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You are likely to have used the phrase “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Or maybe you have said something like “I will believe in God, if he showed himself to me.” Others might say “I will believe in God if he makes my sofa disappear and re-appear before my eyes.” We all want evidence, whether it’s seeing something is true with our own eyes, or being presented with extraordinary and irrefutable events which we think will make us believe what we previously didn’t. We would believe it, if only someone could prove it.
Yes. Of course you would. The problem is, Jesus disagrees with you. You wouldn’t believe. You would rationalise it, find a believable explanation for it, or never mention it again.
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the story of ‘The Rich Man & Lazarus’. The unrighteous rich man goes to Hades (Hell), while the righteous Lazarus is enjoying himself in Paradise. Lazarus is with Abraham, and the rich man desperately requests that he send Lazarus to warn his brothers of the fate that waits them in Hell. Abraham’s response, in verse 29, is telling:
They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them hear them.
In other words – “They have the Bible. They can read that. They don’t need a dead man warn them.” Lazarus, of course, disagrees. Abraham’s response this time, is even more telling (verse 31):
If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.
In other words – “If they do not read and believe the Bible, then no amount of miracles will convince them.” Now, I am not saying that faith cannot be awakened by a miracle. As John Piper has said, “The person who remains blind to the word will remain blind to the miracle.”
You cannot sit around waiting for the ultimate miracle to convince you that Christianity is true. I can confidently tell you that it is, but you must see for yourself – read the Bible. If you don’t read the Bible and believe it, then that disappearing sofa won’t convince you anyway.
I wish everyone would read the Bible, but it is not enough to believe it. James 2:19 tells us that the devils believe and tremble.
It is possible to be a bible expert and be unsaved. It is possible to believe the Bible from cover to cover and be unsaved. Believing is not enough.
It is only when God the Holy Spirit opens our blind eyes, impresses these things on our hearts and draws us in in life changing repentance and faith to God the Son, our incarnate, crucified, dead, buried, resurrected and glorified Jesus that we are saved. That takes a miracle of His grace, and nothing less.
If we want to see this happen in anyones life, we must pray, because nothing we can say or do will have any effect without God’s re-creating work in the heart.
Thanks SDG. Yes, indeed, people cannot simply be saved by intellectual assent. You’ll find that the passage I’m writing about doesn’t really cover that territory, though. Jesus is asserting that people need to “hear Moses and the Prophets.” That’s the main point of the parable.