Ezer Equipped | The Foundation of our Faith
Early in my faith journey, I mistakenly believed that my right standing with God depended upon me. As I grew in self-awareness and knowledge of my own sin, it was easy to believe the prophet Jeremiah when he said that the human heart is the most deceitful of all things (Jeremiah 17:9). I knew and believed that at best, my motives were always mixed. But rather than growing in deeper dependence upon and greater worship of the Lord, I became enslaved to my own performance and feelings of futility and deep despair. I was so focused on the quality of my faith—rooting out corrupt motives, ridding myself of pride, and repenting rightly—that I lost sight of Jesus altogether. My faith wasn’t in Jesus or his finished work on my behalf; it was in my ability to be good enough for God’s love and acceptance.
Last month, we looked at the men and women of Hebrews 11. Each of these individuals had different stories, sin struggles, and experiences. But they all had one common denominator—their faith. Abel’s faith was not in his offering, but in the God to whom he gave his first fruits. Noah’s faith was not in the boat, but in the God who told him to build the boat. Abraham’s faith was not in sacrificing Isaac, but in the God who could raise Isaac from the dead. Moses’ faith was not in his own ability to convince Pharaoh, but in the God who promised to rescue his people. Rahab’s faith was not in the Israelites, but in the God who led the Israelites across dry land. None of these men and women believed perfectly, repented rightly, or followed God without faltering along the way.
A life of faith isn’t easy. It requires us to trust in something we cannot presently see. And the circumstances of our lives—which we can see—may cause the walls of our faith to crack and crumble or even threaten to give way. Maybe you are like me—looking for sin under every rock so you can be good enough for God. Or maybe you believe you’re pretty good on your own and you don’t truly need God’s grace and mercy. But both identities are built precariously upon self-reliance and our own efforts—all of which is sinking sand.
So if not in ourselves, where can we ground our faith? After seeing Jesus perform various miracles—including feeding five thousand people with just a few fish and loaves of bread—a crowd came to Jesus and said, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” To which Jesus replied, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29, emphasis mine). So whether you find yourself face-to-face with the ugliness of your sin and the depth of your inability to be right with God through your own efforts or you feel like you’re pretty good and don’t need Jesus as much as other people who are “much worse than you,” the answer is the same—believe! Don’t believe in yourself or your performance or your “goodness.” Believe in the one whom God sent!
This is our hope and firm foundation—that God has provided all we need in and through Jesus Christ. From beginning to end, the Scripture is clear that salvation is of God. He promised it in the garden, finished it on the cross, confirmed it with an empty tomb, guaranteed it through the gift of His Holy Spirit, and will one day consummate it when Christ returns. So while faith may feel like it's based on something intangible, it is not an abstract or empty hope. It is a sure and steady foundation, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. Believe in the one God sent!
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Women’s Discipleship Advisor
The passages below provide a solid picture of the foundation of our faith. As you read each passage, take note of the following questions. It might be helpful to write out answers or observations in the margins of your Bible or in a journal.
- What does this passage say about God’s provision to us in Christ—who he is and what he offers?
- What does the passage say are the results of Jesus’ work?
- What does the passage say is required of you?
- How do these truths encourage or challenge your faith?
John 6:22-69 | Our faith is founded on a person.
Jesus was clear about who he was, what he had been sent to do, and what he had to offer all who would believe in him.
“For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-20 NLT | Our faith is rooted in a historical event.
Our faith is not based on myth or legend but on the fact that a real person lived in a particular time and place, and the events surrounding his life are the most important elements of our Christian faith.
“And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.”
Ephesians 2:1-10 NLT | Our faith is a gift of God.
A gift cannot be earned or it’s not a gift. A gift can only be given. As believers, we must make a decision on whether or not we will receive the gift with thanksgiving or reject it out of pride or a desire to earn it on our own merit.
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
His work on our behalf changes our status before him. Not only are we washed clean, but we are declared righteous without working for it.
“When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.”
Jesus is both the originator of our faith and the finisher of our faith. This means that from beginning to end, faith is born of God, sustained by God, and brought to its full completion by God.
“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
The Gospel of John is one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life and, according to its author, was written so that “you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The Bible Project calls John’s gospel “a radical declaration of Jesus’ identity as the long-awaited Messiah and the Son of God.” In these two videos from The Bible Project, we learn just who Jesus says he is and what he has come to do.
Bible Project | Summary of John 1-12
Bible Project | Summary of John 13-21
“John has strategically placed seven moments in his story where Jesus says, ‘I am’ followed by some astounding claims: ‘I am . . . the Bread of Life . . . the Light of the World . . . the Gate for the Sheep . . . the Good Shepherd . . . the Resurrection . . . the Way, the Truth, and the Life . . . the True Vine.’”
- In the midst of enduring many trials, Paul wrote to Timothy and said, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). Paul was able to endure because he knew whom he believed. Paul was crystal clear on who Jesus is and what he had come to do, and he knew him intimately as his Savior. How well do you know whom you have believed? What might it look like for you to become intimately acquainted with Jesus?
- Do you lean more towards self-contempt (maximizing your sin) or self-righteousness (minimizing your sin)? Although either extreme can mask itself as spirituality, they both produce a form of self-reliance that keeps us disconnected from our faith. How has either of these kept you from relying on what Christ has done as the foundation of your faith? Is your spiritual security in Christ or something else?
- Picture your faith and relationship with God as a house. What image comes to mind? How would you describe both the outside and the inside? What is the house built on? How is the foundation? Is it crumbling? In need of repair? What else do you notice? What changes need to be made?
- Either listen to or read the gospel of John this month in preparation for Easter. John is writing this book as an eyewitness to the life of Christ. According to his own words, this book is written to bolster our faith and give us confidence in the object of our faith—Jesus Christ. As you read, keep a list of who Jesus claims to be and what he says he has come to do. Refer back to the list whenever you need to be reminded and have your faith bolstered.
- We created a guide to help you reflect on the implications of what Christ has done for you. This guide could be worked through a section at a time over this month or you could set aside intentional time during Holy Week in preparation for Easter.