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Friday, September 29, 2006

What is Faith?

Pilate asked, "What is truth?" The question came in a fit of pique. He was frustrated. For those who find their lives blocked by circumstances outside their control, a similar question arises out of sheer desperation, when they are told to 'have faith'.

What is faith? Or, how is it that what I call 'faith' turns out to be pretty ineffectual in sorting my problems out?

We have a definition of faith in Hebrews ch.11 - it is not merely an intellectual assent to a set of spiritual facts. It points to a reality that transcends the evidence of our material universe; a certainty that has its roots in the revealed will of the Creator and Sustainer; the One we have the temerity to call Father.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Faith in Whom?

"Show us the Father..." It was a reasonable enough request. Jesus' followers understood what they were asking for. The Messiah was destined to usher in an age where the presence of the Almighty would be a tangible reality.

His reply shook their concept of divinity to the core. To see Jesus was to see the the Father. If you wanted to know what the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe would be like were He to take on a body of flesh and bones, then you needed to look no further - He was the image of the invisible, the unapproachable made accessible.

Now it all made sense. His claim of Sonship. If humans beget humans, then what does God beget? But with these astounding claims comes a heavy decision. What will you do with this information?

What can you do for such a being? What works can you perform to win their favour? How do you cope with the realisation that among you stands One who has absolute power over your eternal destiny, who knows how much of your outward act is an empty show.

Fortunately for us, there is no great act that we can achieve. If there was something we had to undertake, no matter how small or simple - the nature of sin within us would mean that we would be ultimately doomed to failure. Insted, the work that God requires of us, is to put our trust in the One He has sent - Jesus Christ. And even that process of believing in Him and the power of His sacrifice on our behalf is only possible through a gift of faith through the work of His Spirit.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Faith for What?

"Lord, I do believe. Help me with my unbelief!" The cry was heartfelt. I came from the lips of a father desperate to see his son made whole. It came in response to a statement that sounded preposterous, unless you knew the person who said it well enough to appreciate its profound truth.

You can read the full story in Mark ch.9 - around verse 24.

The words that provoked this outburst were: "All things are possible to him who believes." They were said by Jesus.

He said it to make a point. A very specific, clear one. He had been approached by this family, saying, "If you can do something..."


You come towards the Lord of the Universe, its Creator and Sustainer, who holds all power over all things and suggest that it might be possible that He can possibly improve the boy's situation, but you're not too sure - it may be too big a job?


A perspective of faithlessness makes us arrogant in the face of the Almighty. Fortunately for us, He puts up with our failings and gently brings us rund through His goodness to see things His way.

Jesus healed the boy. But the point was made. He modelled it for us. A life of faith is not bound by man-made barriers. It transcends them to fulfil the purpose it was destined for. The story raises questions. And so it should, because a life of faith does not slavishly assent to mere information. It wrestles with issues that challenge a believer to their very core, so that they can stand at the end and declare God's victory.