Faith For What?
by Ernest O'Neill
Most of us wonder what life is really about. We don't, of course, express this to other people because they all seem to know. So, we keep on living day after day and do the things we're supposed to. Eventually, we avoid this basic question altogether and get lost in the details of sheer subsistence. But, now and again, if illness strikes or some relative dies, we do wonder about the purpose of existence.
The Reason We're Here
We're here to share actually the life and abilities and attitudes of another person. From childhood days we were taught that Jesus Christ was God's Son and that he came to save us from our sins by his death and give us a pattern for living by his life. We were taught that he was vitally different from Buddha and the other great religious leaders because He was God's only begotten-Son whereas they were just human beings like the rest of us. Their bodies were buried as ours will be, but His body came alive after death and then rose up and left the earth and has never been found. He now lives with His Father in heaven.
But this Jesus was much more than all of this. He wasn't only the creator's personal son long before there was any physical universe - he himself actually became also the first human being. This is the remarkable fact stated in Colossians 1:15 in the Bible: "He was the first-born of all creation". The usual concept is that Jesus came down to earth for about 30 years, put on a human body, then accepted its destruction, and went back to being God's son. But the Bible is full of statements that affirm Jesus not only is the Creator's Divine Son but also that he became human in the timeless-spaceless world of eternity. He is the perfect Man and out of Him we were all made!
That's the greatest surprise. But it is stated repeatedly in the Bible. In John 1:3 "all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made"; in Ephesians 2:10 "we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"; in Ephesians 1:6 "you were destined in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will". Long before you appeared on earth through the physical union of your father and mother, you were part of God's only-begotten Son. This doesn't mean you or I are Christ ourselves - our sonship or daughtership is derived from His: that's why the Bible states we are adopted children of God. But it does mean we have capabilities and qualities that belong to our real father (in Isaiah 9:6 Christ is called Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace".
How Should We Think of Ourselves?
Why then do we not naturally heal sicknesses and express the patience and love of Jesus? Because God gave us free will. He gave us the right and ability to live as if we were not part of Him and His Son! That's why we're the way we are at present. You may say this is stupid to give us the freedom to live a lie, but that's how committed God is to begetting children who are really like himself and his son - people who are truly free and love him because they want to - not because they have to. According to Romans 8:29 "those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His son that He might be the first-born among many brethren" .
Because of this plan to have a family of free-will agents who love and trust because they want to, the Creator has allowed us to see in physical form the lives we would live if we were apart from Him. This is the life we see around us at this moment - the life of the world, society, and ourselves that would result if we were not a part of the Creator's only Son. But this is not our real nature - our real nature is that of Christ, the Son of God. He still holds us inside Himself - despite all our selfishness, pride, and covetousness. He bears all this inside Himself because it is part of Him - because we are part of Him. This is the pain of our sins that He bears in order to continue to maintain our existence. This is the extreme but necessary agony that our Creator bears in His son in order for us to see clearly what life outside God is like. Only thus can we make a real choice between life and death!
Nevertheless, our real nature and capacities are those of the Being in whom we have been made - not the pale, grey shadow that we experience daily through our attempt at autonomy. The only way to live realistically what we are is to see plainly that we are part of Christ himself and that He has a life to live in us here on earth that will complete His father's creation. The Bible constantly speaks of this attitude as "faith", but we look at it from our temporary unreal self-centered life and think of it as some kind of imagining what isn't true. The exact opposite is reality - faith is seeing ourselves as we really are - part of the Maker's only Son! As soon as we begin to think of our lives in this way, our own lives commence to make sense, the failings of our present world can be understood, and we ourselves enter into a fuller existence.
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