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Just believe

"... what must I do to be saved?" Acts 16.30

So asked Paul and Silas' jailer when confronted by the power of God. He, like many before and after, may well have been surprised by the simplicity of the answer: "Believe!" which is often accompanied by "repent" because believing involves a complete reassessment of our assumptions, attitudes and convictions.

Another misconception often made is that if only God would prove himself, then we would believe. Yet we know from the accounts of Jesus' ministry that is not the case. There were many witnesses to his wise teaching and his miraculous deeds but few believed in Jesus merely on account of what what their eyes and ears told them.

That is because faith is a gift and it is a matter of the heart. Through his own conversion, the French philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, was moved to declare: "the heart has its reasons that reason knows not of". In other words we cannot engineer faith through our own cleverness or experience. It comes directly into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was not the miracle of Paul and Silas' release that caused their jailer to pose his desperate appeal. It was the flash of insight which revealed the source of the miracle.



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