18th Apil 2013

The Foundation of Faith

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift … for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:7, 12 – 13 (NKJV UK)

Paul links the foundation of repentance with faith (Hebrews 6:1). He says: “let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”

So, inextricably bound up with repentance is faith. It is faith in what Jesus has done for us. It is faith that he has done everything necessary in order for us to go on, as he puts it, “to perfection”.

Paul seeks to make this very clear for us. He writes in summary: “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9). But now read the context of that verse: “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (verses 7-8).

It’s foundational to understand that the Christian lives for God. In every circumstance he or she should ask “What would Christ do in this situation? What would he say here? What would he think given these circumstances?” And then we seek to behave—to be—that way too. And by living that way we learn to be more like Christ. We go on to the perfection that Paul advocates. As human beings we will never be perfect, but our faith is in the perfection of Christ on our behalf.

Repentance and faith go hand in hand. We repent to the degree of our faith. Here’s Paul again: “Therefore, having been justified [made right with God] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace [unmerited pardon] in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). The more we understand what Christ went through for our salvation, the more we appreciate the sacrifices he made for us as individuals, the more we will seek to change and be—become—more like him.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we ask that you will continue to reveal the extent of Christ’s sacrifices for each one of us so that we can, over time, deepen our faith in you, in your promises to us, and our ultimate goal of perfection in you. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen


 

About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
READING
RG30 4EL

Meeting time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone:  01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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