Jul 112016 2 Responses

Do You Need a Sign to Believe in God?

If you are waiting on a sign to believe in God, you probably won’t get one. You might. It’s not impossible. God can do whatever he wants. But more often than not he doesn’t respond to humanity’s demands.

It’s not unusual for me to encounter someone who is not a follower Jesus. In the midst of conversation, they will reveal their displeasure at how God has chosen to reveal Himself. They have refused to think critically and seriously about the life of Jesus and have instead demanded God speak to them in a different way. “If he wants to convince me, he will have to ______,” they say.

Yet what kind of God would meet the rebellious demands of His creation?

See below for our opening sermon in our study of the Book of John:

God, in his great compassion, has made Himself known to humanity, but he has done so on His own terms. He has done so through Jesus.

Even while many people demand signs, God has given the ultimate sign in Jesus. Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, Jesus reveals the character and nature of God. He shows us how we can have a relationship with God.

Do Signs Exist?

While Jesus is the ultimate sign of God’s presence, there are times in which God intervenes in our lives in tangible ways. These moments can greatly encourage our faith or even spark an interest in faith which hasn’t existed before. (See: Three Times God Showed Me a Sign…I Think)

But there is a radical difference between someone humbly longing to understand the presence of God compared to someone arrogantly refusing to believe unless God acts in a certain way.

Seeking a sign as a confirmation of faith can be God-honoring. It’s God-honoring when our faith is weak and we ask God to strengthen it through a sign. We believe but we want to believe even more. When our desire is for more faith, the desire is God-honoring. Much like the father who told Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief” there is nothing wrong with asking God to strengthen our faith. Likewise, if someone is not a believer, but wonders if God cares or is real, it can honor God to humbly ask Him to reveal Himself.

Demanding a sign as a prerequisite to faith is rebellion. Desiring that God would further confirm our faith is one thing, demanding that God give us a sign and refusing to believe until he does is something totally different. There are many who use the idea of a sign as an excuse. They think “If God would just do ____, then I would believe.” Of course, it’s a form of rebellion. It’s an attempt to force God to act on our terms. Truth is, even if God did exactly what we wanted, it wouldn’t be enough. How many people have made a deal with God—if you save me from this situation, I’ll never doubt you—only to back out of their part of the deal? Demanding a sign in order to believe is rebellion against God.

Believe in Jesus, Not a Sign

Rather than seeking a sign, it is a far better pursuit to seek to understand the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells of the story of God and humanity. It explains our beginnings, the source of our pain, and the great answer to our sorrows.

The central character in the Bible is Jesus. While each part of the Bible tells an aspect of His story, the four Gospels give an account for His life on earth. The Gospel of John is one of those books.

 

John’s Gospel is written for the purpose of convincing people that Jesus is God’s Son. Like a prosecuting attorney who is selecting specific evidence to make a case, John chooses seven events, which he calls signs,  to make his case that Jesus is more than just a man. After proving there is something unique about Jesus through the seven signs, John then gives a full account of his death, burial, and resurrection.

The Book of John is written with a clear purpose: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 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 20.30-31, ESV)

If someone wants to explore the possibility of God and to see if they can have a relationship with Him, the Gospel of John is a perfect place to start.

Like a juror judging a trial, consider the evidence which John lays out, and come to a conclusion about what you believe regarding Jesus.

Many people want a sign before they are willing to believe in God. Most often, God doesn’t grant their specific request. Rather than revealing Himself the way they demand, He has chosen to reveal Himself the way He desires–through Jesus.

We don’t need a sign to believe, we have Jesus.

 

2 Responses to Do You Need a Sign to Believe in God?
  1. […] No matter our perspective, His activity has not ceased. (See: Do You Need a Sign to Believe in God?)... kevinathompson.com/how-jesus-sees-the-world
  2. […] 1. We want God to show us, not tell us. We like the idea of God communicating with us. However, we ... kevinathompson.com/5-reasons-christians-dont-hear-god

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