Terry R. Baughman
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).
“What faith are you?”
As a young boy I remember hearing the question put to my grandfather by a visitor to a tent meeting in Northwest Arkansas. It was the beginning of a church in the small farm town of Lincoln. I had never considered that there were different faiths. In my simplistic and concrete view of the world there were only the saved and the lost. This was a learning moment.
My grandfather was a straightforward preacher who devoted himself to biblical teaching. His response was direct, “We are of the Apostolic faith. We believe and teach the Apostles doctrine.” Rather than appeal to denomination or organization he went back to the source, the New Testament foundation of the early church. This opened my eyes to understand three things: 1) faith must be Scriptural; 2) faith must be defensible; 3) faith must be personal.
The Apostle Paul declared, “No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11), and that we are, “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). When our faith is solely in Jesus Christ and we embrace the testimony of Scripture we have a steadfast foundation on which to build our lives.
There is an endless stream of philosophies, religions, and ideologies. There seems to be a tailor-made worldview to support every new idea that has ever been concocted. Many arguments sound good and some even make sense. However, for faith to be valid it must be grounded in the sure foundation of truth. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mt. 24:35; Mk. 13:31; Lu. 21:33). If we are to have a defensible faith it must be based on that which will endure the test of time and remain viable in eternity.
The “faith of our fathers” is a wonderful heritage, but faith cannot be inherited. It must be born anew in every generation and in every life. Faith must become personal, more than recited dogma or family tradition. There must be an experience of faith, an epiphany of the reality of our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is more than religious ritual or weekly observance. Faith must be intimate, authentic, and ingrained in the very fabric of our lives. To be faith it must be believed in the center core of our conviction, defended in the face of detractors, and celebrated with certainty.
Let your faith become as resolute as the early believers, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
“I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:5).