February 17, 2021
He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" - then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:3-9).
. . . “You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.” Each word in this indictment of Jesus is revealing, affirming, and damning.
First, God does exist. That was not a problem with the scribes and Pharisees. They firmly believed in the existence of God. But there are many who don’t. They may believe their gods exist, but they don’t believe in the existence of the one true and living God. This is a choice. We choose to believe He exists, or we choose not to. (Hebrews 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. So, they have no faith.
What is faith? Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the steadiness of mind (confidence) which holds one firm in what is affirmed or guaranteed (promised). The word ‘hope’ here does not refer to what is wanted or wished for. It refers to what is guaranteed.
God has revealed Himself to us in many ways. His existence is affirmed in us by God Himself. (Rom 1:19-20) . . . what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Faith is our confidence in the existence of God through His Self-revelation. We choose to believe, or we choose not to believe. Arguing the existence or non-existence of God may be a delightful exercise for theologians and philosophers, but it is moot because human argument cannot create faith in God; it can persuade, but it cannot convict one of the reality of God’s existence. Only faith can do that. That’s why faith is also the evidence of things not seen; it is the proving (a participle of continuous action) or convicting of what is true and real, but lies beyond us. The bottom line is this: the true and living God does exist. Whether or not you choose to believe it is up to you.
“Thank You, Lord for giving me faith to believe that You are the one and only true and living God. Had you not awakened my spirit to this truth, I would be spiritually lost and condemned in my sin. Thank You for Jesus who changed all of that in His death and resurrection, Amen.”