A couple of days ago I began a series on “Ten Key Words for Christian Living.” The first of those words is faith. For the Christian, faith has a different definition than most would use. For the Christian, faith is not a blind leap in the dark or a hope against all hope that things will turn out well against all better judgment. For the Christian faith is grounded in the rock-solid, unchanging promises of our creator and redeemer.
The Bible reminds us that faith is an essential element of our lives. We know that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Faith is the means of our justification (Gal. 2:16; Rom 1:17), and the power behind our sanctification (Gal. 2:20). Christians, above all, are to be people of faith. However, faith can become an abstraction if we don’t stop and take time to think about what it really means. Our idea of faith can degenerate into the same sort of concept that the world has of faith. Consider this definition of faith given by John Piper:
Here we can see clearly what faith is. Faith is the assurance that what God will make of you, as Christ is formed in your life, is vastly to be preferred over what you can make of yourself. Faith is the confidence that the demonstration of Christ’s work in your life is more wonderful than all the praise you could get for yourself by being a self-made man—or woman. Faith is a happy resting in the all-sufficiency of what Christ did on the cross, what he is doing now in our heart, and what he promises to do for us for ever.
The first part of that definition is particularly powerful to me. Faith being the assurance that what Christ will make of me is vastly to be preferred over what I can make of myself. That understanding of faith takes total surrender. It means that whatever comes my way is part of God’s good and perfect plan to conform me to the image of His Son. There are times that everything in me seems to scream against this Christ-conforming work. I think that there are easier ways or shortcuts to sanctification, but God knows me so much better than I know myself. Piper makes me see how small my faith really is at times. If we would have the kind of faith that pleases God it means that we must rest in his sovereign control over our lives. We are “works in progress” and God knows the plans he has for us. Let’s put down our self-centered agendas and faithfully rest in our sovereign savior.