Sola Fide (Faith Alone)November 2, 2017 Pastor's Pen
Faith in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ
Not too long ago, I was speaking to a professing believer, who with much enthusiasm was telling me about his life’s goals. “You know, sometimes people want to rain on your parade, but to me, all you have to do is believe, and everything will fall into place.” I thought to myself, “Believe in what? In whom?” The statement struck me as vague and nebulous. After all, shouldn’t faith or belief have an object? Isn’t faith only as strong as the object of your faith? Faith is not some “gaseous” substance, disconnected from a real object.
But the mindset of simple “belief” or “trust” in an undefined manner is indicative of so much in our culture. It does not matter “what” you believe as long as you are sincere in your heart about it. Or, we simply convince ourselves that “trusting in my faith” is the way to go, as if there is some “inherent” enabling force in my faith that helps me as a person, or as a Christian in this world.
Yet, the truth is that there are only two real “objects” of anyone’s faith, either God or “myself.” In the statement above, the man’s “belief” is in “his” ability to accomplish those things he has set out to do. Now most people would not put it in those terms, but live like it. Rather than living with a sense of dependence upon God, we live dependent upon our ability to somehow make everything work in the various facets of our lives. Some actually do believe that there is something inherent in each of us that empowers us to do those things we desire, with no reference to God, whatsoever. If you don’t believe me, just get out a bit and have some conversations, especially with some of the younger millennials of today.
But to those who are Christians, the supreme object of the Christian’s faith is God.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body, And refreshment to your bones.”
There is a tendency in each of us to trust in ourselves, either for our spiritual well-being or for our everyday needs. And yet Scripture encourages us away from self-reliance, and toward resting upon God. Scripture points us away from trusting in our hearts (mind, will, emotions, energy), and toward God’s infinite wisdom and guidance.
Moreover, for those who want to be saved from their sins, the Scriptures are clear who they must trust in, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31). One must wholeheartedly trust in the Person and Work of Jesus. And it is not “trusting in my faith,” but trusting in Christ, a Person, and all that He is and has done on the cross, that saves a person. As Christians we must do our best to lovingly “unpack” this for people with whom we share the Gospel. We must remind people that it is not “blind” faith, “faith in self,” or “faith in my faith” that saves, or strengthens our faith (if we are in Christ), but faith in the gracious Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Long gone are the days when we can simply “assume” that people understand biblical realities, like Saving Faith. We must do our best to understand the nature of Saving faith ourselves, that we might bring the truth to bear in a loving manner upon a very “ambiguous” culture.