Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Faith Worth Experiencing

1Peter 1:3-9

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
This "Faith Worth..." series started with a quiet discussion titled Faith Worth Sharing. One long time reader, Look Up, commented that sharing one's faith with someone else has very little value because the object we should be sharing is Christ Himself, not "our" faith.  His point is well taken, but I must point out that I would never want to duplicate MY faith in anyone else. My faith is in Christ the Lord, and my faith is my experience of THE FAITH. Look Up wasn't wrong, but he did read an argument into my articles that was not there.

This happens with the text of 1Peter 1:7 as well. I might argue in exactly the same way. The wording could be made to sound like a personal faith, but it is actually about "The Faith." If you read only verse 6 it is easy to misinterpret the passage, especially if you have a system of theology that tells people to examine the quality of their faith. However, if you read verse 6 you must find that Peter says "In THIS you greatly rejoice..."

The good student of the Bible must ask "In what?" and find the answer in the preceding verses 1Peter 1:3-5. We rejoice in the promise, protection, provision, and preservation of God. The genuineness of "your faith" is not how well you trust, obey, act on.... these things of God, it is how well God follows through with them. Our faith is genuine, and not in vain, if God is truly the God He says He is. If Christ did in fact die for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, be buried and raise again the third day according to the Scriptures. 1Cor 15:12-19

So how does this all fit in with sharing your, or the, faith? It's as I often tell people. When you step out in faith like Peter did when he stepped out of a boat on to raging water to walk with the Lord he quickly experienced the genuineness of the faith. When his personal faith started to fail, the faith was still valid because the Lord is faithful. 2Tim 2:13 "The faith" works exactly the same way with personal witnessing. You step out and God is with you.

If you have been working on the things that we discussed before, under the article Faith Worth Building then you are no doubt getting a desire to tell others about what you've learned. It's a natural progression. I'm sure everyone can remember that burning desire to tell everyone about Jesus Christ when they were first saved. It's not a requirement for Salvation.. nor is it a positive indicator of one becoming saved (or not) but it is the normal experience of a Believer.

I've learned myself, and seen it demonstrated over and over again that one of the greatest personal faith building experiences is getting out there and sharing Christ with people. On the street... at work... in church.. at home anywhere and everywhere. God will be with you and you'll experience His faithfulness which is the genuineness of the faith!

Folks it's Christmas time. This is the one time of year when people EXPECT you to talk about Jesus. So open your mouth, be loving, be truthful and tell the whole story. The bad news - sin, death, hell, and the Good News 1Cor 15:1-11.

Merry Christmas! 


Liam Moran said...

Hi Kevin,

You said, "My faith is in Christ the Lord, and my faith is my experience of THE FAITH."

I agree that sometimes in a post-modern society that "my faith" can be a bit ambiguous. However, with that said, I think we can be clear when sharing "our faith" or "my faith" with others, that we are referring to the Christian Faith.

Liam Moran said...

Hi Kevin,

I agree that sometimes in our post-modern society using an expression like "my faith" can be a bit ambiguous. However, I think we can be clear from context that when sharing the gospel with non-believers, we can use the phrase "my faith" and clearing be referring to "The Faith" of Evangelical Christianity.

Kevl said...

You're right Liam. Mind you I wouldn't go so far as to say the "Evangelical Christianity" as there is only one Christ and one faith in Him.