Why, in the New Testament, did God start insisting – it has to be faith and believing? You don’t find that in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament – 500 times you read the words “faith” or “believe”. Suddenly Jesus comes, and it has to be faith and believe. Why does it have to be?
Let’s begin with - what is believing?
Believing is accepting something is true when you know that you don’t really know. If you knew, you wouldn’t need to believe. You know what your name is, do you need to believe it? Do you believe that you have 2 arms? No – why? Because you know it.
The reason why it has to be faith and believe is partly because of you, and the way you are. How do you work in your head? When you don’t know something, but it’s something interesting to you, what do you do? You try to find out about it. So how do you go about that, in your head? You look for something you can believe about it. So that is a lot of why God says it has to be faith and believe now. Because of the way you are.
Believing is the substitute for knowing. And if you happen to believe the truth, then everything starts coming true. When you find something you can believe, something else is involved – what is the next thing that you always do, and need to do? You start testing what you now believe; because you don’t want to fool yourself. If you’re interested in something, you want to know the truth about it, and you don’t want to be deceived. You test it - in other words, you give the truth a fair trial.
You need to give Jesus a fair trial – so you can move beyond believing and actually come to know. That is what Peter did, “At first I didn’t know if you were for real. But then I gave you a fair trial and now I know that you really are the truth.” (John 6:69) That’s what has to happen, and it can only happen through you believing.
What is it that you want to know? You want to know that Jesus is for real and that you are really saved. Believing is the very beginning of that, the foundation. That’s where God intervenes and does something for you - He grants you to believe (Php.1:29). And everything good comes from that. We can’t figure it all out. You need to believe the truth and test it, and then you’ll believe it all the more. Give Him a fair trial.