1. Faith is a gracious gift of God to give his people the ability to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved. Yes, it is given as a free gift of the Spirit, meaning that it is a gift we can never earn or deserve. It is not an achievement but the fruit of the Spirit working in our lives.
The Holy Spirit works faith in our lives by God’s Word being taught and preached. And then our faith grows and is strengthened by that same Word and through prayer, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.
Our mission is to proclaim, to teach, to preach and to live ths life-changing Word.
2. It’s by faith that we believe that everything written in God’s Holy Word is true, because in his Word God’s authority always speaks for itself.
We respond differently to God’s Word according to what each passage contains – we obey the commands, tremble when it judges our life-choices - and embrace God’s promises of redemption and salvation for this life as well as for the eternal life, still to come.
The main way we act out our faith is by accepting, receiving, and relying only on Jesus Christ for our salvation. It’s through Jesus alone that God can, by his grace, redeem us in order to call us innocent through his blood washing away our sins.
It is by the gift of faith that we are sanctified and given eternal life – all through the graceful work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as promised to God’s very own people by the covenant of grace.
3. Our faith does not remain the same throughout our lives.
What is initially the seed of faith that leads us to embrace the redemption in Christ and the promise to receive Christ to live with us and in us, grows stronger and over time grows into a power that directs our choices, our principles, our expectations and our convictions. Whether we experience a weak, challenged faith or a strong faith that works towards the coming of God’s Kingdom in our lives, our families and churches, it always remains true saving faith, because it remains the perfect gift of God by the Spirit, through God’s vast Word working in our lives.
There are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. — Jude 1:4. But living as if our sins don’t matter in this world can cause tremendous hurt and pain to others and ourselves. So let’s not be fooled — real freedom belongs to those who choose to follow Christ in everything.
Often our faith is attacked and weakened by life’s storms, tests and painful experiences, but it eventually always wins the fight as the testing of our faith helps us to, by the grace of God and by God’s power, grows to become mature as we grow up towards the full image of Christ.
Our faith grows towards a place where we are fully assured about our redemption in Christ and our eternal adoption by our heavenly Father, who gave us the gift of faith in the first place and who both in this life, and beyond, works in us to make our faith perfect.
God uses this gift of faith to grant us many other gifts as well, such as for example the gifts of hope and of love. And the greatest of all God’s gracious gifts to us, is love!