“The Gospel reveals that we get right with God on the basis of faith alone; as it is written, ‘The righteous person shall live by faith.'” (Romans 1:17)
As a young pastor I would ask people to make the good confession of faith. It went like this: “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” But believing in who Jesus was (or is) ends up somewhat short of Paul’s intention.
Let me lay it on the table. I wish we would consistently replace the word faith that keeps cropping up throughout Romans (and the New Testament as a whole) with the word trust. It changes everything, and it drives to the heart of the Gospel.
While we want and need an historical and legitimate foundation for faith, it is trusting someone (Jesus) that actually gives life to us.
In the opening chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul quotes from Habakkuk 2:4 — “The righteous person shall live by faith.” It’s a marvelous text, and all the more powerful when we grasp the message behind those brief few words. Here’s my paraphrase…
“People are made fully alive and made right with God when they trust Him with everything.”
That’s what Lent denotes.
Each day invites us to trust Christ more fully. Will we trust Him with our past? Can we hand Him our regrets, our if onlys, and stop the self-beatings and receive grace? Will we trust Him with our future? Can we hand Him our what ifs, and release our anxieties and fear into His care?
Faith is not what you believe, it is who you trust.
As we trust Christ with more, we flourish. As we trust Him with the unknown, we have peace. As we trust Him with our pain, we receive comfort. As we trust Him with our dreams, we learn contentment.
We have defined and defended the historical Jesus very well. Have we learned to truly trust the risen and Present Christ with today’s challenges and reality?
Whatever today brings, let’s trust Him.