Yesterday I shared some thoughts on faith. I was flipping through a textbook from a class I took several years ago: Christian Theology by Alister McGrath (Blackwell Publishing, 2007). In a section on the nature of faith, McGrath discusses Martin Luther’s views on faith. I appreciated them and wanted to share. Luther stated:
Everything depends upon faith. The person who does not have faith is like someone who has to cross the sea, but is so frightened that he does not trust the ship. And so he stays where he is, and is never saved, because he will not get on board and cross over.
McGrath goes on to share the following thoughts:
“Faith is not merely believing that something is true; it is being prepared to act on that belief, and relying upon it. To use Luther’s analogy: faith is not simply about believing that a ship exists – it is about stepping into that ship, putting to sea, and entrusting ourselves to it.
But what are we being asked to trust? Are we being asked simply to have faith in faith? For Luther, the question could perhaps be phrased more accurately as follows: who are we being asked to trust? For Luther, the answer was unequivocal: faith is about being prepared to put one’s trust in the promises of God, and the integrity and faithfulness of the God who made those promises. Faith is only as strong as the one whom we believe and trust. The efficacy of faith does not rest upon the intensity with which we believe, but in the reliability of the one in whom we believe. The content of faith matters at least as much as, and probably far more than, its intensity…Trust is not an occasional attitude. For Luther, it is an undeviating trusting outlook upon life, a constant stance of conviction of the trustworthiness of the promises of God.” [From pages 182-183]
I’m thankful that my faith does not rest upon the intensity with which I believe, but in the reliability of THE ONE in whom I believe!