Friday, November 12, 2010

faith considered part 1

A few friends and I have been studying the book of Hebrews, gradually moving through the great work over the past year.  We finally reached the wonderful "Faith chapter" of chapter 11 over the past month and have enjoyed reading and discussing the "heroes of faith" who are described in that section.  The subject of faith is intriguing.  Of course faith is very much like trust.  Our modern word comes from latin:  fides "trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief," according to the online etymological dictionary.  From this information we see that faith is like a mountain that has a different profile when viewed from different points.  I think we often believe that faith originates within ourselves.  But as I consider faith it seems to describe the outcome, result or impact of forces that come from without and that generate a response within.  Our faith in God truly includes all the aspects mentioned in the dictionary...but did we come to this faith on our own?  How have we come to so absolutely depend on the the point where we trust Him more than anything, or anyone, else?  I think the "process of faith" or the "generation of faith" is fascinating to consider.  Perhaps faith is better described than defined.  Peter addresses his second epistle to "those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (chapter 1:1).  So faith is something that is "obtained" or acquired....and the faith that causes one to be a Christian is obtained somehow by the nature, character and works of Jesus.  So how have we come to "obtain" it?  Was it by our powers of deductive reasoning...our comparative study of all world religions?  Did we give God a try and find that we liked the outcome better than other things we'd tried?  Perhaps we get a clue from verse 3 of 2 Peter 1:  "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness"  It seems that faith is associated with a great gift! "through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue"  And God proactively "called" our attention somehow!

to be continued...
Rob Smith

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