Word of the Month

Defending the faith

May 2001

Without faith in the omnipotence of God and the act of salvation of Jesus Christ it is impossible to enter into eternal fellowship with God and his Son. That is why it is so important to preserve our faith through all circumstances of life. Whoever remains in the faith remains alive and acquires the righteousness that is counted to the faithful as grace by the Most High. On the way to the goal we need substance and strength from our faith, day after day. It must be cultivated and nourished, so that it can remain alive and strong. The danger that doubt and unbelief arise and spread is far too great.

God's children are not immune to doubt. One is upset by an admonishment from the altar and already the question secretly sprouts up: "Was that really inspired by the Holy Spirit? Or was it merely the personal opinion of the minister?" Then doubt worms and gnaws, the faith weakens and eventually is displaced by unbelief, sometimes even by superstition. Does our time not show us again and again that certain Far Eastern philosophies and mysticism mean more to many than the teaching of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

Precisely because the old serpent Satan tries everything to subvert our faith in God and Jesus Christ, it is immensely important, in fact, vital, to cultivate and strengthen our faith and when necessary, to defend it. That is why the enlivening, uplifting, fortifying Word that even makes us blissful is offered constantly anew. Children of God have recognized, when they were sealed with the Holy Spirit, that they can and want to believe, and that their heavenly Father has given his blessing to this. Let us be unendingly thankful for this!

Let us also demonstrate our faith through works, of which the Apostle Paul spoke of in his letter to the Thessalonians (cf. 1. Thessalonians 1:2-3). What are works of faith? To be obedient towards the will of God, obedient also towards God's counsel, that is brought to us again and again in the word inspired by the Spirit. Thankfulness is another work of faith. We have reason and ocassion for thankfulness in immeasurable ways, for what would we be without God's grace? Our striving to be willing to reconcile and to walk worthily also is a part of these works of faith, as is an active, joyful prayer life.

The prophet Isaiah already alluded to that which awaits those that stand firm in their faith: "Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith." (Isaiah 26:2, NIV). We want to participate in the marriage in heaven and share in the marriage supper of the lamb. That is why the word of God remains truth for us; we trust in the sacrifice and merit of Jesus and resist every doubt with a strong faith. Then we will be able to answer the Lord's question "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (cf Luke 18:8) with an unequivocal "yes Lord, with us!"

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)