This past Wednesday was our final meeting for the Spring semester. We completed our look at the Gospel of Mark by examining the topic of faith. We discussed how faith in God is not just an intellectual faith. As the Bible says, “even the demons believe and shudder” (James 2:19). True faith in Jesus Christ means that we not only have knowledge of the way of salvation but that we approve of it and trust in it. The classic illustration of this is the case of Charles Blondin, the famous Niagara Gorge tightrope walker (pictured at left). He was famous for doing this on a regular basis (likely before the widespread adoption of liability waivers!). He did some crazy things like cook breakfast on a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Now, there are several versions of this story, but, the one depicted in the picture has to do with part of Blondin’s act. He had a habit of asking people if they believed that he could carry them across the gaping Niagara gorge (on his back or in a wheelbarrow or whatever). Then when many people would say “sure you can” he would test their faith in his abilities by responding “hop on!” Now, interestingly, depending on the version of the story the only people who would take him up on his offer tended to be people who really knew and believe in him. In the picture at left, it was his manager. In another version of the story it was his mother.
How does this relate to faith? Well, it’s one thing to say that you believe in Jesus Christ, it’s entirely a different thing to entrust your life in Him. Blondin illustrates the difference between a false “fire insurance” Christianity and a Christianity that is based on a real relationship, a real dependancy on God in all things and all areas. Faith in Christ is a gift from God that enables us to know, approve and trust in Him.
Over the past 10 weeks it’s been my joy and pleasure to work with all the students who came out to our bible study. I look forward to more “Exploring Biblical Christianity” together in the fall semester.