~ 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. You have, too.
The bruising testimonies of misplaced faith.
And, when you think of it, all of our lives are narratives of misplaced faith.
Wrongly trusting a loved one to keep a promise that is later shattered.
Trusting the quality of something purchased at great cost, only to be badly disappointed.
Expecting someone placed in a position of trust to do the right thing, to act the right way, to fulfill their duty – only to witness them shirking their responsibility in an attitude of blatant self-indulgence and greed, with the resulting ache that a breach of faith inflicts.
That’s happened – to a greater or lesser degree – to all of us. In a sense, being a victim of unfaithfulness is part of the human experience.
And so, we raise our children to be self-protectively resilient. Our kids need to learn to shield themselves from being too trusting; to be warned of the raw consequences of placing trust in the wrong people. They need to understand and expect that their faith will be undervalued, mistreated, and abused.
At some point, every one of us has our faith in another trampled upon. Someone unworthy of trust has demonstrated they are unqualified for faithfulness.
But when folks refer to empty faith, forgotten or abandoned faith, blind faith, or outgrown faith, the reference usually is directed to some form of religious experience.
They are expressing some form of rejection of, or disappointment with, God.
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 that brings us to worldview thinking.
Faith is only valid if that which underpins it is valid, trustworthy, faithful.
Consequently, the biblical writers argue that nothing could be more rational than placing our faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of the Law and the Prophets; the Triune God of the Apostolic Church; the God of the Bible.
The strong assertion of the Bible from beginning to end, is that the quality of faith God calls for is what we have summarized as CAT faith.
Simply put, CAT references the Content of faith, and the intellectual Assent to that content.
However, lots of people know the Gospel – and many of those would admit that’s it probably true.
That’s why it is not authentic biblical faith until it also includes the 3rd component: Trust.
Here’s a broader explanation. The faith that pleases God – that He demands – must have 3 component building blocks:
• 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 the Lord Jesus: Christ in my place.
• Assent: having understood the Gospel’s basic content, I give intellectual assent that I agree with and affirm it’s truth-claims.
• Trust: but my salvation begins only when – and not until – I receive Christ as Lord by faith, a decision of the will. That’s the trust piece.
Takeaway: CAT faith is essential 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. That’s why the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk declared a maxim that is repeated 3 times in the New Testament: The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
This is the description of the faith that pleases God. He’s promised to reward it!
…graphic by Jeremy Brown, freeimages.ca