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Faith In The Source

Poster’s (NC) Pro-log:

“There is proof in the pudding,” but for faith, belief is not in the proof but in the source of the proof. Belief by faith only, or by proof, it will be one or the other, but once proof is established there is no longer place for belief by faith only. The growth for the saint is to believe God’s Word apart from the need of Him proving it. Regardless, He will eventually prove what He says, so the goal is to believe antecedent to proof, thus, pure faith is believing without proof, for “hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why would he still hope for it (Rom 8:24)?

A prime example is in the fact that it required the Lord Jesus to show Himself risen to the Apostles and disciples for them to believe in His resurrection (John 20:8, 9, 13, 20, 25, 27, 29, 31). The Lord Jesus never discussed His resurrection but rather just mentioned and hinted of it (Mark 8:31; 9:31, 32; Luke 24:7; John 2:19), nor did they understand and realize how the Old Testament declared it in types and figures (i.e. Gen 22:2, 8; Mat 12:40).

I wanted to include Gill’s comment on John 20:9 because I believe it to be helpful:

“For as yet they knew not the Scripture”: Meaning not some particular passage of Scripture, but the writings of the Old Testament in general, and the various places in it, which spoke of the resurrection of Christ, either in a way of type, or prophecy; such as Genesis 22:3 and though our Lord had often referred to some of them, at least as in Matthew 12:40 yet such was the dullness of the disciples, or such their prejudices in favor of the Messiah being to continue, and set up a temporal kingdom, that even John, who leaned on his breast, and Peter, who was so inquisitive and desirous of knowing our Lord's meaning in everything, did not understand the sense of his words, nor of those places of Scripture he had reference to:

“that he must rise again from the dead: so it was determined, thus it was predicted, and the justification and salvation of God's elect required it; and yet they knew not the thing, nor the necessity and importance of it.”

Gill Bible Commentary for John 20

Also concerning Mark 9:32: “But they understood not that saying”: “Meaning either the whole of what he had said, concerning his delivery, death, and resurrection: and which then must be interpreted with some limitation; for they must understand the sense of his words, which were clear and express; especially concerning his death, which affected their minds with trouble and grief; for Matthew says, "they were exceeding sorry upon it," See Gill on "Mt 17:23".

“But they could not understand how it could be, and upon what account, and for what end, so holy and good, and innocent a man as he was, could be put to death; nor how this could consist with his character, as the Son of God, the Messiah, and king of Israel; and with the notions they had of the Messiah's abiding forever, and setting up a temporal kingdom on earth: or this may regard only his resurrection from the dead; which whether it was to be taken in a literal or mystical sense, they could not tell.”

Faith In The Source

It is a great thing to learn faith: that is, simple dependence upon the Father. The more natural resources you have, the more difficult it is to be wholly dependent upon Him. Still it will comfort you much to be assured that the Father is teaching you dependence upon Himself, and it is very remarkable that faith is necessary in everything. “The just shall live by faith,” not only in you circumstances, but in everything. I believe the Lord allows many things to happen on purpose to make us feel our need of Him. The more you find Him in your sorrows or wants the more you will be attached to Him and drawn away from this place where the sorrows are, to Him in the place where He is.

“Without Me ye can do nothing.” There is always growth in proportion as I am conscious that apart from Him I can do nothing, that I have no power for anything apart from Him. The most beautiful flower will fail and come to nothing apart from the parent stem; now the more you have this conviction and act on it, the more you are confirmed in the new creation, not only “rooted” but “built up in Him.” If the blossom, however developed, be detached from the tree there is no fruit.

The heart, deeply sensible that nothing can be done apart from Christ, testifies of its growth in not resting on any success, however promising, but simply on the Lord Himself. You might have had the most appropriate conversation with one deeply interested, or a very good time beside a sickbed, but the more you advance in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, the less will you think of the effect produced; but you will simply and entirely depend on Him who only can make it fruitful.

It is the same in any service. The blossom may be fragrant and encouraging, but the heart that knows the Lord Jesus clings to Him as the source and spring of all power to bring the blossom to fruition. In this way the growth is measured, for as the vigor of a branch is measured by the extent in which it draws from the parent stem, so the measure of my strength is the extent of my abiding above in Him. There can be no strength nor progress apart from Him, and what a delight and satisfaction to my heart to be assured that I am powerless apart from the One who has so entirely bound my heart to Himself.

No word could more fully gratify a true heart than – “Apart from me ye can do nothing.” Because if I am really bound to Him I should feel distance if I could do anything independently of Him, as dependence on Him increases so does the heart become better acquainted with Him. May you be like the green branch that cannot do without Him – rejoicing daily that the bond is greater and greater, and, though the blossom be ever so promising and fragrant, that your eye rests not on anything produced, but on Him who produces it.

– J.B. Stoney