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Humble Hero

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    Only God Can Forgive

    Only in this sense does the church have the power to free the sinner from the sin. We can obtain forgiveness of sins only through the merits of Christ. God gives no person or human organization the power to free anyone from guilt. The name of Jesus is the only “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.HH 369.5

    When Jesus first met the disciples in the upper room, Thomas was not with them. He heard the reports of the others that Jesus had risen, but gloom and unbelief filled his heart. If Jesus had really risen, there could be no hope of a literal earthly kingdom. And it wounded his pride to think that his Master would reveal Himself to all except him. He was determined not to believe, and for a whole week he brooded over his misery.HH 370.1

    He repeatedly declared, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” He would not exercise faith that was dependent on the testimony of his fellow disciples. He loved his Lord, but he had allowed jealousy and unbelief to take possession of his heart.HH 370.2

    One evening Thomas decided to meet with the others in the familiar upper room. He had a faint hope that the good news was true. While eating their evening meal, the disciples talked of the evidences Christ had given them in the prophecies. “Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’”HH 370.3

    Turning to Thomas, He said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” The doubting disciple knew that none of his companions could have told the Master about his unbelief. He had no desire for further proof. His heart leaped for joy, and he threw himself at the feet of Jesus, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!”HH 370.4

    Jesus accepted his acknowledgment but gently reproved his unbelief: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” If the world now followed the example of Thomas, no one would believe, for all who receive Christ must do so through the testimony of others. Many who, like Thomas, wait for all cause of doubt to be removed will never have that desire fulfilled. They gradually become confirmed in unbelief. They are sowing seeds of doubt, and they will have a harvest of doubt to reap. Then when faith and confidence are most essential, many will find themselves powerless to hope and believe.HH 370.5

    Jesus’ treatment of Thomas shows how we should treat those who make their doubts prominent. Thomas had been most unreasonable in dictating the conditions of his faith, but Jesus’ generous dealings with him broke down all the barriers. We seldom overcome unbelief by controversy. But if we reveal Jesus, in His love and mercy, as the crucified Savior, many once-unwilling lips will speak Thomas’s acknowledgment, “My Lord and my God!”HH 370.6

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