Messiah. He wanted to know if people saw Him for who He truly was. The disciples reported people’s varying opinions about Him. He was being talked about, but none were saying He was the Messiah.
Then Jesus asked His disciples the same question – Who do you say I am? Simon Peter didn’t hesitate: You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Or in other words: You are who You say You are. How did Simon know this? Jesus told him: You are blessed because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. He went on to say it couldn’t be learned from any human being. Faith is a gift given by the Father (Matthew 16:17).
Faith knows Jesus as the Rock of Ages, the Ancient of Days, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world because God the Father reveals it. There is no imagining what He is like, there is simply knowing something you didn’t know before. Receiving something you didn’t have before. In the same way you know any gift you’ve received and opened. Only this gift is greater than any other.
Read John 3:1-8
Nicodemus, one of the prominent Jewish leaders in the community, heard about Jesus and came to meet Him at night. Under cover of darkness, he came alone to find out who Jesus was. Nicodemus began by telling Jesus: We know You are a teacher from God because of the signs and miracles You are doing. No question asked, he just gave an opinion about Jesus based on what he knew.
Jesus didn’t wait for Nicodemus to ask a question. He just explained the reality of the situation: The truth is, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born from above. Or in other words: Born by the will of the Father through the gift of faith. The gift of faith and the gift of life are inextricably linked.
What comes from the flesh is flesh, what comes from the Spirit is spirit. God the Father is spirit and only by His will can the gift of faith be given to an individual. Life comes from the Father and through faith we who believe in Jesus are blessed with eternal life.
As sure as a newborn baby realizes it’s been born, so does one who has been reborn by faith. Moved from darkness to light. Released from confinement to freedom. Like the wind, one born of the Spirit is not sure how it all happened or where it’s leading. Therefore, every new Believer must reorient themselves to a new way of life, just like babies must learn to live outside the womb.
Gifts received, opened, and utilized.
New life lived.
Both pictures of being given the blessing of faith. But this gifting of faith is a mystery. We may be given just a little at first. What will you do with it? Will you receive it? open it? see where it leads?
I see Nicodemus’s curiosity about Jesus as a gift of faith. Not yet convinced of what he had seen of Jesus but venturing out in the dark perhaps with a hope of finding out more. This religious leader could’ve let peer pressure and fear of ridicule keep him far removed from Jesus. But something drew him to see for himself who Jesus was. I believe even the desire to know… the desire for faith… is a gift from the Father. A divine nudge for you to pursue and find out for yourself.
Faith knows seeking is required and is open to searching and testing if something is really of God. Personal judgments and the opinions of others don’t get in the way of faith. Those with even the smallest gift of faith open the gift to see what’s in it.
If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
1Corinthians 8:2 ESV
Once faith is received it doesn’t have to imagine. Faith knows.
Hear Jesus ask you: Who do you say I am?
Do you know? or do you only imagine
Are you sure of what you hope for? certain of what you do not see?
As sure as the wind blows – you know not from where or where to – you can know Him by faith. Come to Jesus in His Word. Come through prayer. Ask the Father for the gift. If you have it, open it, exercise it, discover more of who He is and who He calls you to be.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7 ESV
Knowing there is more to know – even beyond what I can imagine.Carol
Feature Image Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash
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