– John Calvin
Seeing the Unseen
When a person trusts in Christ, they are trusting that He exists, and that He lived a perfect, sinless life, therefore His sacrifice is sufficient to take our sins away, but we trust in a Person we’ve never met. That’s okay. I met Jesus in the Bible and I am with the Apostle Paul who said, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (2nd Tim 1:12).
Conviction of the Unseen
You probably know that there are things out there that we can’t see with our eyes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. At the subatomic level, there are quarks and leptons, and they are the essential building blocks of all matter that exists. Even though they are small, we have evidence they exist, because we can see mountains, clouds, and all other matter, however for the Christian, they don’t need a microscope to know that God exists. The creation declares His existence (Psalm 19:1-2) and even unbeliever’s can’t deny that, though they do try suppress this knowledge (Rom 1:18-20). Jesus places a blessing on those who believe and don’t yet see Him, just as He said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29b).
I can tell you dozens and dozens of men and women whose lives have been radically changed, and the only explanation is the Spirit of God. I’ve witnessed prisoners become pastors, violent people become like doves, and there is no other reason than God Himself intervened and gave them a new heart and they became a new creation in Christ (2nd Cor 5:17). That is the hope of all who feel they are too evil to be saved. All of the changed lives I’ve seen and read about are powerful evidence in our unseen God. We can’t see Him, but we can see the work of His hands.
Assurance of Things
When the author of Hebrews wrote, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1), he was writing in the context of many of the patriarchs and heroines of the Old Testament who believed but had not yet received their inheritance. These saints had only a glimpse of the kingdom to come, but like Abraham, he believed God anyway, and God accounted that to him as righteousness (Rom 4:3). Abraham was assured of what God had promised He would bring to pass. I think most Christians would agree with that.
John Calvin is right about hope being the constancy of faith because we know in whom we have believed; we have a conviction in our heart and trust not our eyes; we see powerful evidence of changed lives around us (like ours too!); and we have assurance that God is able to complete what He began in us and to bring us home. Doesn’t that give you hope?