Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Miracle of Faith

I was thinking the other day of what a miracle it is that anyone would have faith in Christ. What caused me to think this is the context I currently find myself in at my Spanish language school and clinic here in Guatemala. Except for me, a classmate from Loma Linda and one other student here, it is a very worldly place with many anti-Christian ideologies and worldly lifestyles. When I first got here the atmosphere actually seemed very spiritually oppressive but as always the Lord has provided and He has begun to show me how to be a Christian in this place.

It was a combination of two things which caused me to think about this miracle of faith. First it was just seeing how natural it is to be very worldly and how easy it is to be very confidant in ones worldliness. Not only is there confidence in worldliness but there is an assurance about the absurdity of faith. When I thought of how enticing this world can be and how hard faith can be I was amazed by the fact that anyone has faith in Christ. I was reminded of the fact that apart from God's grace every person truly is a God-hating rebel. Apart from God's grace we are absolutely dead spiritually and can do nothing in procuring our own salvation. Our salvation is a work of God from beginning to end. He makes us alive out of our deadness, He awakens faith in Christ and love for Him and He makes us new creations, and all in spite of the fact that everything we have ever done deserves the very opposite of such blessedness.

The fact that faith is such a miracle also made me realize how much we should be rejoicing over our brothers and sisters who know Christ. That anyone would know Him and love Him is truly a miracle when you consider how enticing this world is and what is the natural trajectory of man, a trajectory utterly opposed to God. We should rejoice even over those brothers and sisters who we would not typically choose as friends or who might annoy us at times. They are a miracle of God, beloved by Him and saved by His grace. We should delight in them. This was the second realization I came to when thinking about this miracle of faith, that I often take for granted my brothers and sisters in Christ and rarely rejoice over their faith, especially if I find it difficult to get along with them.

I had been thinking all of this when I opened my Bible in a coffee shop here in Xela. I decided I was going to read the book of 1 Peter as I had not read it in a long time. I was amazed by what I read as it spoke directly to this miracle of faith I had been thinking about over the last couple of days. Peter calls the faith of Christians "more precious than gold that perishes," and then goes on to describe faith (1 Peter 1:7). He writes:
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
Being in this worldly context has reminded me of what a miracle faith is, something I truly take for granted when I'm always around Christians as is usually the case back in Loma Linda. When you are acquainted with a Christian you are acquainted with a walking, breathing miracle. You are acquainted with someone who was dead who has been made alive. You are acquainted with someone who loves the Lord of the universe, though they have never seen Him. You are acquainted with someone who finds ultimate joy in One whom they have never seen. This is a miracle. Rejoice in these people. Rejoice that you know them. Be thankful for every member of Christ's holy Church. I have been reminded of my lack of thankfulness for my brothers and sisters this last week and how much I take them for granted. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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