Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

"Without Faith"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Inconceivable as it may be, there are some who vainly approach God "without faith". Following the bumper sticker philosophy which admonishes, "If you don't believe in God, you had better be right!", they attempt to serve God as a mere precaution. Believing it is better to be safe than sorry, they overlook the exchange Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8) had with the treasurer of Ethiopia; when the eunuch asked, "What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36), Philip replied, "If you believe with all your heart, you may" (Acts 8:37). One may be prevented from approaching the waters of baptism whose whole heart is not devoted to God, "for he who comes to God must believe!" Paul the apostle once asked, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" (Romans 10:14), but some attempt that very thing, refusing to be convinced, yet seeking divine protection, just in case!

How might these be persuaded? By miracles, perhaps? Jesus said, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe" (John 4:48). John explained his purpose in recording Christ's miracles, saying, "these are written that you may believe" (John 20:31). If the doubtful cannot be convinced by reading of the miracles of Christ, they "will by no means believe."

When informed that the Lord had risen, Thomas, "one of the twelve" (John 20:24), skeptically offered, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). One week after Thomas uttered those pathetic words, Jesus came to him and invited Thomas to verify that it was He. The doubting apostle confessed Him immediately. "Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'" (John 20:29). Will it require such an intimate visit with the Lord to persuade you who doubt?

In the torment of Hades (Luke 16:23), "a certain rich man" (Luke 16:19) begged "Father Abraham" (Luke 16:24) to send someone from the grave to warn his family of the wrath to come (Luke 16:27-30), but Abraham replied, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31). The only occasion provided to establish faith is the opportunity given to hear the scripture; if that is insufficient, nothing will work!

"Without faith..." pleasing God is impossible (Hebrews 11:6). "Without faith..." God is indicted as a liar (1 John 5:1). "Without faith..." the consequence is condemnation and death (Mark 16:16; John 3:18, 36; 8:24). "Without faith..." is the emptiness of hunger and thirst (John 6:35). "Without faith..." God's power unto salvation is forsaken (Romans 1:16). "Without faith..." the heart is troubled (John 14:1) and hard (John 12:39-40). "Without faith..." the spiritual eye is blind (John 12:39-40; 2 Corinthians 5:7). "Without faith..." is reason to be ashamed (Romans 10:11; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 11:16).

Do Families Share The Things Which Last?

Ken Neller

We sure are peculiar sometimes. We are willing to share many things with those who mean most to us, but we draw the line at the strangest places. For instance, a husband and wife may be very much in love and most intimate with one another, but how many couples do you know who share the same toothbrush? On the other hand, children may put almost anything into their mouths - dirt, bugs - but to lick a sucker that brother or sister has licked and get their germs? Never!

Yet, there are families who do share many things together. Unfortunately, these things do not always last.

A father may enjoy playing ball with his son and going hunting together, but what will they have in common when the last whistle has blown and the last shot is fired?

A mother may enjoy teaching her daughter how to cook or how to do needlework but what will they have in common when the last know is tied and the cord is cut?

It is wonderful for a family to participate in these activities together, yet they cannot share these things forever. But they can always share their faith in God and their worship of Him; they can pray together no matter where their location or what their age. While the memories of the shared activities of youth can only fade, a common love for God and a shared commitment to His service is a bond which will stand the test of time.

How sad that in some families part of them go to the worship services of the church while others stay at home! Those at home are missing the opportunity to share with their family perhaps the one thing that will last a lifetime and then some.

For all families everywhere, now is the time to make the decision which Joshua made long ago: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

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