~by Randy Bushey
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
I’ve heard the stories, and probably you have, too.
Misplaced faith. Empty faith. Forgotten or abandoned faith. Outgrown faith.
Our lives are narratives of faith that was trampled on, of those who proved themselves unworthy of trust, of faithlessness.
We can have faith in the weather, in friends and lovers, in our favourite team, in the government and justice system – but here’s the thing that we must always remember: the appropriateness of that faith is reliant not on the strength of our faith, but on the rightness of what/who our faith was placed in.
And yet at the funeral home, I’ve often stood beside a casket and heard these words, “her faith sustained her”.
What does that even mean? How can faith alone actually make any difference?
I suspect most people give it very little thought.
But as we study the Lord’s Prayer, if we are to probe more deeply in understanding ourselves and our eternal relationship with Almighty God, then faith must always be understood for what it is – and what it is not.
It is not some mythical formula to help one believe what he knows to be untrue.
Rather, theologians call faith the “instrumental cause” of our justification.
Faith is only valid if that which underpins it is valid. And so to stay on track, we often describe biblical faith as CAT Faith.
The strong assertion of the Bible from beginning to end is that Cat Faith is needed to begin a relationship with God through Christ. That’s true in every place and in every era.
And CAT Faith is needed every single day to maintain that relationship.
Simply put, CAT references the Content of faith, and the Approval or Assent to that content. However, its not authentic biblical faith until it also includes the 3rd component: Trust.
Or, stated differently, the faith that pleases God – that He demands, looks like this:
-Content: recognizing I stand as a sinner before a Holy God, and my only opportunity for forgiveness and salvation from this eternally damning reality is the result of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ: Christ in my place.
-Assent (or Approval): having understood the Gospel’s basic content, I give intellectual assent that I agree with it’s truth-claims.
-Trust: but my salvation begins only when – and not until – I receive Christ by faith, a decision of the will. That’s the trust piece.
Takeaway: in our world, faith has become an elastic term, meaning different things to different people – even an irrational commitment to something in spite of strong evidence to the contrary.
But we understand the faith that pleases God and that He rewards is trust in Him, exemplified by CAT Faith.
~this post originally appeared February 2017.
…graphic by Penny Mathews, from freeimages.com