Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Christian Fundamental Too

The author of Hebrews points to a quality of faith that in my opinion actually makes it functional: certainty. Faith is not reducible to a probabalistic scale nor does it arise in those who have nothing to lose. Faith is a conviction tangible enough to base proceeding on though proceeding could cost one his or her life. Paul calls such faith "belief in the heart" in the passage we've been looking at. Salvation requires it in those being saved.

I've said Christianity is based not on doctrine, but on an historical event. You weren't there, neither was I; nonetheless, in order to be saved we must be as certain that the event occured as if we had been there. As much as it would have been cool to be there, we miss no blessing coming along much later and believing despite not seeing. Let it be noted however, believing is not hoping. It's being drop dead certain. If one is not certain that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, he or she cannot be saved, is not a Christian, and is still under the burden of sin.

Jesus doesn't stand at the threshold of his clubhouse and quiz potential members before they're allowed in the door, "Do you ascribe to the Sermon on the Mount?" "Do you accept the trinity?" "Do you acknowledge apocryphal and/or pseudepigraphal writings as canon?" He doesn't even ask if you've been good this year! That is not really the proper conception of what being the gate of the sheepfold is.

Yet, through the ages, that does seem to be the approach the church has taken. Is it any wonder the centrality of the resurrection has gotten lost in the shuffle? No one was ever saved by catechism, by theology, nor even baptism for that matter. Those that are saved, are saved because Jesus rose from the dead and they respond to that fact in an appropriate manner.

There is more to be said...


Onesimus said...

Yes, faith relates to CERTAINTY.

The common understanding of faith would be closer to wishful thinking than to rock solid conviction.

Is it any suprise therefore that people are perpelexed by unanswered prayer and are too quick to make excuses when our prayer isn't answered?

Answered pray relates to FAITH and too often we approach prayer as if we are wishing on a star instead of approaching our heavenly Father with a request we know is in accordance with His will.

Oh yes, that is a foundational aspect of faith towards God, the need to be certain of His will.

Ian said...

"Faith is a conviction tangible enough to base proceeding on though proceeding could cost one his or her life. "

This is a very good point, and I think is the overiding problem facing the people of the book of Hebrews.

"Those that are saved, are saved because Jesus rose from the dead and they respond to that fact in an appropriate manner."

Another great point, the problem is most people really don't even think about the unbelivable miracle that happened in Jerusalem 2000 years. A man walked out of a tomb after being dead for three days!!!! We've taught it with flannel graph in Sunday School, we sing about it, but do we really think about it. If you do, and believe it, how can it not change your life. Lee Strobel is a good read on this.

SLW said...

Amen, great comment!

Even evangelism is wrought with wishful thinking rather than faith; i.e. "try Jesus." Jesus calls us to drop all and follow him. That's not something one tries on like a pair of shoes, but something only the sure can pursue.

SLW said...

It's my proposition, and I think the teaching of scripture, that the resurrection is the central event of all history. With it, there is forgiveness of sin and the sure cure for death. Without it, Jesus was just another guy and we're all still in sin and death. It should be the central focus of our proclamation to the world and our teaching within the body. If Christ and him crucified was Paul's focus, it should be our's as well; particularly, that the crucifixion account doesn't end on Friday, but Sunday.