“Living by Faith?”
By Erik Retallick
There are many references in the Bible to faith. Did you know that we exercise faith every day, even if we are are not Christian believers? We expect the sun to rise in the East and set in the west, we have faith when sitting down, that the chair will hold our weight and we have faith that when we go to the mall, there will be items for sale. Whether or not we can afford what we want is a separate issue.
In Romans 4, reading from verse 3b, we come across the following words. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to Him as righteousness. Now when a man works, His wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin The Lord will never count against him.” (Romans 4:3b-8).
Later, in Romans 5:1 we read, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I am in the process of learning (albeit slowly!) that there is far more to life than earning and spending money. Many people at my age (59) are retired and receiving a comfortable pension on which they can afford to live. I don’t see retirement as ever being an option, first, because I hate the idea of doing nothing and second, because I would like to carry on in paid self-employment. In addition to that my pension would not be sufficient to live on. That gives an example of what things are like here in the UK following the greatest economic depression we have seen for more than 60 years.
Like the US, we are probably not through the end of it, as God screams into our situation, “When are you going to learn that there is more to life than what you eat, drink, what you wear and what you drive?” (Car, motorbike, bicycle, skateboard!) In Matthew 6: 25-34, Jesus makes a clear distinction between investing in earthly goods, which will never satisfy, or laying up treasure in heaven. Please take time to read this before continuing with reading this article.
If we choose to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, as the disciples did, leaving their fishing businesses, tax offices or other occupations, such as farming and being involved in revolutionary groups trying to overthrow the Romans, we are leaving what most people would regard as security and status in this world. That really is what George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation, would call radical discipleship.
How many of us see that as a viable option in today’s world of consumerism and rising prices? Yet if we are called by Jesus saying “Follow me!” that is something He may be wanting us to do, in order to share His Gospel of Grace with a needy and broken world, where so many are in need of rescue from sin, which is manifested in greed, cheating, addictions, and so many other “dangers, toils and snares.”
I always find it significant that in Israel it was common for individuals to choose which Rabbi (teacher) they wanted to follow. They were not usually called out by a Rabbi, and hand-picked like Jesus chose His disciples. In the same way today, we can choose which idols or great people we want to follow, until we meet Jesus and respond to His call on our lives. During their three or so years with Jesus physically present with them, the disciples were going on a great adventure, being taught by parables, (earthly stories with a heavenly meaning), learning how to teach, heal and often being puzzled by what Jesus was saying and where He was leading them next.
Since I heard God calling me and responding to Him by accepting Him as my Savior and Lord, realising that He died to take away my sins, (over 50 years ago), it has been a long and winding road through life, with times of great joy and deep sorrow, but I know that God is still leading me by His grace and that when my work is done, He will take me to His home in heaven, where there will be no pain, tears sorrow or mourning. No need of lighting either, because God will provide all the light we need, as He does now, here on earth. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119: 105)
Do you have faith in God and have you accepted that the death of Jesus on the cross in your place, as a sacrifice pleasing to God is sufficient to take away your sins, to remove them as far as the East is from the West? If so, then you can live in Grace and freedom, following God’s guidance each day.
If you would like to know more, please write to me and I will pleased to discuss anything with you in further detail.
Photo credit: Art4TheGlryOfGod / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)