- The virus is not just killing people, it’s also killing the faith of many people.
- Because of the protocols that are now in place, many Christians are becoming lukewarm. Some are dropping out altogether, abandoning their Christian faith, and becoming practicing pagans in the process.
- The good news is that some continue to be resilient. They remain faithful and devoted as followers of Jesus Christ in spite of the situation.
- But what accounts for the difference?
- It has to do with connecting the dots between faith and faithfulness, church and community, and ministry and mission.
- Let’s begin this series by talking about the nature of our faith. The apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:1-10 talks about the three aspects of faith.
- Faith in the Gospel that changes our spiritual status.
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
- Faith in the Gospel that gives us hope for the future.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This is the second aspect of faith. God gives us hope and assurance for the future. We know what will happen. Either we will die before the Lord’s return, and so we will be with Him in heaven as we await the Second Coming, or we will experience the Second Coming while we are still alive, and so we will be transformed in a twinkling of an eye, receive spiritual bodies that will never die, enter into a new heaven and a new earth, and spend eternity with God and all His people.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)
Do you have this blessed hope? This is also what it means to believe. People who have this hope purify themselves each day because they know the Lord will come again.
- Faith in the Gospel that transforms our present lives.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
This is the third aspect of faith, and this is the most misunderstood aspect. It may be true that we have become children of God by believing in the Gospel, that we have a blessed hope for the future because we know we will go to heaven when we die, or we will be with Jesus forever when He comes again. But our experience of salvation each day is conditional to how we live by faith. We can be a Christian, forgiven of our sins, and still miss the kind of life that God wants us to experience!
Is this true in your present life? Those who chose to be lukewarm in their faith, or even to totally abandon their faith during this pandemic season, will miss out on God’s purpose for their lives. Spiritual growth and fruitfulness will not happen automatically just because you are a Christian.
Turning Point: “When faith is real and alive, it will survive and thrive!”
GROUP DISCUSSION (30 minutes)
- On a scale of 1 to 6 (with 1 representing No, and 6 representing Yes), how would you rate yourself in the three aspects of faith? Please explain.
- What happens when people misunderstand each aspect of the Christian faith?
- Why is it important to understand and apply the three aspects of faith in our daily lives?