Faith or sin.
It starts with a life that says I believe. The question then becomes I believe what?
The story of the Bible is one of God revealing Himself and His plans to humanity. It’s one in which the story of life is always made infinitely better when it’s lived in the light of knowing the one who gives us that life. Knowing – believing – trusting – investing all in the one who reveals Himself as the source.
Some people think that the great opponent to faith is fear. Others think that the opposite of faith is doubt. Interestingly what both have in common is the element introduced at the beginning that lead to the sad state of affairs that blights human experience. What I’m proposing is simply the opposite to faith is sin.
I say simply, but there’s a little more to it than that which helps us understand all the more what sin is and what it is to be in pursuit of faith. Sin entered the scene when humanity actively chose to listen to someone other than the Creator. Sin caused the fall of humanity when humanity actively chose to trust in someone other than God. Since then sin is the condition in which all humans are born into – it’s a state that is continually turning its back from ongoing trust, investment and belief in God for who He is.
Sure, when things get a bit dicey, then we will call out to God because we want Him to swoop to the rescue. Certainly if we are in desperate need then we will call out to a God who can help us in our time of need. In other words He’s great for times of convenience and desperation, but other than that we are more than content to go in our own direction, do our own thing.
This is not the basis on which God relates to humanity. The faithful God relates to humanity in being their Source – He is not just all that they need them to be – He is all they need to be. That is to say to truly be human we need Him – we need Him in a trusting and loving relationship, one in which He informs and shapes us and allows to realise life is not about being selfish and seeking our own thing and our own way. We need Him to be.
Throughout scripture, God has invited people to walk with Him and discover more of what this life is like. Those journeys, stories and relationships are marked by God doing wondrous works in the lives of people but also those people seeing beyond the acts and delighting in knowing the Creator for themselves.
This is the beauty in the outline of the life of faith – it is not about looking for a genie to grant them infinite wishes. It is a journey to discovering that what is of the greatest value of all is knowing God. That’s why He is a rewarder of those that diligently search for Him. It’s even witnessed when God affirms His connection with the father of faith, Abraham with these amazing words.
Men in pursuit of faith are men in pursuit of an ever deeper trust and ever richer valuing of the right relationship with God available by grace. They like Abraham grow to see God not as something for convenience, they see in Him the greatest reward possible in life. In the light of this understanding there is a desire to love Him, there’s a desire to serve Him, there’s a desire to know Him and to know, love and desire Him gives a completely different view on sin.
Sin – whether expressed in fear, lust, pride, doubt or however else – is seen for just how gross, detestable and abhorrent it is. And that’s all sin. It’s viewed that way because of what it threatens to do to our relationship with the one of greatest value. It’s not just a revulsion because of sensibility, it’s the outcry of a heart that sees how the sweet communion we can have with God can be tainted or shattered by entertaining sin in any of its guises.
This is why men of faith grow in learning what it is to be pleasing to the Father. This is why men of faith have their eyes set on walking in the light of the love of God and the relationship they have with Him. This is why men of faith cherish their relationship with the holy one and so live holy lives that reflect Him. That’s why men of faith adore their relationship with the merciful one ad so live merciful lives that reflect Him. That’s why men of faith rejoice in their relationship with the gracious one and so live gracious lives to reflect Him.
This is why Paul is keen for Timothy to run away from evil youthful desires – all marked by sin. These lead to disaster and ruin. This is why Paul is keen for Paul to be ever running to faith, pursuing the faithful life, chasing wholeheartedly to be known as one who walks by faith and not by sight. That’s not just Paul’s desire for Timothy.
It’s the Father’s desire to be able to say that’s the kind of man you are.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden