Seeing and Not Believing, Not Seeing and Believing

Wisdom's Friend

Seeing and Not Believing, Not Seeing and Believing

Materialists and others with similar views do not believe in God because he cannot be seen. (There are other reasons as well, perhaps, but this is commonly a key belief.) They believe that the physical universe is all there is and that from this physical universe comes all other things. They see the handiwork of God, the universe which he created, but do not credit him with that creation but rather believe that the universe is self-existent–thus crediting the creation with that which should be ascribed only to its Creator.

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen” (Rom. 1:25 NIV).

They see but do not believe (Rom. 1:19-20). Their god is a created thing that they can see. This is idolatry.

On the other hand are those who do believe in God, even though they cannot see him.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8 NIV).

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (Jn. 20:29 NIV).

“Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel” (Is. 45:15 NIV).

Yes, God does hide himself from our eyes right now, but not from those who humble themselves before him and have their spiritual eyes opened.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3 KJV).

Thus there are these two groups of people in the world, those who see the visible, material world and refuse to believe in the God who hides himself in that world; and those who also see the visible world but also the invisible Creator hidden in that visible world–and who acknowledge his greatness and believe in him. But the time is swiftly approaching when there will no longer be these two groups, but all will see God, who will no longer hide himself but make himself visible for all to see. Then those who worshipped the visible, material world–their idol–will be greatly embarrassed and ashamed.

“All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together” (Is. 45:16 NIV).

This blindness applies not only to the refusal to see Jesus in the material world, but, even more importantly, not seeing him in other human beings.

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'” (Mt. 25:44 NIV).

“Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Mt. 25:41 NIV).

Thus they will go off into disgrace together, those who refused to see the Lord in his created world of nature and those who did not see him in human beings.

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me'” (Mt. 24:45 NIV).

But it is a different story for those who did see and did believe. While the others go off into shame and disgrace, they are saved from that condemnation.

“But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting” (Is. 45:17 NIV).

In this climactic moment of all history, it will be seen clearly by all who is the one, true God and who is not, the so-called “gods” who are only idols. The materialists worship the idol of the heavens and the earth, the material world–and that world will then perish, along with those who did not make that world.

“These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens” (Jer. 10:11 NIV).

Then the true God and creator of the world will appear for all to see plainly, no longer hidden, with no excuse for failing to see him. But then it will be too late. The only time left will be for mourning: mourning at the lost opportunity to believe in him who formerly was unseen but now is seen by all; mourning for the great love of God in his Son, which was spurned.

“They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son” (Zech. 12:10 NIV).

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen” (Rev. 1:7 NIV).

So shall it be, indeed. Come, Lord Jesus.

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