Faith is an ONGOING thing…

I’ve been pondering the whole idea of “faith” lately – and how the church in the west has come to define it. For many of us, it’s come to mean a “one time” decision that we made to trust Christ as our Savior in a church service once-upon-a-time in our lives. Flowing from that definition comes the notion that the decision made then secures forgiveness and heaven forever.

I’m not prepared to discard that understanding altogether, just beginning to challenge that that is ALL there is to it. Faith is beginning to appear to me to be more of an ongoing thing…

What got me thinking on this lately was some reading in the book of Hebrews…

Hebrews 312 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

I noticed a few things that gave me reason to pause…

  • see to it brothers” – we have a responsibility here, to ensure that something is not the case with us
  • that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.– These are so-called “believers” that the writer is addressing (brothers).  He says it is possible for us to have sinful/unbelieving hearts.  That’s pretty sobering…  He says those hearts are able to make us turn away from our God.  That’s pretty sobering…
  • The encouragement believers in Christ are to provide for one another is meant (at least in part) to prevent us from being “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  That’s a pretty big role for encouragement in our lives…
  • The “if” of verse 14 is the real kicker… “We have come to share in Christ IF we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first.” (emphasis mine)  Walk through the logic of this phrase and it becomes very challenging to the ideas we have of faith that I’ve mentioned before.  We “have come to share in Christ” – the faith we claim is something that really happened in our lives. “If” – it’s conditional, depending on something else.  “We hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first”  Our faith will be shown genuine by the way in which we demonstrate confidence througout the course of our lives.

These verses appear to be saying – If we continue throughout the remainder of our lives, to demonstrate that “first love” sort of faith, the child-like confidence we had when we first trusted in Jesus as Savior, then we can be assured that it was a genuine trust to begin with.  But if we do not, if we coast along, if we are not careful to avoid and defend against the deceitfulness of sin, we will revert to sinfulness and unbelief (which appear to be synonomous in this passage) and turn away from the living God.

Can you see why I would say that faith is an ONGOING thing?  It’s not the one-time decision we made long ago – it’s an ongoing decision we make every day.  It’s the continuation of that initial decision in each decision we make.  Every day brings choices to follow Christ or to turn away from Him.  Every day affords us opportunities to glorify and honor Him or ignore and disgrace Him.  The days of our lives, one after another, are where our faith is worked out, continued, proved genuine – again and again.  Faith doesn’t begin and end at conversion, faith continues throughout our lives.  If it doesn’t, then we have reason to question that “conversion” in the first place…

That’s enough for now… I’ll post again soon regarding what the phrases “turn away from the living God” and “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” may have to teach us…

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2 thoughts on “Faith is an ONGOING thing…

  1. Pingback: Turning away from the living God… « the passionate follower’s journal

  2. Pingback: Encourage one another daily… « the passionate follower’s journal

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