June 15, 2010

Now on a more serious note . . .

(I had to get all of the unrelated stuff out in the last post, so that this one will be mostly business).

I had a fabulous discussion with my small group, as we are going through Romans, about faith.

More specifically, how there is a difference between believing in God and believing God.

I tend to have this hate/love relationship with Tim Keller . . . as it's his study that we're going through. However, this week's study was really good.

We went over Romans 4:1-25 this week. He points out that faith = trust God's promise to save, and that, "saving faith is a 'trust transfer.' It is the removing of one's hopes and trust from other things and the placing of them on God as saviour."

he goes on to say,

"It isn't a general belief in God that saves, but it is believing God when he promises a way of salvation by grace.

Saving faith is not faith in God in general. You can have lots and lots of strong faith that God exists, that he is loving, that he is holy. You can believe that the Bible is God's holy word. You can show great reverence for God. Yet all the while you can be seeking to be your own saviour and justifier by trusting in performance in religion, performance in moral character, performance as a parent, performance in vocation, etc.

To say saving faith is a "trust transfer" is to consciously see where your trust is, and remove one's hopes and trust from those things and to place them on God as saviour in particular (not only on him as God in general)."

He says, that what is means to "believe God" includes . . .

"1. To not go on feelings or appearances. Faith is not opposed to reason, but to feelings and appearances. Faith is going on something despite our weakness, despite our feelings and perceptions.

2. To focus on facts about God . . . faith is not the absence of thinking, but rather is a profound insistence on acting out of measured reflection, instead of just reacting to circumstances.

3. To trust the bare word of God . . . it is taking God at his word even when there is nothing else to go on, when feelings, popular opinion, and common sense seem to contradict his promise."

Yes . . . what a difference it is to believe God . . . to abandon self-trust and self-sufficiency. Not to just co-exist with God (as just believing in Him would permit us to do), but to believe what He says and know that He is walking with us daily. Even when nothing makes sense, even when our circumstances suck. To know that He is the one who promises to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), that He is the one who promises rest to the burdened and weary (Matthew 11:28-30) To believe Him when He tells us that we are His children, that we are saved, justified, adopted into His loving care, brought into covenant with Him forever (Ephesians 2:12-13; Romans 5:1-2, 6-10; Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 3:26-29)

What would it look like to really, truly believe Him?

To trust Him with every aspect of our lives, to trust Him with our future? To believe Him when He says He cares for us and will provide for us (Matthew 6:33, 1 Peter 5:7, Proverbs 3:5-6) And to stop leaning on our own understanding? To live in His reality?

And to remember that He is the God who created the universe, the same God who led Israel out of Egypt, the God of Abraham, the God who raised Christ from the dead. He's the same God who, with an outstretched arm offers us relationship and life . . . and who we have access to daily. Kind of crazy.

1 comment:

  1. these are such good thoughts. it's so true that we can believe in God without believing Him. to really, truly trust Him and commune with Him in our daily lives instead of just acknowledging that He's there...that's the difference between a relationship and an acquaintance. and if we keep God an acquaintance, how can we expect to actually know Him?


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