The Trial of Faith

The Trial of Faith

„For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:21-24)

Jesus draws our attention to the fact that the days will be shortened for the elect. For if it were not shortened, no human could be saved. But how does Jesus mean that no one could be saved? Physically? No, but spiritually! We haven't talked about this specifically yet, but it's important to talk about it, because our salvation may depend on it.

We can read a lot in the Bible about what it is like for a believer to be tempted by the Devil, or that God tests the believer, we have already talked about the purpose of this. However, it is also very important to talk about when believers have to keep their faith in God for a long time while everything "falls to pieces" around them.

I don't mean anything specific by this, believers really test their faith in different ways. Now I am talking about the length of time, which really tests the faith of believers.

„When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6:1-6)

We cannot find an explanation in the Bible as to why God reduced the maximum life span of people to 120 years, but we can clearly judge that it is a big reduction compared to nearly 1000 years! I believe that it is 120 years, because that is how long Noah and Methuselah preached to people to repent of their evil deeds. But you can read about this in the book of Jasher, not in Genesis.

So the drastic reduction in terms of the time of human life allows us to conclude that God is saying that this much time is enough for someone to truly convert to God. But there's more here. As I have already talked about the difficulties of long time, I would like to mention again that it is a help for the true believer if the time is shortened. But why is this a help for believers? Because in prolonged misery we can lose hope. And if there is no hope, then what should we believe in?

„You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."” (Luke 22:28-32)

Here we can see that it is indeed a serious danger for someone to run out of faith. But what can cause one's faith to wane? Some people lose their faith even if they don't get what they dream of from God. In such a case, we cannot speak of true faith. To answer this question, we must first understand what true faith is based on.

True faith rests on the knowledge of God, and within that on the promises of God. So if we know God, that for example He is a holy, just and loving God, then we also believe in His promises.

But here comes the test of the long tribulation: will he really fulfill his promises to us? Many years have passed and things are still not happening as He promised. Here we can think of the thought that God is really just? Is God partial? Or if these questions do not arise, then: does He consider me His child at all?

„Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-- of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:36-40)

Even if the promises are not fulfilled on us, we still have the firm conviction that we have a holy, just and loving God. We must stand by our convictions all the time, regardless of the circumstances.

Let's go back to the time in which Noah lived. Today, even 120 years is unattainable for humans, but there are still many people who are corrupt in their actions. Let's imagine that in Noah's time, when people's lives were 10x longer, how much evil people could bring their evil to perfection!

True believers do not enjoy living on this earth because their values are different. Of course, regardless of this, we can be happy on this earth as well, but happiness should not be found in earthly values, but in the kingdom of God, which can also be present on this earth.

„For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (Philippians 1:21-24)

This is the right Christian life, living for God, living for others. Jesus set a perfect example with His life of how we should live. To obey God, to shine among people. This is how we can enter the kingdom of God even on this earth.

„Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."” (Luke 17:20-21)

It's very consistent. Because if Jesus and the Father live in us, then they rule in us. This is how it becomes true that the kingdom of God is midst of us, or according to another translation, it is within us. Although I would like to note that many believers try to make God their servant (by making constant demands of Him, but not following God's will), but obviously this will not work. Another verse that confirms that we can enter the kingdom of God already in this earthly life:

„Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Antal Farkas
(June 8, 2024)

Tagged: trial, faith, salvation, gospel, tribulation

More forecasts: