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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Need For Faith

For centuries the debate of faith and reason has been going on. Some think that both are mutually exclusive. Others say reason is superior. Reason, they say, is verifiable through the senses thus superior. Still others, argue that they are both partners. I do not attempt here to get into the philosophical arguments of this debate for I am not a philosopher nor it interests me.

But I do want to share some thoughts on the nature of faith and how faith is necessary. Faith is rooted in verifiable historical truths. When I read the Bible I don't read myths and ideas that have no historical truth. God himself manifests himself from the beginning, to Adam, Abraham, the rest of the Jewish Patriarchs, to Israel and finally reveals himself in Jesus Christ, Immanuel-God with us. Jesus, God incarnate, the second person of the trinity who becomes human and offers himself as a sacrifice to restore our relationship with Him.

Faith is not a blind leap without any basis. It is rooted in God's revelation of Himself. Yet, as time has passed, God has chosen to move and live in us through faith. In fact, Jesus said, "“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” "(John 20:29-ESV)

The Apostle Paul said that we live our life through faith not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Our life in Christ is by nature, a life of faith. It is a prominent topic in the New Testament (see for example Hebrews 11). Faith is a certainty of the spirit but it is rooted in God's truth. It is the means by which God has chosen to make himself known to us. This doesn't diminish the role of reason but it allows it to depend on God. We don't know everything nor can we know everything. It is not possible as finite beings. But faith is not necessary only because of this. Faith opens our spiritual "eyes." It allows us to get a glimpse of the eternal which otherwise we cannot know. God lives in the spiritual realm and as such can only be worshipped through faith. Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24-ESV).

What would our lives be without faith? Our lives would only know and experience what is palpable and verifiable through the senses. There would be no sense of mystery. We would only know what we can know through our minds and senses. Our spirits would be barren. Dry. Our hope would be limited. We could only hope what we know and see. But hope rooted in faith is much more. It sees beyond the natural: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1-ESV)

Without faith we couldn't please God: "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6-ESV)

As Christians we live by faith. Faith in the one who saved us. We say with the Apostle Paul, "And the life I now live in the flesh (body) I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20).

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