A June Note from Pastor Rich

How Important is Your Faith?

Russell Moore is president of the “Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission” of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a conversation with an atheist who identified herself as a lesbian progressive activist, Moore was peppered with questions concerning sexual behavior. He was the first person she ever talked with who believed sexual expression should only occur in marriage, and that marriage was to be with one man and one woman. In her experience, both personally and with people she knew, it was odd if they had not engaged in sex within the first three or four weeks of going out together. She then said, “So do you see how strange what you’re saying sounds to us, to those of us out here in normal America?” Dr. Moore was jolted by her assessment of “normal America” and it caused him to pause, but she quickly snapped him out of reflective thought by reiterating her question, “seriously, do you know how strange that sounds?” He smiled and then replied, “Yes, I do. It sounds strange to me too. But what you should know is, we believe even stranger things than that. We actually believe that a previously dead man is going to show up in the sky, on a horse.”

Faith requires us to believe in things that don’t make sense. If we could explain it all, it would not be faith at all. In Acts 17:32, the Apostle Paul is preaching on Mars Hill in the city of Athens, Greece. Verse 32 says, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this.” Is it any wonder that they sneered at Paul and his message when he told them he believed in something that he could not explain. He shared his faith and they sneered. However, that did not stop him from talking about his faith and it shouldn’t stop us either. Our job is to be loving people and to share with others the life-changing truth that we possess.

Faith is important. The Greek word for faith (pistis) means “Trust” or “Firm Persuasion.” The corresponding verb means “To Believe.” To have faith is to relinquish trust in oneself and to put that trust in another. The writers of the Epistles sometimes use the word pistis to refer to what one believes, the content, and also God’s revelation in the Scriptures. So, your faith is important. It is the very thing that brings the change into your life and character through the Lord Jesus Christ, and His death and resurrection. Speaking to people of faith, Paul said in Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” In other words, believers should clothe themselves with Christ like character such as truth, righteousness, and peace. How important is your faith? Listen to what Alexander Whyte says about the result of our faith: “The creation of the world; its continuance and its administration; the coming of Christ, His work, His death, His departure, His return; the final cause and chief end of all that is the moral and spiritual character of mankind . . . All else shall pass away as a tale that is told; one thing alone shall endure forever, and that is the image of likeness of our characters to the character of Christ.”

As Christians, we believe some pretty strange things from the world’s point of view. We believe we will die and come to life again. We believe that we will live for all eternity. We believe, of all things, that another person could die and in the process of our believing that truth, forgive all the nasty things we have ever done or will ever do. In fact, we believe that we can become like that dead man and impact the whole world through that likeness. I could go on, but these are some pretty strange things. However, that belief system is the most important thing we possess on the planet. We must hold on to it and allow it to keep us going.

Charles Spurgeon once said: “I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less than a faith that swims in the deeps of divine revelation; a faith that paddles about the edge of the water, is poor faith at best. It is little better than dry-land faith, and is not good for much.”

Serving Christ Together,
Pastor Rich