There’s a whole lot said these days about Faith, Grace, and Works. Christians come at those aspects of Christianity from different perspectives. In reality, they are all three connected to each other, tied by a very short rope, much too big a subject to discuss in one blog post. But the “Faith of Jesus” mentioned in scripture brought me encouragement today.
Jesus had faith. He actually lived every day in faith.
I’m not sure I’ve given it even one thought before today. I have, however, noticed before now that some scriptures refer to “faith of Christ” while others refer to “faith in Christ”. But I didn’t think it was something to ponder, to consider in order to understand. Today, I did.
I googled the phrase. It turns out that theologians have had a lot to say about it. Not surprisingly, they disagree. “Is this opinion Barthian?” “Is this one Calvinism?” “Are they the same?” “Does this one support Universalism?” “When we believe in Jesus, are we using our own faith or his?” “Does the faith of Christ being part of our salvation mean that we have no responsibility?”
I will leave all of that to the instruction of your favourite theologian. I’m just a student of the Bible, like you, perhaps. But here’s why the thought of Jesus’ faith encouraged me today:
On the day of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, God said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Because the Bible tells us it is impossible to please God without faith, and because Jesus lived here on earth as a human, growing, as he did, in stature and wisdom and favour with God and man, it seems probable to me that his faith came from what he found in scripture, just as ours has to come. Even as a child he understood the ancient writings and discussed them with the elders.
He recognized himself in the scriptures, and believed what the God-inspired writers had recorded about the Messiah that was to come, that is, about himself and his purpose. And he acted on it, in faithful obedience, even to the death of the cross.
If Jesus hadn’t acted on his faith, our hope of salvation would have no basis in reality.
But he did, and the salvation he bought by his obedience becomes our reality as we have faith in him, in his work on our behalf; therefore, in fact, the faith of Jesus brought him to the cross where he won our redemption!
But here’s what encouraged me today: The very fact that Jesus lived and walked on this earth by faith—saying only what he heard his Father say, doing only what he saw his Father do–tells me that the most natural thing for us to do is live our lives in the same way.
It’s simple. Find out what the God-inspired writers of the scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, have said about what is the most important information available to us today.
If we deem it to be true, then faith comes. And when faith comes, acting on it is the most natural thing in the world.
I said natural, not easy. There is much to sway us from following through, but in spite of that, to not act on it feels somehow un-natural.
Life is wonderful and challenging in a marvellous way, but it is also often terrifying and cruel in a way it was never meant to be. (You no doubt know what I’m talking about.) But while a life of faith is still a challenge and still sometimes terrifying, faith connects you to a faithful, powerful, and loving God. And He connects you to strength and joy that prevails.
And it’s quite a ride.