Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Grounds of Faith (Central Things, Part 3)

"To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them...and they shall look unto the earth and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish, and they shall be driven to darkness." Is. 8:20-22

The foundation of faith is not in hunches but in revelation, in the divine communique between the Creator and His creatures. This is a fact that is often missed. Too often, well-intended religious and secular types paint faith as the outgrowth of sincere, strong emotional leanings, certain of the emotion but vague in its object. Real faith, however, real Christian faith, is quite the opposite: its object is sure, though its emotions may rise and fall with the tide. Faith is not haphazard. The outskirts of the individual life may seem haphazard, but the core of faith is stable because it rest upon a stable thing: the revelations of God. "Thus saith the Lord" is the bedrock of belief, not "I feel strongly about this."

Now, the revelations of God are not merely petrified statements. They are living realities. I do not mean that they change (for God does not change: Num. 23:19; Heb. 1:10-12; James 1:17), but that they are not static, dead things. Rather, they are dynamic, living things. Their substance is constant and active, and thus to come into their presence is to step into the furnace; you cannot walk away unaffected. For example: God's two main forms of revelation are His word and His Son (Heb. 1:1-3), neither of which are dead things (Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:18). In addition, both the word and the Word are sources of "light" (Ps. 119:105; John 1:4-5, 9), which means that they are sources of illumination, clarity, and guidance. To come into their presence is no empty thing. It is literally an en-lighten-ing.

To accept God's word and Word, to hear and believe what they say, what they reveal, what He reveals, is no mere intellectual assent. It is to be filled with the life and light and (consequently) peace of God. Our faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed, but in the everliving words of the Everliving One. Inversely, to be without God's illumined and illuminating words, to have no solid anchor for the flittering inconsistencies of solely emotional faith, is to be "driven to darkness," away from God's living truth and into madness and despair.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment