Monday, May 12, 2008

---Some Other Questions, Con'd: Faith 

[There was something I had to learn about this subject before I could finish it.]

Romans 3

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3

23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Faith? It is one of the most common and unifying themes in the New Testament.  Hebrews 11 famously uses the word "faith" 27 times as the author chronicles its role in building the foundations on which our Salvation in constructed.  Our Salvation is said repeatedly to depend directly on it. But what is it? Why is it important? Why does it work?  [ Instead of downloading the "Salvation program"---read this-say this-confess that-pray this--- into prospective Christians with a tract or a New Testament markup, why can't we tell people what it means?]

Jesus says:

John 14

12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 

But why are we, as the writer of Hebrews says (Hebrews 11:1-3), "...sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  What is "the Law placed in our minds and written on our hearts" (Jeremiah 31)?  What makes us not only agree with what Jesus said, but want to be like Him---to do the things the way He did and even more?

Jesus says:

Matthew 13

45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The merchant in the story didn't need to "shop around some more".  He knew when he saw the priceless artifact that he had found the treasure of a lifetime, worth more than everything else he owned.  Faith is when we see what Jesus said and did, read about the example He set for us, and hear about the price He paid to bring us safely home to His Father's house, and we want to claim that Treasure more than everything else in the whole world (Philippians 3:8). 

We want to set aside---repent of---all the other things we have tried that have failed us so badly over and over ,  and accept God's Way, which has been proven repeatedly  to be for our benefit (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).   We don't need to "shop around for the wisdom of the world's other great belief systems", because know we have in Jesus the Whole Truth, and through access to the Holy Spirit of The God Who Actually Exists (Ἐγώ εἰμι ), we have the Power which puts it into effect in our lives.

But wait! There's more! 

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

A child sees a famous or heroic older person and wants to act like them, and someday grow up to be like them.  We see how Jesus lived, and what He said, and we---Spiritual children---want to grow up---Spiritually---to be like Him! 

So here's what you have to know to receive Salvation:

John 3

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Hurry up and join the family (John 1:12)!

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