Sunday, December 27, 2015

Of Faith

1 John 5:12-13 “He who has the Son [by accepting Him as Lord and Savior] has the life [that is eternal]; he who does not have the Son of God [by personal faith] does not have the life. This Is Written That You May Know  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [which represents all that Jesus Christ is and does], so that you will know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have eternal life.”

One of my co-workers came up to me the other week and said: “You are a ‘man of faith’, aren’t you?” and proceeded to talk to me about a spiritual situation going on in his life. It seemed odd to hear myself addressed with such a title, but remembered that the ladies at our church attend the “Women of Faith” annual conference in our town also. Nowadays, we hear the term “people of faith” commonly used in politics. I read an article how U.S. Presidential candidates see 'people of faith' as a group within the nation that supports them. But, in using any of these terms, a couple assumptions are being made. First, it implies that there is another group that you could call “people of no faith”, because if you have one, than naturally you have the other, otherwise the qualifier “of faith” is not necessary. Yet, to make a distinction between People of faith and people of no faith is truly pointless as there is no such thing as a person of no faith. Technically, all human beings place their ultimate trust – their faith – in something, whether a deity, an earthly leader, or even their own abilities.

Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God.” 

The writer states that as concerning as it is to imply that some people have no faith and the eternal consequences, there is a troubling second assumption which the phrase implies. The people to which the phrase refers have faith, but it does not say what kind of faith they have? It is generic. The phrase designates “religious” people, but does not tell us what the religion of these people happens to be. That is intentional, as a goal to get a significant number of devout people to set aside their faith and unite for a common cause. Religious distinctions are papered over because they are seen as less important than what really binds people of faith together – the mere fact that that believe.

Certainly, it is not wrong to work side-by-side with someone who is not a Christian. We do it daily in society. But, there is a way to do this without making the content of faith generic and indifferent. We must not make the content of faith indifferent, for that insults people whose beliefs about God are fundamentally incompatible with ours.

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.                                

More importantly, tells us that content matters. All people have faith in something, but we are not saved simply by having faith. We are saved only if we have the correct object of our faith. If we are not “people of faith” in Jesus, we will be lost for all eternity. Choosing the object of faith cannot be reduced to generic groups or personal preferences. It is a matter of “saving truth”. The wrong object of faith will save no one.

John 3:36 He who believes and trusts in the Son and accepts Him [as Savior] has eternal life [that is, already possesses it]; but he who does not believe the Son and chooses to reject Him, [disobeying Him and denying Him as Savior] will not see [eternal] life, but [instead] the wrath of God hangs over him continually.”

 Of faith in Christ, Brian

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