47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” – John 5:47 NLT
It wasn’t necessary for Jesus to accuse us or condemn us. Our unbelief has already condemned us. Just as the religious leaders were condemned by their unbelief of the Old Testament Scriptures, we are condemned by our unbelief. We have even more reason to believe the truth about Jesus than the people that Jesus was speaking to then. If we believe in Him, there is no condemnation or judgment for us.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.–John 3:18,19 (NLT)
33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.—Romans 8:33, 34 (NLT)
Will the world accuse us and condemn us? Will we be offended? Of course, but we must remember that the words they speak have no authority in the courts of heaven. If we believe, there is no condemnation for us. This is the Good News that we need to spread to a world full of people searching for something to give them hope in a world filled with violence and discord. There is someone who can give them the peace for which they are so desperately searching.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. — Mark 11:23, 24 NLT
These are two well-known and often quoted verses from the Bible. Of course, we know the basic principle of God answering prayer is true. But, can we just randomly pick a mountain, ask God to cast it into the sea and watch it immediately happen? Of course not. We might not like the mountain where it is but there might be a million other people who love it and perhaps even God Himself might like the mountain where it is. If God has told us to pray that prayer about a specific problem, then that mountain will be moved. But the important thing for us to notice and remember with these two verses is the fact that they are the meat between two slices of bread.
We can’t just have the meat, we have to eat the whole sandwich. Look at the principle in verse 22:
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.”
There is a requirement that God has laid out for us before we ask Him to move the mountain. And then verse 24 gives us another requirement that we must fulfill before we ask God for anything:
25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
And there are some veggies that need to be eaten as well, Have we determined that what we are asking for aligns with all the Scriptures, not just our favorite ones? If we have met the requirements for God to answer our prayer — believing (being completely convinced that it will happen), forgiveness and alignment with His will, then the mountain will move.
13 “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. — Exodus 15:13 NLT
God led the Israelis through the Red Sea and across the desert with the physical presence of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was possible for them to travel twenty-four hours a day without getting lost. It must have been very reassuring to see the presence of the cloud and the fire and know that they were traveling in the exact direction God wanted to travel at all times. God did not lead them in a straight path from Egypt to Canaan. There were detours that avoided certain areas and dangers. There were delays and a lot of murmuring and complaining. We have a guide that is with us twenty-four hours a day as well. He lives inside us. But for us to know and understand His directions, we have to spend time talking with Him and meditating on His Word. There will be detours in our lives as well. Some of those detours are caused by God and are designed to teach us and to keep us safe from harm. But just as the Israelis spent way too long in the desert because of their disobedience, some of our detours are caused by our mistakes and bad decisions. Most of us will probably spend more time complaining than we do studying the Word. Nevertheless, God is faithful and forgiving and just as He eventually got the Israelis to the Promised Land, He will guide us safely to His eternal, sacred home. He has never failed and He never will. Trust Him with all your heart, mind, soul and body.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. — Hebrews 12:1, 2a NLT