Lesson 9: Faith 5

At the heart of Christianity is, of course, faith in Christ Jesus. John says this means Jesus is the logos, the design, or the explanation of the world. If Jesus is the first thing God created, he becomes the pattern by which everything else is made. He is the key to understanding everything else in creation.

We usually translate “Logos” as “Word”, and claim that Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is God’s Word in the conversation taking place between God and humans. He is not only the first but also the last Word. In the end he will be the standard for our judgment.
And there is no doubt what John means by this when in I John he proclaims “God is love”. Love is what makes the world go round. So faith or trust in Jesus enables us to trust the world that he made, even though it might appear indifferent or even hostile to our normal perceptions, as Bob and Cordie observe in last week’s comments.

We often forget how radical this is. Christians comprehend the meaning of this world by seeing it through the life of a crucified Jewish rabbi. David Bentley Hart reminds us how scandalous this was and is in our pagan world. Christianity proclaims “a God who goes about in the dust of exodus for love of a race intransigent in its particularity; who apparels himself in common human nature, in the form of a servant; who brings good news to those who suffer and victory to those who are a nothing; who dies like a slave and outcast without resistance; who penetrates to the very depths of hell in pursuit of those he loves; and who persist even after death not as a hero lifted up to Olympian glories, but in the company of peasants, breaking bread with them and offering them the solace of his wounds.”

Erich Auerbach in Mimesis claims when the Bible proclaims this truth it becomes the first time that literature presents God concerned with common people. Before God relates to the exceptional; the kings and princesses, the beautiful and wise, generals and warriors, orators and poems; but not fishermen and tax collectors. Now God comes as an ordinary person to spend time with common people.

Every last person is valued. We easily forget saying everyone is born equal and has rights is a statement of faith not natural law. Certainly the natural world does not reveal this. Only faith in the God as the Father of Jesus Christ dares go that far.

When we speak of justification by grace through faith we simply mean Jesus makes us righteousness, and righteousness here means places us in a proper or right relationship with God. In that relationship we can see what life is really all about. Everything and everyone God creates is good. We participate in bringing about the will of God when we live out our faith in this truth.

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