Question:

Good day Sir,

Someone once told me that her faith has grown more through the things she has witnessed (miraculous healing, prophecies, people delivered from demons, etc.). Can this be true since prophecy has ceased. Further, should faith be based on what we see? If not on what should it be based on?And why is it that people (not everyone) always associate spirituality with emotions? Or is it the same thing? Sometimes they would say the Holy Spirit was moving.

Again I would like to thank you for all the information on your web site. It has really helped me find my bearings in Christ and I just want to keep growing on the right foundation.


Answer:

No, faith is not the same as emotions. Emotions are not trustworthy. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26).

Paul states that faith comes from knowing God's teaching. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Therefore, faith increases as you come to know more about God. The miracles in the Bible provide evidence to help establish belief. "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31). Notice that we don't need tons of evidence. John selected a set that was sufficient to prove the point.

A person who is not satisfied with the evidence given, has no real belief. That was the problem shown by the Jews.

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:21-29).

A person who believes because God said and doesn't need to see for himself has the greater faith. "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).

And all of this becomes worse, as you noted, when you realize that God said there are no modern-day miracles and direct communication with God. People forget that Satan can perform false wonders and because they do not love truth, they aren't able to tell the difference. "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:9-10). See: Belief, Baptism, and Signs Following Still Today? and Differences in Bible Miracles and Modern Miracles. To equate what people call "miracles" to what actually happen in the first century is a discredit to the power shown by Jesus and the apostles.

So basically our faith should grow on just hearing the word of God and nothing else? I know that Abraham is called the father of faith because of what he has done and was willing to do, but is there other instances in the Bible that people have shown this kind of faith? Is Job also a good example of this kind of faith.

Nathaniel believed when Jesus told him about his character and where he was earlier in the day, but Jesus mildly scolded him, "Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these"" (John 1:50). You could say his faith was too shallow.

When the Jews early on saw Jesus' miracles, notice what John said, "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man" (John 2:23-25). It was a faith, but not one that would last.

Better is what happened with the proconsul, "Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord" (Acts 13:12). It was the teachings that he believed in, the things seen merely gave credence to what he heard. Signs were done to confirm the word, not to amaze people with someone's ability. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4).

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).