by Susan Sampson

At the beginning of our study Beyond Belief on page 15 it says, “John wants us to have a sure confidence in the Lord, a certainty about His love and His salvation. Such a confidence will enable us to encounter the unexpected with faith, joy, and love and to overcome and not be overcome.”

In Chapter Two, “Light”, we learn how doubt was cast in the minds and hearts of Adam and Eve by the serpent and they fell prey to it. They questioned if what God said was true.

In our final lecture Laurie said the enemy works to impugn the self-revelation of God! The enemy desires that we would be overwhelmed with our weakness and be self-focused so that we won’t be able to hold onto the truth.

This is right where I have continued to fall prey to the lies and deception of the enemy. Unbelief.

1 John 5:9-11 says, “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

I will never forget a meeting I had years ago with a precious Thistlebend sister. I can’t remember what we were discussing about God’s Word, but I will never forget what she said to me. She said matter of factly, “Well He said it, so I believe it.” She has the faith of a child and it is beautiful.

I’ve been slowly working my way through an amazing book I got as a gift for my birthday this year called Pierced For Our Transgressions – Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach. I love books on doctrine because they strengthen my weak faith.

Just this week I read page 116 where the authors ask, “Will we humbly accept God’s self-disclosure, his word about himself? Or will we reject him in favor of idols?” On the next page they go on to say, “The most obvious opposite of ‘believe’ would be ‘not believe’. But here, (John 3:36) the contrasting idea is not unbelief but rejection, even ‘disobedience’. Failure to believe in Jesus is not merely a mental error akin to thinking that 2+2=5; it is ethically unjustified, an act of rebellion.” And in the next paragraph they write, “Thus to disbelieve what Jesus says about himself is an attack on the Father. Jesus insists his words come from the Father (John 14:10; 17:8, 14), the Father commands us to listen to the Son (Mark 9:7), and refusal to believe the words of the Son makes the Father out to be a liar (1 John 5:10). It is a denial of his truthfulness. The echoes of Genesis 3 are hard to miss.”

Greg Gilbert was the guest speaker at our recent Gallery Benefit. The Lord used him to speak so powerfully about the gospel. He talked about the definition of sin being “missing the mark.” And he used a powerful image as he held back an invisible bow and arrow that he shot to show what it means to “miss the mark”. But then he explained that sin is so much more. And he turned around and this time he purposefully aimed and released the invisible arrow right at God! It was a powerful picture. Sin is rebellion against the King of kings. Against our King. Against our Father. And against Jesus the One who bled and died for us.

Once again I have to come back to the statement from last week, “God’s Word is the final word.” It is truth. Absolute truth. Unchanging, eternal, fully trustworthy. It is His testimony about himself. It is His self-revelation. I must repent of my unbelief and humbly accept my Father’s words as true and rest in them by faith. As Greg told us at the benefit, we can and must “rely” on them. This is what it means to have faith.

In Chapter 20 of John’s gospel he tells us the purpose of his writing: “…but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). This is God’s Word. And though it sounds too good to be true, and beyond belief, it is in fact true and we must, by God’s grace through faith, believe it, live it, and rest in it.


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