The Word on the Week

Faith needs an Object

Faith needs an Object               Word on the Week          13th February 2021.

The object in these parts is the national Rugby team!   Without four of their outstanding players as a result of injury or misdemeanour they go to face the French this weekend.   Supporters require a lot of faith to believe they will win!

The object of their faith is quite clear.   It may be misguided but what are supporters there for if they do not show faith?    There was a slogan which appeared in a Guinness advert which enigmatically said “Believe in Better”.   In this case the product was so well known that the owners could indulge in a nonsense phrase with a positive tone to it!

‘Keep the Faith’ is an expression associated with a religion so well known that those using it can omit the object and be perfectly understood.   Faith in this case is assumed to be the whole body of doctrine.    It often was directed at me during my working life and in an effort to supply the object I would add ‘in Jesus’ to the slogan.   Sadly, I have little evidence that I was understood!

Perhaps the most quoted portion of the Apostle James’s book is in Chapter 2.   It is the ‘dead’ faith which didn’t produce good works and is mentioned in verse 14.   James is looking for something more than mental assent.   He wants to see obedience. He then cites Abraham’s offering of his son on the altar as Abraham carried out God’s instructions to the letter Verses 21 to 23). In doing so he raises the bar to its highest level.   Little wonder God credited righteousness to Abraham – the ‘Man of Faith’.

Of course faith does not come naturally to us.  It’s not the normal way we live Doubt comes naturally.   Unbelief can take us by surprise!   Worry comes with the territory we inhabit.   But faith, apart from our time of infancy, is not where we are at.

Nor is it something we can obtain if we put our mind to it.   Like the determination to ride a two wheeled bike!   Faith in Christ is how we see Jesus.   To be working at its best it should not be added to by ceremony other than prayer.    It is its object – Jesus – who is all important.  We walk by faith (2 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 7).

But to be able to walk we need to receive the gift of faith.   This comes from God and is by his grace not by our merit.   This means that every person who receives this gift is a special work of God.   His Spirit will show you what tasks he has for your short time on earth (Ephesians Chapter 2 verses 8 to 10).

Have faith in God (St Mark Chapter 11 verse 22).