Notes On Mark’s Gospel (78)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Just Believe (Chapter 9 Verse 14-32)

The remedy (v23) is of course Jesus himself, faith in him. To believe that Jesus, and he alone can deliver from the ravages of original sin. Now this has to be said today even in the Church, in the face of all this inter-faith talk, and pluralistic nonsense. The Bible is clear on the issue, Jesus and Jesus alone saves (Matthew 1.21; John 14.6; Acts 4.12). You come to God through him, or you do not come at all. Of course one must surely be convinced that Jesus is willing to rescue. Well the Bible’s testimony is that that is exactly what he came for, to rescue sinners (Luke 4.18-19; 1Timothy 1.15), if that is what he came for, does not that not presuppose a willingness on Jesus’ part to rescue from sin? Of course it does. The problem? Man’s own unwillingness, his stubbornness, outright refusal to acknowledge his sin and rebellion against God, and to come to the Saviour who would willingly give life (Romans 8.7; John 5.40). But the power is there in Jesus, the Creator of the universe (John 1.1-4; Colossians 1.15-20), the miracle worker from Galilee, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, casting out demons (v25). The power to raise the dead (John 11.43), death itself could not hold him either (Romans 1.4), the proof Jesus was who he claimed to be. So the power is there, the willingness is there, the right Person is there, so the one ingredient required to avail oneself of God’s gift and offer of salvation is what? Faith (v23)!

The Lord says that everything is possible to the person who believes (v23), that surely does not mean anything at all? I mean everything that is in accordance with God’s good and gracious will. I do not think that true Biblical, saving faith asks for things that are foolish and wrong anyway, those things are not the produce of faith but the flesh. And faith in any case is humble, it bows the knee before the sovereign will of Jesus, even with regards to issues that perhaps we are not too sure about. The man had faith, his son was delivered (vv24-27), by Jesus’ will and power. But notice the devil never let’s go willingly, he screams and struggles (v26). But he is no match for Jesus, who is Lord of all (Philippians 2.11; Colossians 2.15; Ephesians 1.19-23), over the devil and his confederates as well. The devils are called the princes of the air, not because they govern it according to their will, but only so far as the permission to wander in it, is accorded to them for a time, by our sovereign God.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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