From Doubt to Certainty

From Doubt to Certainty

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”  Hebrews 11:1.  Faith is a fancy word we use to describe what it means to believe something we cannot explain.  I can’t explain it to you; if I did, it would take a LONG time, and at the end, the evidence may or may not be convincing.  Faith is confidence in the intangible, untouchable, incomprehensible.  Faith allows us to trust an Eternal Being exists, that He spoke Words and created all that we see, that water could turn into wine, a virgin could give birth, the dead could come alive again.

Because it is faith that allows us to believe these things, there is also room for doubt.  Doubt is not the opposite of faith but is a natural component of faith.  If the evidence created indisputable evidence, it would not be faith.  Think of Thomas touching Jesus after the resurrection.  Thomas did not have faith that Jesus rose from the dead.  Thomas saw and touched Him with his own eyes and hands.  Jesus addressed this reality when He said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29.

Faith is not the elimination of all doubt; faith is the acknowledgement that there is doubt and being convinced anyway.  But faith is not the absence of reason and intellect.  Jesus isn’t asking us to believe without evidence.  Jesus teaches us to look at the evidence and believe truth, not lies.  Believe the Word of God, not the word of man.

This decision to choose to believe and operate in the truth of God rather than the truth of man is another defining moment in our lives.  Sometimes there is one big moment where a switch is flipped.  Sometimes there is a series of little moments that culminate into a bigger moment.  When did this moment happen for you?  When did you realize the teachings of God were true over and above the ideas of the world?  Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, maybe it has, maybe you’ve forgotten your conviction of faith and need to recommit.

Faith is not possible without the help of the Holy Spirit.  Simon Peter, the leader of the twelve disciples, gave his testimony of faith in Jesus as Messiah. Jesus affirmed his faith with these words, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.”  Matthew 16:16.  This week we will talk about the moment faith becomes real in our lives and pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth in each of us, for the first time ever or for the first time today.



This weekend in worship we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. Baptism is intended by God to be a gift to anyone who would receive it by faith. Too often, Baptism has been a source of conflict and division among people of faith. I am certain it causes God much heartache that one of His most “proud” moments (His voice was audible for all to hear when the heavens opened and God bellowed, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”), we turn into a weapon of division.

My hope in this “Corner” is to remind each of us that what God says is true so we can receive God’s gifts and bless one another. It is not my intent to give you more “ammunition” for your spiritual debates with family or friends from other churches.

Is Baptism “real” or “symbolic”? – We believe Baptism is not just an “outward sign of an inward belief,” but that by receiving Baptism in faith, God actually, literally in that moment, removes our sins, fills us with the Holy Spirit and adopts us as His children, just as He spoke those words of identity over Jesus at His Baptism. (Scriptures to study: Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:26-27, Mark 16:16)

Does Baptism “guarantee” Heaven? Yes and no! Baptism guarantees Heaven because God promises to be with you and never leave you. If you turn to God, He will never turn His back on you! Many people reject Baptizing children because of the perception that it gives these people a “blank check” to sin. This is false. God teaches us that the faith given a baby needs to be nurtured and cared for or it could get “stolen away by sin.” (1 John 1:8-10, Matthew 13:22)

Does someone “need” to be Baptized? Baptism is the first gift God wants to give you. If someone says they believe in Jesus as their Savior and rejects Baptism, this is a problem. But it is faith that saves, not Baptism. Someone who has not had the opportunity to be Baptized is not condemned because of this. (Romans 10:17, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 8:26-40)

How many and what type of Baptism is “right”? There is one God, one Lord and one Baptism! His instructions are to Baptize with water and in His name — nothing more, nothing less. Requiring anything more or less than this (age, immersion, special water, etc.) is an opinion of man, not a request from God. Anyone desiring to be Baptized a “second time” should realize the second Baptism is nothing more than a symbolic re-enactment of the first time God saved you through His precious promise. The individual and God’s Kingdom would be better served with the giving of a public testimony of how God is at work in you giving you this great desire. We call this testimony “Confirmation” (more on that later).


Defining Moments

Christmas is sort of a big deal:  the traveling of families, the gathering of presents, the planning of Christmas parties, and celebrations around the world!  Christmas ends one year and sets the tone for the new year.  If you ate a lot at Christmas, you might exercise more in the next year.  If you were distant from God, you might commit to reconnecting.  If family bonds are stretched, you might plan to heal old wounds.

The first Christmas, while a little less global in its celebration, was a big deal, too, and set in motion things that would change the future.  Christmas was the first of many defining moments in the life of Jesus Christ, for the world, and for each of us.

For the next six weeks, we will explore defining moments in Jesus’ life and in our own lives.  We will look at moments we share together, like birthdays, weddings, graduations and major purchases.  We will look at private moments of faith, like baptism, salvation and confirmation.  Knowing God’s story and knowing our story helps us as we listen and participate in the lives of others around us and as we worship our God.

One of the defining truths about our God is the fact He was born of a human, walked among us and experienced life in the very same way we do.  He experienced temptation, suffered ridicule and died.  He knows what life is like, and He taught us how to get the most out of life and claim victory in the face of failure.

I hope to see you all as we explore the story of Jesus’ life, the story of our own life and the defining moments that guides us.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.”  Hebrews 4:15