My favorite television show right now is Lost. Call me what you will, I enjoy the show. I may have hopped on a bandwagon, but I have enjoyed the company and the ride so far. I have been mulling over something that was presented earlier in the show – “Man of Faith, Man of Science”.
John Locke claims that he is a man of faith while the doctor, Jack, is a man of science. What this means, in essence, is that Jack must see things in order to believe (or at least have some kind of logical explanation for what is happening). On the other hand, Locke is able to believe regardless as to whether it makes any rational sense at all.
This is the plight of many who wish to define “faith” in our world today. “Faith” is seen as a blind jump into the unknown, and this is to be understood as virtuous? The Bible described “faith” as something very different. Listening to John MacArthur a few years ago rocked my foundation a little. Preaching from Hebrews 11.1 he said that Christian faith and hope is not what the world understands it to be.
We say all the time, “I hope I get this promotion” or “I hope the Cleveland Indians win the World Series”, but it is not based on any kind of solid evidence. Some might call this “faith“, but even the world would call this foolishness when all the evidence is taken into account. We know that the Indians are far from winning a pennant, let alone a World Series (though hopefully not too far away). If you found out that I was late for work everyday and cursed the boss to his face, you would not say that I had great faith…you would probably call me foolish. Why? All the grounds for which I could have any hope were non-existent. So it is with nebulous and ungrounded faith.
Many talk about faith, but they do not have it rightly defined. Hebrews 11.1: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. The chapter then enumerates a slew of people who had great faith. Their faith was not based on some empty religion, but it was based on the fact that they were convinced because of God’s word, verse 39: And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. This is to say, saving faith is not based on something unknown or unrevealed. It is based on God’s promises. We can rest on solid-rock assurance knowing that he who promised is faithful to complete that which he pleases (Psa 135.6). We get the joy of knowing that he will bring his purposes about and he gets the glory for being the strong man on behalf of the incapable.
Now I like Locke’s character, this wasn’t a rant against the show per se. I hope Locke will be vindicated in his faith. I know he has seen something on the island (otherwise, why does it seem that he has such worry-free actions?). However, it is an admonition that we be more precise in our language…and more trusting in our faith. Our hope is not a what-if, but it is just as sure as my last breath.