A Leap of Faith

By Jim Allen

Several years ago I heard a message about true faith, not the phony kind we hear about today. The pastor said to his congregation:
"Imagine a tightrope stretched between two tall buildings. On the roof of one building is a crowd and before them a famous tightrope walker who asks, 'How many of you believe I can walk across to the other building without falling?' All the hands went up. Then he asks, 'Who among you will be the first to let me carry you across?' Not surprisingly, no one volunteered."
The very thought of the tightrope walker falling while going across alone is horrifying, to be sure, but tolerable in the sense people in the crowd would be unscathed by the experience, lacking personal involvement. But to allow the tightrope walker to carry you or me across to the other side is another matter. The decision would require a good deal of trust, similar in idea to the bridegroom picking up his bride to carry her across the threshold to a new beginning. The lesson from the analogy is clear. The "close embrace of trust" can only come from "getting to know" the person who will carry believers safely from this world to the next.

Getting to Know Christ

So then, is it possible to believe in Jesus and not embrace Christ? While Acts 16:31 says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved," Jesus in Matthew 7-21 says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." What may sound like a contradiction between two verses is a clarification of what it means to believe. Those who sniveled "Lord, Lord" in the gospel openly avowed faith in Christ but were cast out for failing to do the will of the Father. Jesus continues in Matthew by talking about the will of the Father for all believers, which is to know (embrace) the living Christ (John 17:3).
"In the Bible we find the image of Christ standing at the door and knocking. The picture comes from the last book in the Bible where Jesus knocks to enter a lukewarm, lethargic church and have fellowship with those who know not they are wretched (Revelation 3:19-20). Although a wonderful picture of how Christ comes to each of us, His approach is kindhearted, unassertive, and has three vital essentials of faith. First, is the soft knock that comes from hearing the word of God, a stirring of the soul; second is the inquiry, the God imparted desire to learn more about the person knocking at the door; and then last is the decision to open the door and let Christ come in to fellowship." (1)
Delay Means Go Away

Although the King James versions of the Bible never use the word relationship, the versions do use words like "fellowship, abide, and know" to identify the "close embrace" God desires and expects from believers (John 17:21). Several years ago I read about a lady on her death bed who was asked by her pastor if she would like to receive Jesus as her Savior. The lady replied, "I cannot!" The pastor asked why and she said, "For most of my life Jesus was knocking at the door of my heart and I never let Him in...someday I would, so I thought, but that day never came. You see pastor, I delayed answering the knock and now Jesus is no longer at the door" (Genesis 6:3).

The lady died without Christ. She knew about Jesus, believed He was real, perhaps even had a measure of faith in the Nazarene but did not take the time to learn about and embrace the one who could have carried her safely to the other side. Today if you hear a gentle knocking at the doorway of your heart, do not delay. Go to the door, invite Jesus in, and get to know the Bridegroom of the Bible (John 14:6; Matthew 25:1). To delay is the same as to say, "Go away!"

1. Paraphrased from Keep Believing Ministries; Keep Believing

Image Credit: Rob Lantz; "Cliff Jumper"; Creative Commons

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Published 5-2-12