Margin notes: Simple Faith


Luke 5:4–6 (ESV) — 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.

There are some principles in Scripture which need to be revisited over and over. They are like the foundation stones of a skyscraper. If they give way, everything gives way. If they are compromised, instability is the inevitable result. And, as in this text, they can appear quite inconspicuously, unless you really stop to consider them. And they greatly inform key strands in Scripture and the Christian life in such a way that they prevent the Believer from very destructive and debilitating thought patterns.

Of these, developing right thoughts about faith, Biblical faith, is truly one of the utmost importance. I’ve beat this drum before, but rehearse it with me again today.

In vs. 5, the words and actions of Peter in response to Jesus’ “put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” hold the clearest and most succinct exposition of faith. It reasons in the face of everything else “but at your word.”

So note carefully, faith does not groundlessly hope. It does not pluck its expectation from the air. It is not the product of imagination, or a contrived desire. We cannot have faith regarding that which God has not said. No. It roots itself firmly in one place: What God HAS said. And then acts accordingly.

So many, sadly, do almost irreparable harm to their own faith. They do so when they hold God to promises He never made, or to impressions they thought came from Him. Then, when He appears not to have come through, they inwardly undermine their own ability to believe Him in the things He HAS said.

Though stated in another context, Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 4:6 have broad application and especially in this issue: “learn by us not to beyond what is written.” What God has said, what He has inspired by His Spirit to have written down for us in His Word – these are the things (rightly interpreted) in which we can have absolute faith. And when we go beyond that into thoughts, desires, impressions or hopes of our own creation – we open ourselves to faith-destroying disappointments.

Let Peter’s example be your guide – “But at your word.” And you will find a safe haven for your soul. A truly firm foundation for your faith.

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