Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Faith that is Rewarded

{2 Corinthians 5:6-10; ESV}
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Faith is essential for salvation. The Bible is very clear on this point (Ephesians 2:8 is an example). God’s Word also reveals to us that faith is not simply belief, but it is also about trust and obedience. In other words faith is concerned with how we live our lives. The simple definition of faith I use with the Church Family I minister to is: life influenced by belief. What we believe should effect the way we live.

The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 that the reason faith is needed is because we are in the body and away from God. In other words we can’t see or touch God. He is invisible to us. This is an important admission, for if we could see God we would not need faith. We need to rely on faith because we can’t see God.

Some people would like us to believe that the only truth we can rely on is that truth that we see with out own two eyes, yet the reality is that everyone believes things they have not seen. We believe truth because of evidence that has been uncovered, because of testimony of trustworthy witnesses, and even what seems to be logical to us. I know I believe in God because of the lives of faithful Christians, the evidence for the reliability of the New Testament, historical evidence which supports Scripture, the “ring” of truth the Bible has when describing the condition of our lives, and the difference following Jesus has made in my life.

Because of faith we trust that God exists. Since this is what we believe a small ache appears in our hearts as we long to be joined with God. I know that as I mature in faith the more I long for God’s kingdom to be revealed in this world. Faith has us longing for for life the way it was meant to be lived: with God and free from sin.

What do we do in the meantime as we wait for God’s Kingdom to be fully revealed? We strive to please God. That is a good answer, but exactly how do we please the Creator of the universe? We love Him by loving people. We seek to serve Him by doing His will. We are for His creation by being good stewards. Our faith is seen in what we do, and our actions, when done in faith, pleases God.

That is why people are judged by the good and the bad they have done. Our actions reveal our faith, and if we trust God then the pattern of our lives will consistently show a pattern of doing God’s will. People of faith will seek to please God, and as a result we end up doing good. The faith that God rewards is the faith that is lived, and not just believed.

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