Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
- Christians today may have heard this message so often that we are in danger of losing the meaning - like a word that is repeated so often it just becomes a meaningless sound.
What is this "faith" all about? How do we know we really "have" it ... Faith in what or who, exactly? I guess that is a huge topic because tons of books have been written on this over the years. But for me two verses from the bible echo in my head right away because they are part of the answer.
Somewhere in Hebrews (11:6) It says that: "...Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." (the reward of course is the realization and presence of God himself).
This verse was a cornerstone for me when I had to rebuild my faith in God's existence from the ground up as a mature adult... (long story for another time). It made me realize that in order to "prove or disprove" God's existence, I had to start with a leap of faith.
I had to begin by assuming God was actually real, giving him the benefit of the doubt, as it were, then start watching for the evidence He would provide.
This was not an easy thing for me to do, considering that I generally require very hard, rational evidence for believing anything. But I told myself that I could start with a presumption... A "what if," ... A sort of thought experiment then see what happens.
What this led to was a very long slow process of reinterpreting reality. My rational, critical mind says perhaps all I have done is to delude myself. That I'm living in a strange fantasy world of my own creation, encouraged by many other like-minded crazy people.
But when I compare the evidence of who I was before and what I was becoming to the person I am now and becoming even more like (with faith), I am forced to conclude that something very right and good is going on.
It is significant though to mention here that what and who I become are dependent upon which "version" of God I believe and have faith in. This is crucial, and explains, at least to me, why so much religion often leads to big trouble. C.S. Lewis said it well:
I think we must fully face the fact that when Christianity does not make a man very much better, it makes him very much worse...
Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst. --C.S. Lewis
There are many other confirmations that my faith actually has me living in a closer harmony with the reality of this world we all occupy, but that is another topic for another day.
The other faith-related text that comes to mind is by the apostle Paul who said, somewhere: "the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love."
I don't have the chapter/verse handy for this but you can google it.