close
Wedding Rings

(RE)UNION 9 of 10

Just a friendly reminder today that the biblical word for “faith” (pistis) is the same word for “faithfulness” (also pistis). We are saved by faith (trust) which will manifest itself in a lifelong committed love relationship (faithfulness).

It’s that way with any marriage isn’t it. When Nina and I were married, our vows to each other were a one time act of trust (faith), which means that we will now live in committed relationship for the rest of our lives together (faithfulness). As Christians, we are not just the “bride of Christ” as though we only need to have enough faith to make it to the altar and say our vows, have a party, cut a cake, throw a bouquet, remove a garter (I never understood that one), and take some really expensive pictures. We are also “the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9), that is, a people who are committed to a marriage and not just a wedding. Being a wife and not just a bride reminds us that we are now called to live out the life we have committed to.

But aren’t we saved by sheer grace, received by simple faith? Absolutely. Our faithfulness to God as our heavenly husband is not drudgery, not an added obligation that comes after salvation by grace alone and received by faith alone. Our faithfulness to God in response to his faithfulness to us is the very privilege and delight we signed up for in the first place. It’s all grace.

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We are God’s works of art – but not art that sits still, like a sculpture; more like art that moves, like a dance. The very fact that we can participate in this glorious reality – faithfully living out the faith we have placed in Christ – is pure grace.

Let’s not be the kind of bride who only get married because we want the security of a celestial sugar daddy, but who have no intention of being actually engaged in a loving and faithful marriage. Who wants to spend the rest of their lives in a loveless marriage with a rich husband? Instead, let us see our greatest reward, our riches and security, as the love we get to live out every day in partnership with our heavenly husband who loves us and gave himself for us.

Peace,

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXTRA NOTES ON CHAPTER 12

Q & EH?

  1. How much can you relate to having a “reflective mind”? How does this affect your spiritual life?
  2. Mark Twain said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” In other words, having faith is just playing pretend about spiritual things to comfort ourselves, when really we all know better. According to Jesus, what is the relationship between faith and reason?
  3. The biblical Greek work for “faith” (pistis) is the same word for “faithfulness” (also pistis). How does this inform our understanding of faith?
  4. Jesus encouraged potential followers to first count the cost to see if they were really ready for a life with Jesus (e.g., Luke 14:28-30). When a single person gets married, they give up a lot, but they give it up gladly to gain something greater. What are some things you know you would need to gladly give up to follow Jesus?

DIGGING DEEPER

  • Read: Ephesians 2:8-10.
  • Think: God’s gift of salvation (grace) is accepted by simple trust (faith) which helps us become the “handiwork” (work of art) that God originally intended us to be.
  • Meditate: I am God’s work of art.

 

THANK YOU for reading and commenting! I appreciate your feedback!

 

Tags : faithfaithfulness

4 Comments

  1. Hey Bruxy,
    I know I’m behind as this series is in the past, but I’ve been reading and thinking about the sermon on the mount. First, will you do a sermon series covering the whole sermon some time? Pretty please? Some bits are “bright and shiny” but there are some nuances that are hard to understand. Otherwise, here’s a couple questions:
    1. When Jesus says the Beatitudes, I’m confused on the order of things. Besides being persecuted and maybe mourning, I can choose the other things. So do I choose to be poor in spirit and then receive the kingdom of heaven? I thought because of what Jesus did I already received the kingdom of heaven and so then I want to be poor in spirit. Another way of asking, in 1 John 3:3 it says that everyone who has this hope (being a child of God) in him will purify himself, just as he is pure. But Jesus says blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Am I striving to “do” the beatitudes to receive the reward or have I already received them in Christ and am thus desiring to live them out because of my love for Christ. The reason this is helpful to know is because I know my kids read this on the surface level and it looks like a to-do list to them and I want to help them understand it the way Jesus intended.
    2. In 5:16 He says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” In 6:3 He says, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Both are good I know, but which is it?

    1. Hi Emily. Thanks for these terrific questions!

      I’m happy to have others chime in here, but for now I’ll say this:

      1. I think the Beatitudes are encouragements, rather than commands. At the same time, this list of encouragements does indirectly reveal the kinds of people who are receiving God’s blessing and does help us reflect on who we are and are becoming. I like the biblical emphasis of participatory grace, which let’s us know what God is doing in us so we can work with rather than against his ministry. That’s the benefit of God telling us the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13, or the signs of growth in 2 Peter 1.

      2. It seems to me that Jesus is talking about two different types of benevolence. A) One is living lives of kindness and compassion, in which we give ourselves wholeheartedly to serving others. People will see this, know about this, talk about this. It can’t be hidden. In fact, in some cases doing this well requires organizing networks of people to help, which is the opposite of keeping it a secret. B) The other refers to simply giving money, especially within a spiritual/religious context. When we give money directly to the church, while the church as a whole might promote how much people have given, individuals have no reason to boast about their own personal generosity within that context.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for posting!

  2. Just wondering how Jesus became known as Emmanuel? The angel told Mary to call Him Jesus, so how do we know His name is also Emmanuel? Thanks, sorry behind in the series.

    1. Hi Kate. Thanks for posting.

      In the Bible, names can function like titles, signifying identity more than being the word label used to identify someone. So Matthew 1:22-23 says:

      All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

      And it’s true that, in many ways we have called Jesus, spoken of Jesus, referred to Jesus, and come to know Jesus as “God with us” – even though his actual name label was/is Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus).

      I hope that is helpful. Thanks for asking.

Leave a Reply

X