Good Friday & Easter faith
I have always found it remarkable that it took a Roman soldier, whose job was to execute the crucifixion of Jesus, to realize and then proclaim to the whole world that “this man”, the man whose name is Jesus, “this man” whom we just crucified on a cross, “this man” is the one that the Roman Centurion was referring to when after Jesus’ death and the earthquake and the splitting of the curtain in two in the temple was heard saying ... “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)
What a remarkable confession of faith to be able to recognize and believe that Jesus is the Son of God. But saving faith involves more than believing WHO Jesus is. As we take time during this Holy Week to stand at the foot of the cross and gaze on the spectacle of Jesus hanging lifelessly on the cross, it would be good for us to prayerfully ponder what we actually do believe concerning Jesus.
Saving faith is vitally important to every person who has ever and will ever live on earth. Therefore it is vitally important to get it right ... because, as Jesus says in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” When the crucified, dead, risen, ascended Lord Jesus returns to earth again as we confess in the Apostles Creed, He will not be looking for which church you belong to, or for that matter He won’t even be looking for whether you went to church or not. What He will be looking for is FAITH. And to be more specific Jesus will be looking for SAVING FAITH. Let’s take a closer look at the faith that saves.
There are several ingredients that go together to make up saving faith. The first ingredient is knowledge. St. Paul writes: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14)
It is pretty clear that a person can not believe in someone or something they have never heard anything about. So, clearly KNOWLEDGE is a part of saving faith. But while knowledge is an important ingredient, there is more to saving faith than knowledge.
In James’ letter to the twelve tribes scattered throughout the world he strives to make clear to them what saving faith is as he says ... “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder.” (James 2:19) So in addition to knowing who Jesus is, James helps us see that ACCEPTANCE of what we know about Jesus to be true, while that is a big step beyond just knowledge, is still not saving faith. And so we look beyond knowledge and acceptance to what we find in Psalm 37:5 where we read ... 𠇌ommit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.” To knowledge and acceptance we add the most important ingredient to saving faith, which is TRUST.
Putting your complete trust in Jesus as your own Savior from sin and the only source of hope for eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
As you gaze upon that cross and see Jesus - do we see God’s only begotten Son? Do you accept Him as the only Savior of sinners? And do you trust that He is also and especially your Savior? Then rejoice not only in this wonderful Gospel truth, but also in the fact that this saving faith is not something you must produce in yourself. As St. Paul says ... “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) This saving faith in the Son of God who lived and died and rose again for you ... this faith is what saves, and this faith is a GIFT from God to you!
May this Holy Week bless you with renewed saving faith in your Savior, Jesus Christ!