I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary is my Lord.
He has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.
All this he did that I should be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.
This is most certainly true.
(Luther’s Catechism pg. 151)
The above words are words I memorized in school and catechism class as a child. They have been drilled into me since my elementary days. But now that I am older they mean so much more to me than they did when I was a child. When I was a child they were part of my schoolwork. Now they are my heart. I am thankful I was taught to memorize them because the words are still vividly clear in my memory. I can recite them to myself when I feel sad or lost or discouraged and when I need to be reminded exactly who I am. I truly love the Lord and do not make that confession that lightly.
I realize however that not everyone I meet feels the same joy that I do regarding faith in Christ. Scripture’s definition of faith is as follows; Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Through faith in Jesus I have a sure hope that I will live with him in heaven someday. Although I cannot see him physically I know and believe that his promises never fail. My faith creates in me a desire to love and serve God. That love is reflected in my actions toward others. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen (1 John: 19, 20).
As I listen to His Word taught, my heart yearns for more knowledge. I want to be better able to understand the teachings in the Bible. I want to know God’s will for my life. I need to be reminded of the comfort God’s Word offers me for eternity and be reassured by His promises. I need the fellowship of other Christians who believe the same as I do. We are encouraged by the writer to the Hebrews; Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
A living and active faith will result in a love for God which stimulates a desire in us to hear and study His word every chance we get. We will want to attend church. We will want to worship and praise Him. His love will prompt us to serve him and our fellow man. Jesus’ instructions to each believer is to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds [your faith] and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5: 13, 14, 16).
If we never pick up our Bible and never attend church to hear the Word our faith will be weak at best, and we are at risk of losing it. Even our Baptism will not help us if we don’t nurture our faith with the Word of God. Faith is like a beautiful green plant. If it is fed and watered and given sufficient light, it will sprout and grow. God’s Word is a light for the path of all who believe. When we ignore our faith and don’t feed it and water it with the Word it will shrivel up and die.
So how is your faith doing? Is it living and active, or is it stagnant and stale? Do you have faith at all? But someone will say, You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do (James 2: 18). Do you merely believe there is a God? You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder (James 2: 19).
I would lovingly urge all people to find a place of worship where God’s word is taught in truth and purity. It may take time and patience, but don’t give up. Find a place to
nurture your faith with the food and water of the Word. Let God’s Word light up your life. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119: 105) Where you spend eternity depends on it. Jesus was punished in your place on the cross so that you could have life. Don’t disregard His sacrifice. In the end you will be truly blessed here in this life and hereafter in the life to come. His gift of grace is there for all people. Don’t leave your gift from God sitting on the desk unopened. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10: 10).
In His holy name, Amen