For what reason are Christians saved?
Is faith an ongoing process?
Sometimes God needs to nudge us into an attitude of faith:
And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. (Exodus 14:31)
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of fear, which can lead to faith and trust. As hinted at earlier, this was the nature of one of my major interactions with the supernatural and it is a constant reminder to me of where I must always put my trust.
Sometimes we must dip our toe into unfamiliar territory. A popular excuse among those who live in unbelief is that they are not naturally spiritual people. Perhaps you should encourage them to gaze at a stunning sunset, or visit an area of outstanding beauty, or hold a newborn baby. All things that can snap us out of the mundane, into somewhere else, perhaps a place they have been avoiding the whole of their lives. After all, doesn’t Paul remind us that these people have “no excuse”?
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
Here is the first of three amazing quotes by Rabbi Abraham Heschel, from his masterpiece, God in Search of Man (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Callousness to the mystery is our greatest obstacle. In the artificial light of pride and self-contentment we shall never see the splendor. Only in His light shall we see light. (P. 153, Kindle edition)
We need to be led by our heart, rather than our mind. Most apologetics appeal to the mind, to make the idea of God seem reasonable. But reason is not going to get us saved. We may have a good head knowledge from reading books on how to swim, but at some point … we just have to take the plunge. Don’t let pride hold you back, or self-contentment. How often do we get frustrated with a loved one, who just doesn’t get it! You want to grab them by the throat (nicely) and say, you really do need to get saved, your whole life depends on this.
The Rabbi adds:
Faith is sensitivity, understanding, engagement, and attachment; not something achieved once and for all, but an attitude one may gain and lose. (P. 154 Kindle)
It is a precious thing, easily lost. You don’t just achieve it like exam success, then collect a certificate and display it proudly on your wall. No, there’s work to be done, continually. Being a Christian and walking with God is a continuous process (otherwise it would be ‘standing still with God’). So it needs to be nurtured and fed, which should come automatically whenever you exercise your faith. Because God likes people to trust Him and will reward them in turn:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Finally, faith is at the centre of all that is important in this world. A last word from the good Rabbi will remind us what we are put on this Earth for:
Our task is to bring God back into the world, into our lives. To worship is to expand the presence of God in the world. To have faith in God is to reveal what is concealed. (P. 156 Kindle)
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp