Friday, May 03, 2013

Faith in Jesus

It takes faith to be faithful. That is almost a truism. How can it be argued with? But I would argue further. It takes faith in Christ to be a faithful Christian. Another truism. But we press further. It takes faith in Jesus Christ in order to a man who faithfully applies that which is true and beautiful and good. We do not want a generic faith or a generic goodness or faithfulness. We need to understand what Christ has done and to Whom our allegiance is owed in order to know how to live and whom to be faithful to.
         Contrast this with what counts as faithfulness in our country today. It is fine to have faith in anything, as long as you are a person of faith. Nationally, we have dropped the idea of having faith in the God of the Bible. Apparently, being faithful only requires that you operate based on faith. But faith in the wrong thing, in the wrong god, makes you faithful to the wrong ideals. George Bush II used this term constantly, calling people to faith. But he rarely said what our faith was to be in. We do not just possess faith. We have faith in some thing or some person. We do not have faith in faith and we ought not to have ultimate faith in anything or anyone other than the one true God of the Bible.
         Were the 9/11 hijackers faithful? Of course they were. Were the Boston bombers faithful? Yes, they were, wickedly so. In fact, they were more faithful, in the sense of purely following out their ideals, than most religious people. As far as believing their god and their holy book, they exhibited almost perfect faith, even faith unto death.
         However, faith that produces right actions, faithfulness in the things that are true, requires that you have faith in the One who is true. There is no other way to get the right kind of faithfulness.
         Now, it is true that Christians can do things, even in the name of religion, that are wrong. They can misapply the Bible and thus be found to be unfaithful to God. But when Muslims kill infidels, they are acting in accord with what they believe to be true and they can easily justify their actions from the Koran’s commands to kill those who resist the will of Allah.
         Contrast this to the Christian teaching of growing in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We, too, call for martyrs. But our martyrs are not murderers. We do not call for Holy War where we kill with bombs and guns. Our call is to a life of selflessness, suffering and giving up of oneself in order to save others. When the Christian expresses a mature faith in Jesus Christ, his faithfulness reveals a growing empathy towards those who are outside of Christ, even loving one’s enemies.
         So, it is not that we simply need to have faith. Or, even that we need to have faith in some generic god, the current god of Americanism. That kind of faith is idolatry and an idolatrous faith necessarily leads to wicked results. It is not just Islam where faith is wrongly aimed at a false god. The current American creed towards faith, whose god is America, herself, justifies all sorts of evil, abortion on demand, homosexual behavior, greed in high places, crony capitalism protected by corrupt law-makers. There are enough adherents of the heresy of Americanism to condemn both the left and the right, republicans and democrats. Both sides profess faith, many of them in some god, nearly all of them in the ideal of America but few are willing to profess faith in the absolute Lord and Ruler, Jesus Christ. Even if they name the name of Jesus, they are unwilling to bet their political future on the fact that Jesus rules all nations, even America, that Jesus alone, is the Lord over all men in every nation, even the Muslim ones, and that all men must bow their knees to Jesus who is the Christ.
         So, before we understand what it means to be faithful, we have to know the God in Whom we trust. His name is Yahweh. He has a Son, who is Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit dwells here on Earth in the Christian Church, which is the gathered people of the One true Holy God. He has revealed Himself, especially, in one book, the Bible.
         Only when we acknowledge these truths, professing faith in this true God’s means of salvation to men, the Lord Jesus Christ, can we then learn how to live out our lives according to His will, that is, be truly faithful.

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