Thursday, July 16, 2009
Belief is a Choice; Faith is an Action
Yes, belief is a choice and faith, an action.
Let me explain.
For example, there was a man.
The man was standing on one side of a huge chasm with a massive burning forest at his back. On the other side, there was an open pasture flowing with living springs. He surely smelt the smoke and felt the immense heat behind him. However, on the other side at a distance he could hear the waters flowing and feel the cool breezes from across the chasm. Though he wasn't positive, he could sense it. Then, all of a sudden, he heard a man speaking just on his left side, asking if he noticed the fire, since he was just standing there, not going anywhere. Then, he asked him about the smoke and charcoal stains all over his face and clothes. Startled, the man asked, "Who are you, what are you doing here?" The stranger responded, "My name is Thomas. I saw you standing here and came to check on you." At that point Thomas noticed the contents the man had, a box of matches and, behind him, a small gas can. So, Thomas asked the man, "Did you have a hand in this?" The man responded quickly, "Of course not. I'm a good person." Then, he mentioned the man's matches, as well as his gas can. At first, the man decided to believe that, yes, he is a good person. But then, he remembered what he had done, and he softened his heart and admitted that it indeed was him.
Then, one of the man's friends spoke up from the edge of the forest and said, "Yes. Of course, we all had a hand in this. We started the fire because we love mischief. And we're all gonna be burned and die if we stay here." The man responded, "Well, where can we go?" Then the friend, confirming the man's senses, said, "Well, there's a beautiful pasture afar off. The Man that owns this entire forest owns that pasture." The man muttered to himself, "A field." "How do we get there?", he asked. The friend said, "Well, there is a great chasm between here and there." The man said, "I feared as much, for when I threw a stone in the direction of the cool breeze that I had felt, I did not here the stone hit, and I knew I could not reach its source if I tried." "That is true, but someone told me of a bridge that was built by hand. Built by the hand of the Son of the One who owns the field, actually," said the friend. He continued, "He built it by himself, without any help. He made it from wood and nails, that are now stained with the Son's blood and sweat. They showed me the bridge, and even though I too am blind, I believed them when they told me." He continued, "I felt the bridge myself. I knew it was there. However, I wasn't sure that it would hold the full weight of my body because it was built by hand by just one man, and it spans a great distance."
"What did you do?", the man asked. The friend responded to him, "Well, I told them that I could build my own way across. And they told me not to do that, because that would be a huge insult to the Father and the Son and sacrifice that He made. Then, they told me the Father would never allow me to enter His field on my own bridge, and that I could only enter by the bridge stained with the blood of the Son.' I said, ‘OK but, let me, at least, reinforce the bridge.’ Then, they said, ‘No, if the Father sees anyone adding onto the already complete work that His Son has finished, He will send them back across the bridge into the searing flames, that they had created, to burn in, because, He has seen the bridge that His Son built and He instructed Him in every step of its construction. Yes, He has seen it and, He says that it is perfect and beautiful.’ So, believing them, I grabbed a hold of the side ropes with both hands and believing this Man to be a good man, I lifted one leg to step out onto the bridge. Just then the person speaking with me yelled at me to stop. He said to me, ‘You can’t go to the Son’s feast dressed like that. The father will never let you in like that. This will be a fantastic, beautiful, and prestigious feast.' Of course, I responded, ‘Like what?’ ‘Well, you’re filthy. You’re covered in smoke and charcoal and you still have the evidence of the hand you had in the fire laying across your back.’
I begged, ‘What should I do then?’ ‘The fact of the matter is, when you put your faith and trust fully in the work of the Son to get you over to the Father. Then, you will be given an official invitation to the party, signed with a certain name that only the Father and Son will recognize. And, if you are willing to admit to the Father your guilt in burning His perfect and wonderful forest and ask for His forgiveness, He will forgive you your trespasses and He will give you a new outfit, white and spotless. Then, you will no longer have to be ashamed.’ ‘But He’s the one…', I said, 'He’s the one that made me want to burn down His forest ‘cause He allowed some person to tempt me by leaving these matches and this gas can next to my path.’ Of course, dumbfounded, he said, ‘What?!’ And, I eked, ‘Nothing.’ Then, they continued, ‘So, when you walk across, hold onto the invitation from His Son like your life depends on it because, anyone who doesn’t have the Son’s official invitation on them will be sent back to live with the fire that they started. Then, put on the new spotless suit and be sure to keep It spotless because, if you go back to your filth, there won’t be another suit to wear and you will be rejected at the door."
"So, when I heard the good things that Man and His Son had done for me, I just let go of the ropes and leaped onto the bridge and immediately stopped and thanked the Father and the Son. And, they said to me, 'You can always be sure the bridge is there because you have been on it. You know it is trustworthy because you've been across. Now, on the day when the feast is here, when the flames are licking at your back, you can know for sure that you will be at the feast. You will know because, the Father and Son were so kind that, even though you burnt down His forest, even though you tried to build your own way to the feast and build onto the beautiful work He had already done, He forgave you and saved you.'"
"Then, they continued, 'You see, He told us to show you, the way to His field, where the feast will be held. The feast for His Son and all those that trust in our message and in the work of the Son. So, while you are here, share this good news because, you were forgiven and you should extend this gift to all.'"
Well, after hearing all of his friend's testimony, the man said, "Well, show me this bridge. This all sounds so fanciful to me." The friend replied, "But, you have sensed all of these evidences. Even so, I will show you the bridge." The friend showed the man. The man even touched it. Then, the friend said, "So, there it is, I know that it will hold you, just like it held me. Now, just jump." "No way!", the man retorted. "What, you want to stay and burn?" "Well, you may think that the bridge is all well and good but, you don't even know whats on the other side. You don't even know if the fire is still burning." "Man, I really care about you. You're my friend. Just jump on. I don't want you to stay here and die!" The friend continued, "I've touched the bridge. I know the Son built it. It's good!" The man returned, "Hey, I'll go my own way!" "You'll never make it, man!" "It's my CHOICE!", yelled the man. Then, the friend simply replied, " I know." He continued, "The Owner of the field will not force you to go and neither will I."
This is simply AN analogy of the Gospel. It is not full. It is not a comment on either Calvinism or Armenianism. Like the parables of Jesus it is meant to convey a certain point. That is whether God, in His infinite wisdom makes us believe or simply grants us the ability to believe, it is a choice all people make. That includes atheists, agnostics, post-moderns (yes they believe in stuff), Sheep, and Goats. As well as, the fact that faith is to be acted upon to be true faith.
plz comment on this to tell me if there are any major flaws or just to say if you like it or not. Thanks