Friday, January 20, 2012

Conditional Faith

We must be aware of having a faith that is conditional.

When Jacob fled from his father’s house because of his brother Esau’s threats, God met him at Bethel and promised him and his descendants the land of Canaan, just as He had promised it to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather (Gen. 28:10-17).

The next day, Jacob made a conditional promise to God (vv 20-22):

IF God will: be with me

                  keep me in the way

                  give me bread to eat

                  give me clothes to wear      

                  bring me back to my father’s house in peace   

Then:   the Lord shall be my God

           this stone shall become God’s house

           I will tithe all my income.

The weakness of Jacob’s faith is all the more glaring in the light of God’s unconditional promise to him the previous day.  

Conditional faith is cautious and timid faith.   It asks for evidence before it will commit itself.   Paul says, “The Jews demand miraculous signs [before they will believe]” (I Cor 1:22 NIV).  

Am I any better if I say that God must show Himself trustworthy before I will believe Him?

One of the saddest statements in the NT must be that of the father of the demon-possessed boy; “IF You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”   To which Jesus replied, “’If You Can!’  All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:2-23 NIV).  

Jesus puts the condition of faith squarely where it belongs---not on Him, but on us.  I cannot blame God for the miracles He did not do; I can only blame myself for tying His hands.

    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”               I Cor. 16:13 NLV

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