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    TRUE FAITH(Questions 59-60)

    We have been taking our time and looking very closely at the Apostles Creed. Now that we have completed it, we must ask ourselves an important question. Do we really believe what it says? And if we do, so what? Does it really make a difference that we believe all of the articles and the things they imply? The answer is yes! It does make a bigdifference, because if we believe these things it means that we have "true faith". And whoever has true faith has eternal life. Whoever has true faith is accepted by God and righteous in His eyes.

    59. How does it help us to believe all these things?
    That we may know we are righteous in Christ before God and heirs of eternal life.

    60. How are we righteous before God?
    Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.

    In today's lesson we will learn what true faith is. It is a very exciting thing, something that will change our lives once we understand it. Because once we get true faith into our heads and hearts, we can begin to live a life of gratitude towards God. Let's look at two statements that will help us to get a grasp on this important doctrine.

    1. Even though I know I have sinned against all the commandments of God and I still want to do evil, God covers me with the perfect holiness of Christ.
    The first thing we want to realize is that true faith is not some kind of work that we do. Alot of people these days put their faith in "faith" and this is wrong. This is wrong because as we have learned throughout the catechism, there is nothing in us that God sees as worthy or deserving of reward. As a matter of fact, everything we do deserves punishment or judgment-even the things we do as Christians. Don't ever think that you will come to a place where you are good in and of yourself. You may be a Christian for many, many years and still you will have to face the fact that you are not good enough in God's eyes. Look at these verse from the Apostle Paul. He wrote these after being a Christian for some time...

    Romans 7:21-25

    Paul is being honest and admitting that there is nothing good in him that God would find worthy of rewarding. Paul understood what true faith was. True faith isn't looking at how good we are. Faith is not looking at something we do ourselves to earn God's favor. No, faith is looking away from ourselves to He who earned salvation for us. Paul says it in verse 24, "Who shall save me from this body of sin? Jesus Christ!" Therefore it is Jesus whom we should always look to. This is explained in the second statement about what true faith is.

    2. God sees me as if I have never sinned and rewards me as if I have kept all the commandments perfectly.

    You see, faith is not the source of our righteousness or holiness. Jesus is! And this second statement shows two important things that Jesus did for us. The first was by dying for us. Jesus came as the Lamb of God and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us. We who were evil and deserved death were spared and He who was sinless took our guilt and sin upon Himself. By this sacrifice He made it possible for us to be forgiven and accepted by God.

    Colossians 2:14

    You think that would have been enough for Christ to do. But He did one other important thing. Just as He credited His death to our account so God wouldn't hold anything against us, He also credited His life to our account! Jesus who lived a sinless, perfect life gives us perfection so that God sees us as if we have kept all the commandments perfectly! Do you know what this means? Not only will God NOT PUNISH us for what we have done, He will also REWARD US for what we have not done! God blesses us as if we have kept the Ten Commandments perfectly! Isn't this cool?

    Are you starting to get what true faith is now? Its all about Jesus and what He has done for us. All we do is believe! Can you believe that Jesus died for your sins? Can you believe that because of Jesus' death God sees you as holy and blameless? Then you have true faith. Can you believe that Jesus led a perfect and holy life? Can you believe that He took that perfection and credited to you? Can you believe that God will reward you for what Jesus has done? Then you have true faith!

    Now doesn't this make you want to love God more? Doesn't this make you want to serve Him more? Now that you understand how free you are you can spend your time worshipping God with a clean conscience. This is the goal of true faith. To free us from the old and help us to embrace the new.

    1. Is true faith based on what we do? If not, where should our faith be directed?
    2. Jesus died so we could be forgiven by God. What else does He credit to us?
    3. Can someone still be a Christian if they want to do bad things?

    1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz