November 2016

Pastor’s Corner                                     

Faith’s Object

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

          Faith in God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is masterfully defined for us in Scripture. The crux of the issue is the object of faith; that is, faith in what or whom. In Christianity the object of faith is Jesus Christ, who was promised from long ago (Genesis chapter 3) to the offspring of a woman by the Virgin Mary. Inspired Scripture describes Mary as “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42). Indeed, she is; she gave birth to God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. This Jesus Christ lived as True God and True Man in His temporary, local presence for thirty-three years. During those years, He lived a life of love through teaching and being with people. He began to build and continues to build His Church to distribute His grace in the Word and Sacraments. He is the very Son of God, enthroned at the right hand of God where He rules and is preparing a room for all who have Him as the object of faith.

          This amplification of who Jesus is, and what He has done, is doing, and will do, is the object of saving faith. He is the only solid, secure, everlasting “object” on which we can always trust; “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

          If Christ is not the object of faith, there are problems. Do you have faith that your vehicle will start the next time you want it to? Is that faith the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER?  These same types of questions can be asked about the roof of your house, your ability to do something, another person’s devotion to anything or anyone, and even to your own faith. When the object of faith is something of the world or concerns a person’s thoughts, words, and/or deeds, the foundation is temporary and faith will waver, and rightly so. It is only proper to do regular maintenance on a vehicle and on living quarters. Yet even in so doing, there are variables outside of our control, such as hurricanes. Recently, many excellently-maintained vehicles were made inoperable, and meticulously cared-for homes made unlivable due to a hurricane. Humans are vulnerable also, through either continual antagonizing and abuse or medical and psychological afflictions that render them (us) unable to follow through with good intentions.

          The object of Christian faith is Jesus Christ. If a person’s object of faith is, however, their own faith, feelings become a greater focus than they should be. Feelings could stem from music making you feel good, sermons that do something for you, and/or people who say and do things that make your day. These, in themselves, are not a problem; in fact, it is good, right, and salutary that the music’s object is Jesus Christ with a tune that delivers Jesus to you. It is good, right, and salutary that the sermon provides God’s Law and Gospel to set you properly into His loving arms. It is good, right, and salutary that brothers and sisters in Christ make your day as they defend you, speak well of you, and explain everything about you in the kindest way, since they see Christ in you. But good feelings are not a solid foundation for faith.

          Faith in Jesus Christ gives us an assured, peaceful life now and forever holding to convictions of our promised inheritance.         

The Lord be with you,

Pastor Sam Wiseman