Monday, October 13, 2008

Soul & Inspiration: Faith

An edited version of a talk for BBC Radio Wiltshire's Soul & Inspiration with Heather Skull.

1 Corinthians 13 is probably the most famous chapter of all the writings of the apostle Paul. In it he sets forth the importance of love for authentic Christian living. The chapter ends, “And now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). What I would like to do today is look at faith hope and love in turn.

Did you see the recent news reports on the man who flew across the English Channel using a jet-propelled wing? Such a thing had never been attempted before. The Swiss pilot Yves Rossy must have had a lot faith that his equipment was going to work properly!

Everybody lives by faith in one way and another. Some people have faith in the power of human potential. Others have faith in grand scientific theories. Christians have faith in God. This is not an irrational leap in the dark. God has revealed himself to us in the world that he made. Look up at the sky at night and you will hear the heavens declare the glory of God. Look at the earth with all its wonders and you will see the power, wisdom and goodness of God displayed. It is by faith that we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.

But the Christian does not simply believe that God is Creator. We believe that in Jesus Christ, God became man. He took this drastic step to bring human beings back to God. Our relationship with God has broken down because we have turned our backs upon him. We live how we please rather in the way that he commands. We deserve God’s judgement. But he so loved the world that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to rescue us by dying on the cross for our sake.

Faith is so important because it lays hold of God’s offer of mercy and forgiveness in Jesus. Many people today are striving for acceptance and approval. The fact that we are saved by faith apart from our works reminds us that God’s receives us freely and unconditionally when we believe in Jesus Christ. An important verse in the Bible tells us,

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8).

Now, faith is not simply belief in a doctrinal statement. It is one thing to have read and accepted procedure on evacuating a building in case of fire. It is another thing to entrust your life to a fireman as the flames engulf the building. Faith is personal trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Having faith doesn’t mean that we always understand everything that God is doing in our lives. But we believe that he loves us and wants the best for his children. We know that we can trust him come what may. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me”. (John 14:1). Do you have that faith?

You can listen to this week's edition of Soul & Inspiration here. The talk is 24.16 into the programme.

No comments: