Faith in the Son

Over the past eight months, we have been gathering in this space to behold faith. We have learned much at the feet of many. The author of the Hebrews epistle defined faith for us as “the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen,”1 and James reminded us that “faith without deeds is dead.”2 Jesus explained that even the smallest amount of faith is enough,3 and yet it grows.4 Peter appraised our faith as “of greater worth than gold,”4 and Paul gives us a glimpse as to why: the righteousness we receive from God arises from our faith in Christ.5 It is only by entrusting ourselves entirely to Jesus that we are declared righteous before God—made guiltless and eternally welcome in His presence. But why faith? What is it about faith that pleases God so much? Perhaps we can scratch the surface . . .

Faith in Christ realigns a wayward people with what is objectively true. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”6

Faith in Christ draws us relationally to the Father who sent Him. “Since we have a great priest [Jesus] over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.”7

Faith in Christ acknowledges our sinful condition without Him—“not having a righteousness of [our] own that comes from the law.”8

Faith in Christ admits we cannot seize righteousness by our own merits as if to obligate God; we can only receive them as gifts of His grace. “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”9

Faith in Christ proclaims the divine character of God. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”10

Faith in Christ recognizes that He is uniquely able to save us. “Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”11

Faith in Christ unites with Him. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”12

Faith in Christ is the giving of ourselves to Him in whom life itself exists. “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”13

Faith in Christ is faith in the Son whom the Father loves. “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”14

Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You also for the gift of faith. By the power of Your Spirit, I believe. Amen.

1 Hebrews 11:1 NASB
2 James 2:26
3 Matthew 17:20
4 Matthew 13:31-32
5 Philippians 3:9
6 John 8:31-32
7 Hebrews 10:21-22
8 Philippians 3:9
9 Romans 3:25
10 1 John 4:19
11 Hebrews 7:25
12 Galatians 2:20
13 1 John 5:11-12
14 John 3:35-36


Step into Hope

One of my favorite leadership/management books is “The 4 Disciplines of Execution.” When in their research the authors asked corporate leaders around the world what they studied more in business school—strategy or execution—the immediate and overwhelming response was, “Strategy!” But when these same executives were asked which of the two they struggled with more, they answered with a resounding, “Execution!” The book, then, does a wonderful job addressing the crucial yet largely neglected topic of executing a plan in pursuit of a vision.

Biblical hope carries visionary overtones: it is not merely a wish, nor does it harbor doubt, rather it is the confident expectation of good, regardless of circumstance. Though based in what we cannot see, hope in Christ is nevertheless “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”1 Alive in Him and by His grace, we eagerly and boldly live this life with spiritual eyes set on “the hope of salvation,”2 “the hope of the resurrection from the dead,”3 “the hope of eternal life,”4 and of the “hope of glory.”5 And we know that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”6

Faith, then, is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.7 It has an action or “execution” connotation to it, for after defining faith, the writer of Hebrews walks us, his readers, through a “Hall of Faith”—men and women who acted on what they could not see yet knew to be true. We read of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses and others, who “saw [the things promised] and welcomed them from a distance.”8 Through faith, they “conquered kingdoms, administered justice . . .  became powerful in battle . . . received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.”9 What did these and others in this Biblical “Who’s Who” of doers share in common? They stepped into their hope through actions of faith. Of these standard-bearers of belief, the writer of letter to the Hebrews said simply, “The world was not worthy of them.”10

Then like so many who have gone before us, may we also be “remembered for [our] work produced by faith, [our] labor prompted by love, and [our] endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.11

Father, You have poured out your love into our hearts through the sure and certain hope we find in Christ Jesus. Inspire us in Your love and strengthen us in this hope, that we would in faith carry out the good works You have planned for us today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

1 Hebrews 6:19 ESV
2 1 Thessalonians 5:8
3 Acts 23:6
4 Titus 3:7
5 Colossians 1:17
6 Romans 5:5 NASB
7 Hebrews 11:1
8 Hebrews 11:13
9 Hebrews 11:33-35
10 Hebrews 11:38
11 1 Thessalonians 1:3


Two or More, Plus One

My niece Meghan and her beau Kyle married a couple of weeks ago. They had asked my brother—her step-father— to officiate, but when Eric tested positive for COVID, they asked me to pinch-hit. I had officiated a marriage ceremony once before, so after several practice-runs alone at home, I thought I was ready. Yet as I sat quietly by myself during the final moments before the wedding, a young woman from the bridal party approached me and asked, “Has anyone prayed with you yet?” “No,” I responded, “I’ve been praying by myself.” “Would you like me to pray with you?” she asked in reply. “Yes, that would be great.” As we prayed, I received a peace and confidence higher than my own. “God’s Spirit is here,” I thought, “All will be well; enjoy this time.” I was ready. And the wedding was beautiful.

In his historical account, Luke noted that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”1 One-on-one conversations with God—such as these between Jesus and His heavenly Father—deepen our relationship with Him who pursues relationship with us. Yet even Jesus solicited the prayer support of others on occasion, such as the time He “took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.”2 In fact, He taught all of His disciples, “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”3

Have you ever noticed that agreeing in earnest prayer with others strengthens both our hope and the faith to go forward in it? It is evidence of our oneness in Christ—the unity that happens as the same Holy Spirit of God indwells each one of us and collectively all of us. When we pray together, we pray as one. Then instead of saying to people, “I will pray for you,” might we do better to stop and actually do it, even if to utter just one sentence of Spirit-led petition and thanksgiving? Jesus will join us there, and He will act. He promises.

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” —Ephesians 6:18

Father, thank You for uniting us in Christ, for putting Your one Holy Spirit in all who believe in Him. Lead us together in love and humility, that we would faithfully pray together as one, each of us supporting all of us. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Luke 5:16
2 Luke 9:28
3 Matthew 18:19-20