Pastor’s Note: Against All Odds, Faith

Pastor’s Note: Against All Odds, Faith

Let me encourage you, brothers, to make room for tomorrow’s Sexuality and the Gospel session being led by Pastor Casey at the church. The gathering begins at 10:00a. This isn’t exclusively a discussion of pornography, but it is important to face how 21st century sexuality is crippling a generation of believers. (I asked my son if I could say that to describe his generation of seminarians, and without hesitation he said “absolutely.”) I need to be at a Presbytery meeting and won’t be there, but I’m praying for you today and tomorrow.

Recently reading in Genesis 12, I’d never really considered the necessary degree of trust, and the hardship it would have entailed, for Abram to pack his immense household, move to Canaan, then when drought struck, move the entire tribe again to Egypt. How could that have been considered God fulfilling his promise? How could the misery and hardship of a monster double-move and a famine be considered part of becoming “a great nation,” or “being blessed,” or having a “great name,” or being a blessing to others?

Personally I would have taken it as breach of contract, a complete break of faith. God makes a bunch of promises, demands that I walk off into the unknown, then almost immediately has me shipped off to the hostile environs of Egypt where I have to lie so they don’t take away my wife then kill me, the inconvenient husband. Only faith has the power to see past all this misery.

Theologically we teach that faith is the “means” of our justification, but it’s more than that. It is the thing that binds us to God and allows us to be alive to his presence, rather than being shaped by all the other things that life brings to bear on us. It is by faith that we are alive to reality, not this world which with its desires is “passing away” (1 Jn 2:17) and will “wear out like a garment” (Isa 51:6). This is why without faith “it is impossible to please God,” since by faith we know “He exists” and that he “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb 11:6).

Don’t let the irrational-rationalism and scientism of this day confuse you. Faith is knowledge. There is no knowledge without faith. All thinking, of any kind, must begin by assuming certain grounding principles. All philosophers know that these, by definition, cannot be proven. They must be assumed. All God’s creatures, whether they know him or not, live by faith. What a blessing it is to know the actual content of our faith, that “our Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).