Friday, June 11, 2010

On Faith

I have been preaching through Hebrews since September. I'm working thorough Hebrews 11 now. It is taking longer than I anticipated. I am continually amazed at the richness and depth of faith in this chapter, let alone all of Scripture. Faith is like a magic onion - when I peel off several more layers in trying to understand it, the onion looks much bigger after the process.

It is easy to find a simple dictionary definition of faith (like these), but because faith is such a central concept in Scripture, it is so much more than these simplistic (and often inaccurate) definitions. Real Christian faith, Gospel faith, is much greater than we tend to think.

A paradigm shift that I already experienced years ago (when I embraced Reformation theology) is taking me deeper. This understanding is the biblical perspective that faith has a lot more to do with God - the character of God, the grace of God, the work of God - than it does with us. Yes, we must exercise faith, but God is the author, the power and the object of true Christian faith.

Don't settle for simplistic conceptions of faith. Go deeper. Try to figure it out and how it applies to your life. It is a rewarding study.

5 comments:

Jim said...

As with grace, is it possible that both common (general) and special (particular)faith exist? And that life itself is impossible without common faith? That science, social interaction and even sleep are impossible without common faith? Special faith is necessary for eternal life, as well as for transcendent peace, but is it possible that common faith is also both necessary and wonderful at a more basic level.

synyk said...

Both common grace (Rain falls on both sinner and saint) and previenient grace (Believing faith) find their sourse in God. Any other faith; that which we exersise from ourselves, is blind faith, and has no anchor in the trustworthiness of God to effect hope or change. Faith is always bases on some prior evidence that validates trust, such was the case with abraham. Since God had already proved trustworthy, when God asked for Isaac to be sacrificed, what did Abraham conclude? He counted Him faithfull(No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God. Rom. 4:20) who had promised, and believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead.(Heb. 11: 17-19) That is faithbuilt on the foundation of God's trustworthiness. The Scriptures call us to no less faith in all aspects of life. Oh what poor foundations for faith we mortals make.

Anonymous said...

embracing reformation theology?? you have gone to the dark side...you must embrace your anabaptist heritage!!

stauf46 said...

Anonymous - Post tenebras lux: After darkness, light!

I am not onside with all that the Reformers taught, but I am very thankful for a Reformation doctrine of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

The lights came on when I embraced a high view of God's sovereignty.

J&J said...

I want to share with you from Hebrews 11:17-24. As you know this is the “heroes of Faith” chapter, but in these verses there is another group of people. They didn’t gain great victories out on the battlefield. They didn’t enter the arena of life before large audiences and perform great feats for God. These are the “others,” and they are the ones who, if you want heroes, are really God’s heroes.
Notice the contrast here. Back in verses 33 and 34 it speaks of victories which were “won”, it spoke of how they “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword.” How do we explain this? One group by faith escaped the edge of the sword, and another group by faith were slain with the sword.
My friend’s, if you can walk up and give your testimony and tell how God has healed you-and I will join you in that-or if you can get up and say how successful you have been……I want to remind you that there are multitudes of God’s saints today who are suffering. They are paying a tremendous price. Do you know how they are doing it? They are doing it “by faith.” They have lots more faith than I have, and I think they are choicer saints than I am!