“Faith upholds a Christian under all trials, by assuring him that every painful dispensation is under the direction of his Lord; that chastisements are a token of His love; that the season, measure, and continuance of his sufferings, are appointed by Infinite Wisdom, and designed to work for his everlasting good; and that grace and strength shall be afforded him, according to his need.”
— John Newton (1725–1807)
Most baby believers fall in love with the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ because they erroneously think such a life will save them, somehow miraculously, from many dastardly trials ahead. In fact, it will, but not for the reasons they think.
The more mature believer knows this as a trick for the younger player; perhaps one sown by the devil. Not only is it not true, the genuine believer can know their testing may be even more severe than the nonbeliever’s is.
God, at our salvation, never does promise a silky smooth ride through the rest of our lives; indeed, the Bible is a litany of testimony for precisely the opposite. That is poignantly captured in the John Newton quote above.
Faith Is What Separates Experiences Of Heaven And Hell
Faith, which manifests the power and spiritual blessing of the Holy Spirit, is the thing that directs us, via our actions of trustful surrender before God, to a situation of relative heaven over the hellishness of the destination we’re headed for without faith.
It really is, first, a matter of trust.
We cannot know the blessings consequent of faith without first giving it a go; when we see faith work we see how God is carrying us to a better destination, whilst we are thankful for what we have been saved from, despite the work and sacrifice of faith.
And if we have never experienced the blessings consequent of faith, we ought to simply try it; genuine courageous forays into the world of faith do not land without an encounter with the almighty, living God.
Why The Believing Life Is Superior
When we consider that life is a struggle, whether we believe in God or not, and we also know that faith is the only tool combating, with decent effect, the great claims of such trials over us, we must surely not fail to see the importance of the believing life.
There are many reasons why the gospel is Good News, not least of which is the fact that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have a way of understanding and overcoming life. Faith, here, is undeniably practical.
How great an understanding it is to attribute everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to the Lord’s hand: at the Spirit’s direction. That is Joban theology, right there. God matured Job’s faith through trial, just as the Lord’s refining us through ours. When we approach life this way nothing is truly against us; everything is for our good. Everything can be seen, now, as beneficial from a later perspective.
The Good News at the hand of salvation is the gift of power in the Holy Spirit that equips faith. Such faith enables an all-conquering life through the strength of honest weakness and reliance on the all-sufficient grace of the Lord Jesus. The faith-life can, through such weakness and reliance, be seen as a winning method every time.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.