A Life of Faith
Would you describe your life as faith-filled? I don’t mean have you believed in Jesus Christ. I also am not asking if you could give me an orthodox statement of the Christian faith. While it is important to have sound and healthy doctrine of the faith, one can live much of life as though it weren’t true. You can be sound in your doctrine all the way to the bones and down to your toes on the truth of justification by faith and bear little of the marks of someone who is living by faith in the truth of their justification before God. The life of faith is learning to live in the power of Someone else. This may sound like a foreign idea, but it’s how Paul describes the life of faith in Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
Paul’s life was powerfully fueled by faith in the unconquerable, omnipotent, all-glorious, unique, eternal Son of God. But Paul does more; he fleshes out the work of the Son of God past and present which fueled his life of faith. Paul confidently says “The life I live is by faith in the Son of God who loves me, gave himself for me, and is alive in me.” Amazingly, if you have put all your hope in Jesus Christ, you can say the same thing and live in the joy and strength of him. Why would you want anything less?
Faith in the love of Christ
The words are deep and personal for Paul. It can be for you as well. “He loved me.” This was not a generic, impersonal statement, nor is it mere sentimentality. Paul lived in realization that he was loved by the Lord Jesus. The love of Christ for Paul was such a deep reality, he said it “controlled him” (2 Corinthians 5:14) and fueled all he did. The love of Christ was such a huge reality that it he prayed believers would know it even though it is beyond comprehension (Ephesians 3). Christ’s love was such a constant reality that the worst of life and even death itself could not separate us from it (Romans 8). Jesus wants us to be completely confident in his love - courageous in his love. Right now, Jesus does not look at you wondering, “How can I get out of this relationship.” No. You are loved with the faithful, loyal, committed, never-ending, always-pursuing love of God in Christ. Is your life fueled by this love? There’s more.
Faith in the finished work of Christ
Conscious of Christ’s work on his behalf, Paul says, “he gave himself for me.” These words are profound. What does it mean that Jesus gave himself? It means Jesus willingly went to the cross, even pursued the cross (Luke), knowing it was the reason for which he was sent by the Father (“For this hour i have come”). But it gets very intimate for Paul when he says that Jesus gave himself “for me”. The words “for me” indicate that Jesus’ death was more than just an example to follow or a demonstration to inspire. A transaction was taking place. Jesus went to the cross “for me”. In other words, he took my place. He died in my place for my sin. He took upon himself my sin and what my sin deserves, namely God’s judgment. And because of that, I am now fully and eternally accepted by God the Father. I don’t have to live as though I am still lugging all my sins around, or that with a string of good days I may be able to pay my debt to God. We joyfully sing, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe”. Our confidence of this full and free acceptance by God has nothing to do with our performance. It has everything to do with the performance of the Lord Jesus “for us” and we gladly boast in him (1 Cor 1:31). Is your life fueled by the Son of God who gave himself for you? But there is even more.
Faith in the present, empowering grace of Christ
Paul is also confident in the present, empowering grace of Christ “lives in me.” The risen, living, personal Christ had taken up residence in Paul. And this is not the special allotment of “super Christians”, but the wonderful gift of every blood-bought child of God. The promise of Jesus was that he would not leave his disciples, but would come to them (John 14), that he and the Father would make their home in the one who abides (John 15), and through abiding. You might think, “If he wants to live in me, I need to clean up a bit.” No, you will never be able to clean yourself up! He makes us ready for himself and comes in and cleans us as he sees fit. The Christian can say “Christ lives in me!” Do you believe that?
Feast on the truth and you will discover faith on the rise. And you will begin living more and more in the power of Someone else, namely the Son of God who loves you, died to perfectly redeem you, and lives in you..