In last Friday’s reflection, we began considering the question “What is faith?” We saw that, contrary to the common notion of faith as something contrary to reason, Christian faith is reasonable, even though it goes beyond reason. It is based on God’s revelation and involves a reasonable, rational response to who God is and what God has done.
Yet, sometimes Christians limit faith to a matter of belief. If I were to ask you, “Do you have faith in God?” you would assume that I am asking you “Do you believe that God exists?” Faith in God is thinking rightly about God. It is considering the evidence for God‘s existence and coming to the correct conclusion.
Now, to be sure, biblical faith includes believing certain truths about God. Paul refers to the letter recipients’ “faith in the Lord Jesus.” They believed that Jesus was in fact Lord, that he was somehow God in human flesh. They also believed the truths Paul summarized in the earlier portion of Ephesians 1, focusing on what God had done and was doing through Jesus the Lord, redeeming us and bringing all things to unity.
While biblical faith always has theological content, it is not simply giving assent to what is true. Rather, biblical faith is going a step further. It is, for example, not simply believing that Jesus is Savior and Lord. Rather, it is also putting your trust in Jesus to be your Savior and your Lord. When you read the word “faith” in the New Testament, you should think of it in terms of trust that includes belief but goes beyond belief.
For example, several years ago my friend Eric took me rock climbing. He was an experienced rock climber and instructor. It was my very first time out. Eric set up an elaborate rope system which was supposed to guarantee my safety. Now, I knew that Eric was experienced and wise. I had faith, so to speak, in his ability to devise an excellent belaying system using strong ropes. Yet, I did not have faith in Eric in the biblical sense until I actually starting climbing up the rock face, putting my life in Eric’s hands. On the basis of what I believed about him and his equipment, I had faith in him. I trusted him. And I lived to tell the story.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: I used the example of rock climbing with Eric as an illustration of biblical faith. When have you moved from believing certain facts about someone to trusting that person in a potentially costly way? What helps you to go beyond merely believing the right things about God to putting your faith/trust in God?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, it’s one thing to believe the right truths about you, and another thing actually to entrust myself to you in light of those truths. Thank you for making yourself known to me so that I might believe in you. Thank you for being so utterly trustworthy that I might put my trust in you.
Help me, gracious God, to trust you more. When I am tempted to take back my life and run it myself, may I let go and allow you to be truly my Lord and Savior. By your grace, may I live each day relying on you, confident in you, seeking you, trusting you. Amen.