F is for Faith
Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures.
The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.
Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.
Faith. That word can conjure up a conversation with anyone regardless their spiritual condition or church affiliation or, lack of it.
Since we are removed by several hundred years from the first century Christians and the time of Jesus Christ, there really is the element of faith or, believing the message about the early church and the life of Christ.
We are all faced with choices everyday of our lives. We must choose the clothes we will wear for the day, choose what to eat, choose our responses to people. Life is full of choices and I choose to believe in what I was taught as a child about the church and why it exists.
For others, they may choose to not believe in Jesus Christ or in God. Of course that is a choice they have a right to exercise. I like to feel that I can have a conversation with anyone about their religion or, lack of it, and walk away knowing that I have generated a conversation to help both of us think.
I have heard this since I was a child: “Faith without works is dead.” This is what Luther is saying in the above passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Faith is a pro-active exercise that helps us do good for others.
It has been said, “The only Bible many people will read is your life.” How true. How do you reflect your Christian life and values in this world? We are human and for many of us, we try to live as we believe we should, but sometimes we fail. That’s part of being a human. Life is not perfect.
The important thing about faith is, when we fail, we have a belief system that allows us to ask for forgiveness and believe that we have received that forgiveness.
Maybe you have been carrying guilt around for a long time. Why do you feel guilty? Have you surveyed those emotions to know whether you really did something wrong or did someone tell you were wrong and it has caused you to have a feeling of guilt?
If there is something to clear up and get rid of the guilt, that is a process that can begin for you right now. Faith says that God loves you and really cares. Give Him an opportunity. Sit down and talk with someone you trust that can help you with this five letter word, “faith.”
The Most Rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-662-5154 or, firstname.lastname@example.org.
F is for Faith
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