I believe God
Pastor Ed Jones
During a tremendous storm at sea, while the Apostle Paul was being taken to Rome, he encouraged the crew, prisoners and Roman soldiers with these words: “For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” (Acts 27:24-25)
What struck me about this passage was the simple affirmation, “I believe God.” He didn’t say, “I believe in God.” Every demon agrees with the existence of God. Most people would affirm a basic belief in a supreme being. But, Paul was saying more. He was placing his total confidence in God and the promise made.
Paul believed God when there was nothing else to believe. He couldn’t believe in the sailors, the ship, the wind, the centurion, human ingenuity or anything else—only God and God alone. This was not a fair-weather faith; he believed God in the midst of the storm, when circumstances were at their worst. Paul would say along with Job: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15). The terrible situation was real, but God was more real to Paul than the gale pummeling the ship.
Paul was not ashamed to state such a belief in God. One of my favorite preachers from the past, Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “I would to God that all Christians were prepared to throw down the gauntlet and to come out straight; for if God be not true let us not pretend to trust Him, and if the gospel be a lie let us be honest enough to confess it.”
Paul used his belief to strengthen the hearts of others. Most of the 276 people aboard the ship were not Christians, yet Paul still cared enough to strengthen their hearts by boldly stating his firm belief in God. If Paul had the attitude of many church-goers today, he would simply have thought it useless to care for those who were lost anyway.
Many to whom I have witnessed my faith have responded with their belief in God, thinking such an admission sufficient to satisfy me or God for that matter. However, the God of the Bible requires that we go beyond simple belief. He requires us to place complete and utter trust in Him and move from vain independence to total dependence.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com for information