Saturday, December 31, 2005
Belief: Private or Public?
Someone has wisely said, “We may not practice what we preach, but we will practice what we believe”. You are a product of what you believe, your actions demonstrably prove what your mind has been thinking and dwelling upon.
In other words, our personal philosophy dictates how we live our private, and public lives. What are some reasons we keep some things personal, and others we allow to be publicized? There could be many reasons, such as our personal beliefs not being politically correct, or maybe shame of what others will think.
If your personal faith is not ultimately expressed, I would venture to say that faith is weak and impotent. You definitely would not risk your life defending it, or stake your reputation and good name upon it.
There are many varying degrees of faith; for example you may have faith in your friend to drive their car responsibly, but you would place absolutely no faith in the same friend to fly a jet. We exercise faith daily in a variety of ways when we put our lives in the hands of individuals and machines. This is what we would call calculated faith, we have weighed the circumstances and find the risk acceptable to take.
Another type of faith is that of visiting our doctor; how many times have we taken some pill simply because our doctor or Pharmacist told us it was necessary for our continued health? We have no idea what’s in the medication, but we place faith in that person, or organization, and their reputation as being credible.
Well, the faith that matters most is the faith that comes not from ourselves, but rather is a gift from God.
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and this not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9
What do I need saving from? From the wrath and judgment of God. God is loving, but He is also just and therefore must punish all sin. Simply put, sin is the transgression (breaking) of God’s righteous, holy, and eternal laws. This is His objective standard by which all peoples, nations, and societies will be judged.
Let me list a few of God’s commands and see how you do on these:
Have you ever told a lie?
Have you ever stolen anything? (Something not rightfully belonging to you)
Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (This is called Blasphemy)
Have you ever lusted after another person sexually?
Have you dishonoured your parents in any way?
These are but five commands that if we are honest, we must admit we are guilty of. So what does that make us? Nothing less than a lying, thieving, adulterer at heart, who has blasphemously mocked God and His authority.
God is not willing that any should perish, but He will not force His will upon any of us. Rather, scripture says he is as gentle as a dove. That is the difference between religion and the saviour, Jesus Christ. Religion forces us to comply to a set of rigid standards, where Christ is saying come unto me, and I will give you rest. Rest from what? From our self efforts, our attempts to be a “good” person, our attempts to please God or some other person.
How do we get this rest? Simply by confessing (agreeing with what is already true) that we are sinners, that we have violated and broken God’s holy and righteous standards. Then, by faith, simply ask Christ to save you from the penalty of His justice and receive the gift of eternal life offered freely to all who will accept it.
I must confess my inability to better explain the awesome offer of grace. If you are interested in more information on how to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, please check this out.
God’s blessings to all who read these words,