22 Jun Foundations of Faith – The Essence of Spiritual Life
In order to construct a stable building on this earth a good foundation is indispensable. A proper foundation is required before constructing the superstructure. The superstructure is built on the foundation. No superstructure can be built without laying the foundation first. If a person chooses to follow the Way, acknowledges as being a sinner, invites Jesus into his heart as the saviour and Lord, trusts and honours Him, then, he becomes a child of God. As a believer his life is compared to the construction of a building, as believers are God’s building (I Cor. 3:9) and in Jesus they are also being built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph 2:22). His faith is founded in the Lord Jesus whom God chose for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation (Isa. 28:16).
The foundation of faith in spiritual life is not a man-made creed, a denomination or a religious ceremony. The foundation is Jesus Christ. The foundation of faith must be laid according to the builder’s plan. The Bible gives the plan of the master builder, Jesus Christ. Some professing believers attempt to build their lives by getting involved in busy schedules of meetings, programs, camps and retreats etc. They like to show their outward spiritual life as praiseworthy. But in the long run, their foundation of faith begins to flounder. They become discouraged and backslide. “They have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.”(2 Peter 2:20). Therefore, for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11).
The foundation of faith is based on God’s word. God’s word stands firm like a rock [foundation]; nothing can shake it (II Tim 2:19). As a believer, the Scripture in Romans10:17 “. . . Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God”, gives us knowledge on how faith comes. The Bible charts believer’s life within the compass of God’s will. God’s word is a lamp for his feet and a light to his path. (Psa. 119:105). Like newborn babies, when believers crave pure spiritual milk, that is the word of God, they grow up in salvation (I pet 2:2) and increase in faith. The word of God speaks at the time of our needs and crises and builds up our faith. Faith to believe God’s word is the very basis of receiving the promises that He says we can have. As we stand on the promises of God we experience victory over failures and defeat all vile attacks of the evil one. Our faith grows stronger as we are grounded and rooted in God’s word.
Building a proper spiritual foundation is part of the doctrine [teachings] of Jesus as illustrated in Luke 6:47-49: “As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” This passage records that the people were “astonished at His doctrine.” Part of that doctrine was the story He told about building on a good foundation. Steps to the foundation are (i) coming to Him, (ii) hearing the word and (iii) doing the word. “But do not just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves (James 1; 22).
The epistle to the Romans (Chapter 5:1-5) teaches our justification through faith, peace with God, access to God’s grace and boasting not only in the hope of glory of God but also glory in our sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. God’s love moves our hearts to share our lives with others in deed and words. Believers become witnesses of transforming gospel and reach out to others in community to fulfil social and spiritual needs. Out of concern and burden of reaching out to others, believers have started holistic ministry in orphanages, old age homes, homes for disabled, hospitals, schools and colleges along with evangelism and missions. Almost all organisations are faith ministries as they walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor. 5:7) and serve God to fulfill His purpose for every created being. The Lord desires everyone to be saved, none to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
The purpose of spiritual “building” in a believer is to provide a habitation [a dwelling place] for God. His Spirit will dwell in a believer only when life is built on the right foundation. Paul asked: Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (I Corin. 3:16). “But the firm foundation laid by God stands sure and unshaken, bearing this seal and inscription: The Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who names himself by the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it. (II Tim. 2:19). God calls us to live a life that is holy and free from evil and wicked ways. Moral purity should be our standard as we pursue to live in a way that honours God. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body (I Cor. 6:18). We are called upon to put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (Col 3:5) without being conformed to this world (Rom 12:1). The uncompromisingly righteous has an everlasting foundation (Prov. 10:25).
If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble (Henry B. Eyring, Religious leader). Spiritual faith foundation is eternal as Timothy mentions in I Timothy 6:19 “..Laying up for themselves the riches that endure forever, a good foundation for the future. . . ” In the spiritual journey every believer should progress, as apostle Paul admonishes in the general epistle of Hebrews, to go on unto perfection leaving principles of the doctrine of Christ and beyond laying again foundation of repentence from dead works, and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment (Heb. 6:1-2).
«compiled from the course notes of Harvestime.com with permission» Ref: www.harvestime.org
Dr. Nanda Dulal works as Group Director in a Government organisation and lives with his wife Geetanjali in Bangalore.