Would you “believe if you saw a miracle? The answer is “no,” unless you would have believed God’s Word in the first place.

Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus hangs around the rich man’s house, usually laying by the front gate. The beggar develops sores on his body. The dogs licking his wounds is the closest thing to medicine the man has.

The rich man does not care all that much. Around the time Lazarus dies, the rich man also dies. Jesus tells of Lazarus being comforted by Abraham, while the rich man burns in torment within the flames of hell.

The rich man pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus to him, allowing Lazarus to give him just a drop of water. Abraham refuses.

The rich man begins to think of those he left behind on earth. The rich man continues to plead with Abraham, but not for water. He begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth and warn his five brothers of the flames that await them.

Abraham’s response is found in Luke 16:31, “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Imagine seeing someone risen from the dead, and they explain to you, “Your brother is in hell. You will join him soon if you do not put your faith in Jesus Christ.”

One would think that would be enough to drop anyone to their knees in repentance toward God, but Abraham explains that if they do not believe the Bible, they will not believe the greatest of all miracles.

Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5,000 is well known, but what most people do not realize the dinner party was much larger than 5,000. John 6:10 records that the number of men in the crowd was 5,000. If there were just one woman and child for each man there, the number triples to 15,000.

The next day, after feeding the multitude, the crowd asks Jesus, “What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee” (John 6:22,30)? I reckon feeding 10,000 to 20,000 people with one little boy’s lunch is not enough of a miracle to make someone believe. But as Abraham said, they will not believe even if someone rose from the dead.

True, saving faith comes from the Scripture, not any supernatural event like a miracle. Romans 10:17. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Comparing the two separate passages — we have the faith trail starting with the word of God in Romans. In the gospels, we have Jesus telling us if people will not believe Moses and the prophets, they will not trust in God even if someone rises from the grave — it sounds like faith in God does not come without the Scriptures.

People can see God and acknowledge His existence from nature. Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

We can recognize His magnificence and our insignificance by gazing at the stars. Psalm 8:3-4, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

Acknowledging God exists, knowing who He is — is not faith, not saving faith, at any rate. James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Lucifer and his demons (Matthew 24:41), know that God exists, they know who He is. God prepared hell for Satan and his demons, therefore, it is sure Satan’s faith is not enough to save him. If our faith is nothing more than acknowledging God’s existence, our belief is not saving faith either.

Saving faith will bring a heart of repentance (Luke 13:1-5). The words of David, Psalm 51:16-17, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

If we attempt to obtain salvation by turning from our wicked ways, we will fail. Luke 17:33, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” This is so important it is repeated four times in the gospels alone — Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33.

We do not repent to save ourselves; we repent because we have already obtained salvation through the blood of Christ. That is the difference between saving faith and simply knowing God is there.

Salvation does not come by our works, it comes by our faith (Ephesians 2:9-10), but faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Stop trying to save yourself. Stop waiting for a sign, miracle, or epiphany — believe God’s Word.

Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Indiana. Website: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; email: preacherspoint@gmail.com.

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