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Chapter 5 – The Beginning of Faith

“Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” John 11: 27.

The Lord had said to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on Me, though he die, yet shall he live”; and after that He had put to her the question, “Believest thou this?” What answer was she to give? The thought that her brother was to be raised again was still too high and wonderful for her. And yet she was conscious that she believed in Jesus, and did not doubt Him or His word. What reply was she to make? With childlike simplicity and sincerity she says: “I have believed that Thou art the Christ: I do not indeed know aright what I believe concerning the resurrection of my brother. It is to me, as if I cannot understand, cannot conceive it; but this I know, I have believed and still believe in Thee, as the Son of the living God. Thee, Thy birth, Thy power, Thy love, I doubt not.”

How instructive is this picture of Martha’s faith. How frequently it happens that when the word of the Lord comes to a soul with the promise of forgiveness and reception into child-ship with God, and the question is put, “Believest thou this?” that the discouraged soul falls a-sighing and answers, “Ah! no: this I cannot yet believe”; and thereafter he proceeds to condemn himself — a thing that profits nothing, instead of acting as Martha did. She did not yet believe everything, but what she believed that she spoke out before the Lord. She believed in Him as the Son of the living God: this was the principal thing, and would prove the source of greater faith. In connection with what she did believe, she was diligent in prayer; by this means her faith would be strengthened and become capable of receiving yet more and more.

Follow that example, O thou of little faith. When you are asked: Do you believe that your sins are forgiven, that you are a child of God, that everlasting salvation is yours? you are perhaps afraid to answer, ” Yes.” You see others who can say so. You read in God’s word that the Lord will give His grace, that you may be enabled to say so. But you cannot say so, and you do not know how you shall ever come to the point of daring to say so. Soul, learn the way from Martha. Do not continue sitting down there, mourning over your unbelief, but go to Jesus with that which you know that you do believe. This at least you know that, although you cannot yet say, He is my Savior, your whole soul believes that He was sent by God to be a Savior, and that He has proved Himself to be a Savior for others. Well, then, go with this confession to Jesus, utter it before Him in prayer, look to Him and adore Him as the Savior of the world. Speak out what you do believe, and by this means will faith in your heart be confirmed and increased. Say: “Lord Jesus, how unbelieving I am; this, however, I do believe that Thou art the Savior, full of love and grace, and mighty to redeem.” Forget yourselves and worship Jesus, although you dare not as yet say, that He is yours. In the midst of those exercises your faith will increase, and by and by you will insensibly come to the confidence that He is also yours. Only persevere: so long as you cannot yet say, “He is mine and I am His,” let your soul be found, this and every day, in the ceaseless adoring confession: “Yea, Lord: this I believe, that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He will speedily confirm to you that word of truth: “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. 25: 21). You will speedily learn to believe, and then, like Martha, you shall also see the glory of God.

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