Monday, April 23, 2007

Where is your faith?

Hopefully no one here minds too much the change of pace from apologetics to something a little more, I guess, pastoral in nature. Anyway, the following is an excerpt from an email correspondence between myself and the mother of a friend of mine.

date: Apr 23, 2007
subject: Re: XXXXX

Hi Mrs. XXXXX,

I should add a couple more things:

1. First, faith cannot be faith in faith or blind faith. Faith must always have an object. Faith must be faith "in" something.

For example, I have faith in you, or I believe in you, that you can accomplish this or that task, because I know you have a reliable character. Or I have faith that [your son] will be a good director of programmers for [an anonymous organization] because I know his abilities. Or if I walk across a frozen lake, I have faith in the frozen lake, or at least the laws of nature (e.g. frozen water is solid), that it will not collapse beneath my feet. Or, as a Christian, I have faith in Christ.

2. Another thing I should add is that sometimes challenges can be good. Challenges, even if they are challenges to our faith, can be good. They can make us re-think what we truly believe. They can make us re-examine the foundations of our faith. What do we truly believe in? Where is our faith placed? When it comes right down to it, what is our faith resting in, trusting in? Is it in Christ alone? Or do we have faith in something else?

In other words, it's sort of like building a house. We might have built a beautiful house or mansion. But what is the foundation our house resting upon? Have we built our house on a solid foundation like bedrock or have we built it on sand? We might have the most beautiful house in the world, something people stop by and gaze at in wonder and awe, and exclaim, "My, what a house!" But if it's built on sand, our house is only as good as the sand upon which it is built. In a time of trial or "challenge," perhaps such as an earthquake or during a violent storm, our house will collapse. It may be beautiful to look at, but it will only be as strong as its foundation.

My point here is that challenges can be good. "Challenges -- like earthquakes or storms in nature, or like my challenging your beliefs in person -- might come your way, but if your faith is built on rock, on the rock of Christ, then it will last. It won't fail. Because God is your rock and he has promised you it won't fail.

However, if your faith is built on something else besides Christ, then sadly your house will indeed collapse. But even if that is the case, let me say this: it is far better to have your faith collapse in this life, and then to have to rebuild your faith in this life, than it is to have your faith collapse when you stand before God himself, when you can do nothing at all except to face God's swift and sure judgment.

So even if your faith is challenged in this life, it may in fact be for your good, because God desires to have mercy on you. I do hope and pray that this is the case for you.

Please do consider these things.



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