One afternoon, a driver on the New Jersey Turnpike was shocked at what he saw happen up ahead. While a Lincoln Town Car was traveling at full speed, the rear door opened and a passenger shoved a collie on to the pavement. The dog hit the concrete, rolled over several times, then landed in a ditch. Bleeding profusely, the collie got up and limped after the car and owner who had abandoned him so cruelly. Brennan Manning writes, “The dog’s relentless faithfulness was not conditioned or diminished by the abuse and callous disregard of his master.” The loyalty of the collie in this heartbreaking story captures the essence of God’s attitude toward humanity. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus died for us, “while we were still sinners”. Even though mankind had rejected him, Christ’s only thought was to continue to relentlessly pursue us by going to a cross on our behalf. Because the savior is so astonishingly and profoundly faithful to us, he is eminently worthy of our trust. In order to respond appropriately, we need to know what kind of trust God expects from us. Jesus once asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” He is not simply referring to the quantity of faith, but, more importantly, its quality. What sort of faith is the Son of God looking for? In this lesson we will explore the answer to that vital question by looking at various characteristics of biblical faith. We are treating the words “faith” and “trust” as essentially synonymous.
Trust in a Person
God certainly wants us to trust in Scripture and the information it contains. But more than that, we are invited to put our trust in the author of that information, the Son of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ”. It takes a powerful person whose heart beats with infinite love to provide us with the new life we need for daily living and the hope we need for the future. The carpenter from Nazareth, the flesh and blood human who is also fully divine, is just that kind of person. It is in his character, his caring, his ability, that we place our confidence and trust. Salvation is personal. It is a relationship.
Trust is a Gift
The kind of trust that Christ is looking for cannot be self-generated. Our sinful, insecure hearts are not capable of producing it. We cannot grit our teeth and make ourselves trust. Like everything else in the spiritual life, it has to be a gift from our redeemer. Paul knew from experience that he could not have created his own trust in God from within himself. It had to be “authored” from the outside, from a divine source. We can nurture trust, but only God can place it within us to begin with. We can grow God’s gift and deepen it through Bible study, prayer, and exercising faith, but we cannot originate it.
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