Phony Faith or Genuine Trust
Do you trust me?
Faith alone saves but never faith that is alone.
Welcome to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Light of Christ Anglican Church is located in Georgetown, Texas at MLK and University Avenue. We are a modern expression of the ancient faith. You can learn more about us at lightofchristgeorgetown.org.
Our sermon soundbite today comes from Isaiah chapter one, verses 14 and 15. "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood."
The prophet Isaiah speaks a hard word to the people of God warning them of phony faith. What does it mean to have genuine trust in God?
Phony faith or genuine trust? Phony faith or genuine trust? It seems that Jesus has been talking about faith a lot, doesn't it? Faith and trust in Greek are actually the same word. I like to use the word trust because I think it evokes a more accurate idea of what we're talking about here. So while faith and trust in God doesn't require a resume, it always does lead to a change in behavior. In other words, repentance.
Remember what repentance means? You're going one way, and you turn the other, right? It's a change of mind. It's a turning. It literally means turning or change of mind.
Think about it this way. I don't know if this is a true story or if it's fiction, but someone once told me that there was a man who could walk a tight rope over Niagara Falls with a wheelbarrow. He would go back and forth with this wheelbarrow, and you could see him do it. Now it's one thing to stand on one side of Niagara falls and say, "Oh yeah, I believe he can do it." But what if he comes to you with the wheel barrel and says, "Hey, hop in." Right? Then it's revealed is this a phony faith or is this a genuine trust because if you really trust that he can do it, then what will you do?
You will jump in, right? And so here in our Old Testament passage in Isaiah and in our New Testament passage, we see the dichotomy and the difference between phony faith and genuine trust in God. Genuine trust in God always changes behavior. It always changes behavior. The Reformers said it this way, "Faith alone saves, but never faith that is alone." In other words, God's not requiring us to bring works or a resume to God to have a relationship with him. Think about yourself, and the man who's inviting you into the wheelbarrow, does it matter what you've done in the past at that moment when he asked you to get in? No. What does matter is trust, but that trust inevitably leads to action. No resume is needed, yet trust in God always produces real change in our lives.
Thank you for listening to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Let us end our time together with a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. This prayer for social justice can be found on page 659.
Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.