Saturday, November 13, 2010

2010 – November 13 – Faithless Faith

Study from God’s Word Accounts from the Gospels about the “last supper” and Jesus’ preparing to become the Lamb of God from Matt 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22 as well as John 12 … Passage for Reflection: John 12: 42 – 43 … NIV 42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

My Journal for Today: As sometimes we say when incongruities are apparent in someone’s story or the report of a set of circumstances, like the one in today’s devotional text, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Supposedly we have Jewish leaders in these latter days of Jesus’ life on earth who “believe” in Jesus. Yet, they are unwilling – or unable – to stand in the gap for that faith by confessing their beliefs to the Pharisees, who were the so-called guardians of the Temple, because of fears that they’d be excluded from worshipping in the Temple, which would have shunned them from inclusion in the community of Jewish faith there in Jerusalem. So, as my title implies for my devotional entry today, these men had somewhat of a “faithless faith.” Today, we Christians might have called them “nominal christians,” because the depth of their faith was only intellectual and not a deep/abiding/living faith in Christ.

And that brings up our application challenge from Dr. Smith from reading and meditating on the text for today. Dr. Smith asks, ”In what ways have I denounced my faith by refusing to openly acknowledge what I truly believe?” I would expect that the answer to this question catches many of us coming up short in the depth of our faith over the years of our walk as Christians. It certainly has me.

There are any number of times in my walk of faith where I’ve been “chicken” and unwilling to stand openly for Jesus in the public arena of life. Quite a number of times, I’ve heard people mock Christ or Christianity; and I kept my mouth shut. There have been times in my past when I heard people spelling out their beliefs FOR abortion; and I didn’t stand up for life the way I should have done as a Christian. And maybe you have had times when you were a representative of “faithless faith,” not standing forth as you should have.

Well, fortunately we have a forgiving Lord and Savior, Who in the verses following today’s text declares (see John 12: 47), 47 “If anyone hears My words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” No, when Jesus walked the earth as the God-Man, He was not there as a JUDGE. He was there as the Lamb of God, to give His life so that those of us who have REAL faith in Him will live eternally. It is one day, when He will come again to be the Judge of mankind; and then all will have to stand in the gap for our faith in Him. And it will only be those who have true faith who will be worthy of His saving grace.

But once that saving faith has been expressed – truly from the heart; and we become Christian, receiving the saving grace offered by the blood of Christ, it will never be satisfactory to stand quietly and refuse to witness our faith. No, … the Holy Spirit, residing in me now as a Christian, rumbles His conviction when I am quiet, knowing I should speak or stand for my faith. And I don’t think – and I certainly pray - that I would now be unwilling to stand in the gap for Jesus in circumstances which called for my witness. I hope and pray that anyone reading here would step forward with me when and if the time presented itself to be a witness for our faith, never again living in a “faithless faith.”

My Prayer for Today: Lord, give us the faith of our faith to be witnesses for our faith. Amen

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