Monday, October 26, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Faith and Knowledge

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 29 Num.11

Last week we noted that saving faith is much more than a momentary decision or something that we did in the past. In fact we saw that, according to the Bible, saving faith involves both acceptance of truth and personal trust. It is the instrument by which we lay hold of Christ in all His benefits.
We live in a day that is characterized by a preoccupation with our emotional responses to events (rather than the realities themselves), and with our perceptions (rather than the facts). In such a time as this, then, it is important for us to remember that FAITH ENTAILS A TRUE KNOWLEDGE.

We often hear people say “we believe in a person (Jesus), not in propositions.” But though it is true that the object of our faith is a Person (the Lord Jesus), we must know something about Him before we can have a saving relationship with Him. In other words, saving faith involves both trust and beliefs. Saving faith is not “contentless faith” or a faith without knowledge, nor is it “faith in faith” (“if I just believe enough it will come true” -- which is not Christian faith), nor “faith in ourselves” (“you just have to believe in yourself” -- which is pagan).

Our Lord Himself stressed that the truth makes us free (Luke 24:25, 45), so before we can have saving faith in a Person we must know some things about Him. This is why Paul says “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). A key part of faith’s knowledge is the realization of the love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus. That is, we must recognize that, in spite of the fact the we deserve to be condemned, God had manifested His readiness to save repentant sinners by giving His Son on our behalf. Only God’s grace can reveal this to a sinner.

The fact that saving faith involves a true knowledge reminds us of the importance of being good students of the Bible and Christian Doctrine. Saving faith is a faith which is instructed by the Word of God. Saving faith trusts in Christ as He is presented in the Gospel (not Christ according to our opinions). So, if we do not know the Book and its teachings, our faith will be deficient (or even empty).

We will continue our reflections on saving faith next week. In the meantime, let’s commit ourselves to attaining the true Biblical knowledge that fortifies faith.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

No comments: