The Key Knowledge for Belief
While Scripture teaches that it is grace that saves us, through faith, in order to place our faith in Christ, some knowledge about Him is necessary. Whereas the disciples, religious elite, and those who witnessed His teachings and miracles experienced His story progressively, we are able to understand who Jesus is on the other side of His resurrection. Through the New Testament, God provides a clear testimony the plan and purpose of His Son. It is through Scripture that we build our faith in Him. Yet, according to Scripture, it seems that there are a few primary elements of knowledge necessary for belief in Jesus.
1. Recognition of a spiritual need.
In Romans 3, Paul argues that everyone is guilty because of our sins. There is nothing we can do on our own to make ourselves right with God. But because God loved the world, He sent His only Son into the world so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life (John 3:16).
2. Understanding of Jesus as God’s answer.
But because God loved the world, He sent His only Son into the world so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life (John 3:16). It was through Jesus’ death on the cross that we have forgiveness before God (Romans 3:25-26)
3. Response to a lifestyle of faith.
However, it is not enough for us to know about what Jesus did for us, we must respond to Him. As the thief on the cross proclaimed his faith, so we must acknowledge who Jesus is to us. We must answer for ourselves, “who is this man?” Yet, this is only the beginning of our faith.
The story of Bartimaeus highlights what is necessary for true faith in Christ and a lifestyle of discipleship. When Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, heard Jesus passing by, he cried out for Jesus, the Son of David, to have mercy on him. Many rebuked him for calling out, but Jesus, recognizing his faith, stops and has him come to him. The blind man threw off his cloak and sprang to action. Christ then asked what he could do for the man. Bartimaeus made his request, and immediately his sight was restored because of his faith. After the miracle, the man did not return to his old way of living. Rather, he followed Jesus on his way to Jerusalem.
This story illustrates each of the elements needed in coming to faith in Christ. For Bartimaeus, his physical need of sight was obvious. However, because he addressed Jesus as the Son of David and begged for mercy, he understood his spiritual need, and that Jesus was the One who could meet that need.
In response, Jesus told his disciples to call him forward. Though Bartimaeus was physically blind, he was spiritually aware that Jesus was God’s answer to his greatest need. Once Jesus met Bartimaeus’ physical need, the restored blind man followed as a disciple in faith. He did not turn back to his life of begging or choose to live a new life of sight without Christ. Instead, he chose to walk with Jesus and continue to learn more of who this Son of David was.
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