Successful Faith
Encouraging Assurances from the Word of God

By Jon W. Quinn

There is a lot to be worried about today, isn't there? We are confronted with many problems that are real and need tending to. Our lives are less enjoyable due to problems such as crime, pollution, hunger, disease and so forth. But these are not our greatest problems - that would be our spiritual distress. Jesus asked, “What shall a man be profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul?”

However, all is not lost, and strong faith drives out cynicism as well as the depression and the despair it brings. Consider some encouraging assurances from God that will make our lives happier and freer to the extent we have faith in Him.

Let Us Rise Up and Build
The Christian has every reason to be confident and maintain peace of mind. He or she serves a God that is more powerful than adversity; a God who is able to bring His faithful children through it all to eternal victory - a never ending glory which far outshines anything we have experienced thus far. Not even the final problem with which each of us must deal - death - can defeat those who trust in the Resurrected One! (See 1 Corinthians 15:57).

Nehemiah once said, “Let us rise up and build.” The Scripture tells us that the people responded by “putting their hands to the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18). The city of Jerusalem had laid in ruins for a generation. A small band of courageous men and women set themselves to rebuilding the city of their ancestors even as they were surrounded by their enemies. Though their foes were powerful and their city just mounds of charred rubble, with God they succeeded. So it is with faithful Christians today. We live and speak for Christ. He will not let us down - we will put our hands to the good work.

He Will Make Your Paths Straight
In our age of cynicism and doubt, there is one to whom we can go and in whom we can trust. As the old hymn suggests, “Where could I go but to the Lord?” Security and peace of mind are needed by men and women today - but this has always been the case throughout human history. The Bible says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6).

It is a tragedy for any of us to accept aimlessness as a part of life. Depression occurs when one thinks that there is no longer much reason to live - no reachable, worthwhile goal to attain. But every one of us is born with the highest and noblest of purposes - to serve and glorify God. He promises to “make (our) paths straight” - that is, to give purpose and direction to our lives. But we must in turn “in all our ways acknowledge Him” - that is, in our homes, at our jobs, or school or as neighbors. It is always our duty to glorify God in every setting. It is our duty and privilege, and it will never end - not even beyond the grave and in eternity when He shares His ultimate glory with His faithful ones redeemed from the earth.

Death Loses Its Victory
Paul was in prison because of his faith in Jesus Christ. He was not sure what the future held - life or death. Inspired by the Holy Spirit as an apostle of Christ, he wrote of his dilemma. Surprisingly, the dilemma was not, “Oh, I dread the awful things that may happen to me.” His dilemma was that he could not decide which would be better; to live on in the world or to go home to God. He said, “...according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Philippians 1:20-24).

This is a statement of dynamic faith. Paul had taught others that true faith was like this; that it is even more precious than life itself. Paul believed and practiced what he preached to others. Of course, he had seen and talked with Jesus after the Lord's resurrection and ascension. His attitude, seen in these words written from a prison, show his truthfulness. He was taking his stand based on what he really believed, and in fact knew to be true.

The fear of death is cast down by faith. “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54,55). For the child of God, even the final enemy is vanquished in eternal victory.

Redeemed Through the Cross

Concerning Jesus, the Scriptures say, “Our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:13,14). Jesus' death on the cross was much like that of a common criminal. That's exactly the impression His enemies wanted to make… that Jesus was just an evil doer being put to death. And yet, Jesus had done no wrong. No one could make an accurate charge against Him. He had been betrayed and arrested; bound and shuffled from priest to governor to king in a series of rigged and unlawful procedures. He suffered beatings, loneliness and ultimately the brutality of the cross.

The amazing thing is that He had it within His power to stop the whole thing at any step along the way. The One who stilled the storm and raised the dead could have - but chose not to - call on legions of angels to dispense justice. But instead of that, He would endure the cross and dispense love, mercy and forgiveness. His enemies thought they were taking His life. In reality, He was giving it. There's a big difference!

He died that we might live; reborn to live a new life; and He now lives that we might live for Him today and with Him in eternity.

These have been some encouraging assurances from God that will make our lives happier and freer to the extent we have faith in Him. He desires our success, but also permits us to make our own decisions. Faith in Him will make a great difference in the courses our lives will take and their eternal conclusions!

From The Bradley Banner 9/5/2010
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway

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