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Reflecting on Truth #30

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New City Catechism Question 30

Q: What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A: Faith in Jesus Christ is acknowledging the truth of everything that God has revealed in his Word, trusting in him, and also receiving and resting on him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Why does this matter?

Faith can sometimes feel easy if we understand it only as a matter of mental ascent. Surely faith must at least include mental ascent, but it is not a biblical faith if it’s just that alone.

God has revealed Himself and His purpose through His Word. Although the means of His Word has changed from oral to written, the means of His special revelation has never changed. From the beginning, God’s people have always been characterized as the people of the book, either by following God’s prophets or the parts of Scripture that they had. That should be no different for us here and now. We know that of old, only a remnant is genuinely the people of the book, because they believe God’s Word. And now, the church is that remnant who truly believes God’s Word, as we know from this side of the history that it points to Jesus Christ.

But faith is not just a matter of agreeing with what the book has to say. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This verse teaches us that faith also involves trusting in him and resting, or relying, on him in all aspects of our life. All of our life should display Christ, because we have accepted that on our own, there is nothing good in us. And hence, we must rely on Christ for every single thing, that Christ is displayed and He receives all the glory.

What does this mean for us?

This means that at the very least we should read and understand God’s Word in order to know Jesus Christ. As we know, there are many counterfeits in our time. The only sufficient way to know Christ and God’s purpose is none other than reading and understanding His Word.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

That understanding should lead us to proactively pursue to be more like Christ, with the sovereign help of His Spirit, and to continuously run to Christ as we are reminded again and again of our dire inadequacy and Christ’s glorious sufficiency. For some of us, we only come to Christ when our situation is critical. Still, for some others, it is when our situation is orderly. But we often just don’t realize how desperate we are for Christ. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we ought to come to Christ on every occasion. If he is our Lord, our Master, shouldn’t we always come to Him in dependance? Brothers and sisters, trust in Christ, not only mentally, but really.

Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. - Augustine of Hippo (Confessions 1:1, 397, CCEL)