A Transforming Faith


(Joshua Elder) #1

It seems that often times as Christians we emphasize the confession of faith without taking seriously the call to an effective faith. We can learn all about Jesus and say the right things, all the while miss an important piece of what it means to believe. We miss a transforming faith. However, a confessing faith without transformation is not the faith of Christ. Jesus did not merely come to call us to right intellectual belief, but to a relationship that transforms our lives and actions. How many people call themselves Christians without a seeing the fruit of a saving Lord in their life? Do we think that Jesus is without the power to make a real difference to the way we live? We are warned of this in scripture by James, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-- and shudder. (Jam 2:19 NIV) It was put well by Alexander Maclaren:

“Let us lay to heart the rudimentary and incomplete character of a faith which simply accepts the teaching of Jesus Christ, and does no more. The notion that orthodoxy is Christianity, that a man who does not contradict the teaching of the New Testament is thereby a Christian, is a very old and very perilous and very widespread one. There are many of us who have no better claim to be called Christians than this, that we never denied anything that Jesus Christ said, though we are not sufficiently interested in it, I was going to say, even to deny it. This rudimentary faith, which contents itself with the acceptance of the truth revealed, hardens into mere formalism, or liquefies into mere careless indifference as to the very truth that it professes to believe. There is nothing more impotent than creeds which lie dormant in our brains, and have no influence upon our lives.”

It is important that we confess Christ and know his teachings deeply. In fact it is a fundamental part of a transforming faith. But those creeds must not “lie dormant in our brains, and have no influence upon our lives.” If they do we must ask if we truly know the love of a powerful, transforming savior.

How can the church be a confessing and transforming church?

In your own life, how has Jesus transformed you?

Josh


(Warner Joseph Miller) #2

Amen and amen, again, bro! I agree. As someone who wasn’t necessarily raised a devout Christian, I can wholeheartedly say that one of the things that acted as a deterrent or rather provoked me to view Christianity as nothing more than some cultural tradition and therefore not to be seriously considered as true was that it did seem either overly pedantic while simultaneously devoted to mindless tradition without any heart OR highly emotional without any depth. A practical, life-influencing, transformation – at least, in my circles – were few. By God’s sovereign grace and compassion, I eventually found my way to Him and down the line, I realized that truth was more than concept or doctrine or creed to uphold. Truth is a Person! And that Person is Jesus. (John 14:6) So, instead of overly focusing on checking off boxes of correct intellectual belief (which is absolutely important), I rather pursued – as you’ve stated – “a relationship that transforms our lives and actions”. Relationship, proximity, intimacy, etc influence actions deeper than just rudimentary adherence. It certainly isn’t either/or…but it’s ABSOLUTELY BOTH/AND. Thanks for the post!