True Faith Perseveres

So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” (John 4:48–49)

In responding to the official, Jesus also addresses the larger crowd, challenging their preoccupation with the sensational. Even the official himself, if he was really from Herod’s court, may have been influenced by Herod’s sensational approach to things (Luke 23:8). So Jesus turns to the people and essentially says, “Is that all you’re interested in—that I would come around and do miraculous signs and wonders?”

True Christian faith begins with the humility of heart to come as the royal official did and to ask Christ to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

In this challenge was a test. If the official had given up despairingly on the spot or turned away petulantly, unwilling to accept the implied rebuke, Jesus would have known that he was a mere trifler like the rest of the crowd. Jesus is not an unwilling Savior, but He is not willing to be treated as a sideshow. We must be in earnest before the help of Christ can come to us—and an earnest faith is a persistent, persevering faith. It is faith that hangs on to Christ in the way a man fallen overboard clings to the lifeline offered him. And the official reveals such a faith with his desperate words: “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

We ought to be skeptical of any approach to Christianity and proclamation of the Gospel that does not first confront men and women with the necessity of seeing their sin and their need of Christ. That confrontation is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, who may come to a heart in a moment and say, “You’re drowning in the sea of your rebellion and indifference.” It is one thing to fill out a card at church and say, “I believe in Jesus Christ”—but words confessed from a heart that doesn’t believe flow from an empty faith (James 2:19). We will have true faith in Christ when we realize that there is nowhere else to turn and so persevere in crying for His mercy. True faith is “Help me!” faith.

This article was adapted from the sermon “An Illustration of Faith” by Alistair Begg.

Copyright © 2023 , Truth For Life. All rights reserved.

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