Believing and acting
“Through faith we understand…” (Hebrews 11:3)
“Through faith we understand…” These words embody one of the most basic principles of spiritual life. We believe God’s Word first, then we understand. The world says, “Seeing is believing;” God says, “Believing is seeing.” The Lord Jesus said to Martha, “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see…” (John 11:49). Later He said to Thomas, “…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). And the Apostle John wrote, “These things have I written unto you that believe…that ye may know…” (1 John 5:13).
Believe first, then you’ll know.
Billy Graham tells how this principle came alive in his life: “In 1949 I had been having a great many doubts concerning the Bible. I thought I saw apparent contradictions in Scriptures. Some things I could not reconcile with my restricted concept of God. When I stood up to preach, the authoritative note so characteristic of all great preachers of the past was lacking. Like hundreds of other seminary students, I was waging the intellectual battle of my life. The outcome could certainly affect my future ministry.
“In August of that year I had been invited to Forest Home, Presbyterian conference center high in the mountains outside Los Angeles. I remember walking down a trail, tramping into the woods, and almost wrestling with God. I dueled with my doubts, and my soul seemed to be caught in the crossfire. Finally, in desperation, I surrendered my will to the living God revealed in Scripture. I knelt before the open Bible and said, ‘Lord, many things in this book I do not understand. But thou hast said, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ All I have received from Thee, I have taken by faith. Here and now, by faith, I accept the Bible as Thy Word. I take it all. I take it without reservations. Where there are things I cannot understand, I will reserve judgment until I receive more light. If this pleases Thee, give me authority as I proclaim Thy Word, and through that authority convict men of sin and turn sinners to the Saviour!
“Within six weeks we started our Los Angeles crusade, which is now history. During that crusade I discovered the secret that changed my ministry. I stopped trying to prove that the Bible was true. I had settled in my own mind that it was and this faith was conveyed to the audience.”