And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
The room was packed like sardines. The crowd was spilling out the door. But that didn’t stop them. The determined men found the staircase that led to the roof, dug a hole through the thick clay, and lowered their paralyzed friend right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their faith, Jesus, interestingly, responded by forgiving the man’s sins. This, of course, caused quite a stir among the Jewish teachers who accused Jesus of blasphemy. They asked, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus used the opportunity to drive home a spiritual point. “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”— he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all….” (Mark 2:9-12)
The paralyzed man and his friends demonstrated practical faith. Every believer demonstrates this same kind of faith when we depend on Jesus to provide all we need to do all he has called us to do. But it is important to understand that practical faith follows saving faith. Saving faith is trusting in Jesus as the only One who can forgive our sins and place us into an eternal relationship with the living God. Jesus healed the man’s heart; then he healed his body. First saving faith, then practical faith. That’s the order we have to get right.
- Lord, help me understand the difference between saving and practical faith.
- Please help me teach that critical truth to my children.
Father, thank you for working from the inside out. Thank you for taking care of our greatest need, our eternal need, before dealing with the temporal needs in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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