Much of contemporary thinking assumes that faith is a refuge for the mind when evidence for faith is lacking or unavailable.  This is a consequence of the erroneous assumption that faith must be blind, or somehow a substitute for reason and evidence.  But, faith is based on historical, empirical, experiential fact.  Remember that Thomas, in the New Testament, was not rebuked or dismissed when he expressed his need for evidence to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.  Jesus presented him with the evidence he requested.  What is also important, when Thomas was confronted with the evidence, he then believed and confessed Jesus to be his Lord and God.  So Thomas was not using intellectual doubt as an excuse for not believing.  If one chooses to not believe something, something can always be said against it, whether the objection is plausible or not.  So Thomas was sincere and willing to believe if he could do so without sacrificing reason and plausibility.  It is also true that faith is a gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.  “That”, refers to salvation, grace, and faith.  But a gift must be received for the transaction to be complete.  Being a gift does not preclude our will or response to God’s offer.  Nor does it imply that searching, testing the proposed evidence as a basis for faith is precluded or minimized.  This is all implied in Isaiah’s words from God, that we will find him when we seek him with all our heart.  Salvation is provided for everyone, but it must be received by faith, which does not come automatically but is received as God’s gift when one wants to receive it, and believes God for it.

Dr. Richard L. Shaw Ph.D., Pastor

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