Will You Trust Him?
You are dutifully in worship on the Lord’s Day and the preacher exhorts you to “glorify” God. The congregation dutifully nods their heads in agreement. Their hearts are stirred by the lofty piety of the sentiment. They leave with no clue what the preacher means! In a similar fashion, how many times have you heard the expression: “you just have to have faith”? What does this expression mean? Faith is a rich word with a variety of potential meanings in the scripture. For example in Ephesians 4:4-6, after calling us to maintain the unity of the Spirit, Paul states: “there is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Here “faith” refers to the body of Christian doctrine. There is one set of propositions concerning the work of the LORD Jesus Christ that all believers share and together hold to be true. We speak of placing “our faith” in Christ. By this we mean that we believe the truths presented in the gospels about the work of our LORD Jesus Christ AND we trust our lives and eternal destinies to the sufficiency of His work on the cross.
There is, however, another aspect to faith to explore, an area sadly missing in much of the modern American church. James Boice, in his commentary on Psalm 119, writes: “faith is believing and acting on the promises of God”. One aspect of “faith” can be understood by thinking about faith as though God were saying to you: “Will you just trust me?” “Will you trust that what I say is true and lean on Me, wait on Me, and expect from Me?” This principle is tragically violated in the fall. In Genesis 2:16-17 the text states:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Here God commands Adam to enjoy the garden. He also holds one item from Adam: the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. No reason is given to Adam. Just “trust me”. “Will you rest on my authority, trusting that I know best?” God was calling Adam to “have faith”. In chapter three, the serpent comes to Eve (and Adam who is with her) and challenges this principle. "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (Gen 3:1) and then directly contradicts the word of God: "You will not surely die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen 3:4b-5) In other words, says the serpent: “You can’t trust God! You can’t actually live the way He tells you that you must.” The tragedy of the fall follows in chapter three and all of mankind since that time have walked as a “law to themselves”, trusting their definition of what is good and evil, no longer walking by faith, trusting God’s declarations regarding their behavior.
The first Adam failed, the second Adam, the LORD Jesus Christ, succeeded. When Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, he withstands the devil’s temptations by responding with the word of God. Specifically in Matthew 4:4 we read:
But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
The principle of faith is at work. Satan wants Jesus to do something contrary to God’s written revelation. Jesus simply trusts God’s revelation. Do you see the affirmative response of Jesus to God the father saying to Him: “Will you just trust me?” “Will you trust that what I say is true?” At the moment of supreme crisis, Jesus again exemplifies this principle:
"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42)
Do you hear the question: “Will you just trust me?” “Will you trust that what I say is true?”
So, dear reader, if you understand the expression “having faith” as meaning to have a substance that you possess, then you have a wrong understanding. Or, for many in our day and age, “having faith” has become a blind hope that things will “get better”. These understandings are not helpful or Biblical. You must “have faith” in the sense that you lean on Him in a whole souled way determined to live out His Word, trusting that God really knows best and that His ways will actually result in blessing.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)
Will you walk “having faith”? That is say, will you trust that God really knows best? You dare not trust your own reason or the reasoning of others.
Martin B. Blocki has served since 2003 as the Associate Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North Hills in Pittsburgh, PA since 2002. He is a counselor at the Biblical Counseling Institute in Pittsburgh. Rev. Blocki graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington (BME), Arizona State University (MM), and the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (MDiv). Martin and his wife, Kathy, have two married sons, one daughter, and 2 grand children.