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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Faith comes by hearing

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.11.2015 12.00

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:21
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Many mem­bers of the pe­op­le of Is­ra­el he­ard the te­ac­hings of Je­sus, but they did not all act ac­cor­ding­ly. In them came true the prop­he­cy of the prop­het, ac­cor­ding to which “their ears are dull of he­a­ring, and their ey­es they have clo­sed; lest at any time they should see with their ey­es, and hear with their ears, and should un­ders­tand with their he­art, and should be con­ver­ted” (Mat 13:15). The word that they he­ard did not re­ach their he­art. He­a­ring the word did not pro­fit them, as they did not be­lie­ve it (Heb 4:2).

The plea, ”Speak Lord, thy ser­vant he­ars,” is im­por­tant for all ser­vi­ce gu­ests–both child­ren of God and those who are se­arc­hing for the king­dom of God and the mer­ci­ful God. God is ab­le to open the ears – the ears of the he­art – to hear (Psa 40:7).

Faith is the work of God

God awa­kens an un­be­lie­ving per­son to hear His word in many dif­fe­rent ways. Ex­pe­rien­ces of loss or suc­cess in life, one’s own or a dear one’s il­l­ness, the de­ath of a dear one, or the examp­le and way of life of a dear one may cau­se a per­son to stop and exa­mi­ne one’s own life from the pers­pec­ti­ve of eter­ni­ty. Ne­vert­he­less, God es­pe­ci­al­ly cau­ses man to pau­se by and through His word. When Mar­tin Lut­her’s cons­cien­ce awa­ke­ned, he was sor­row­ful over his own sins. ”My sins, my sins, my great sins,” he la­men­ted. The most im­por­tant qu­es­ti­on be­ca­me: where can I find the mer­ci­ful God; how can I be­co­me a child of God?

Lut­her taught: ”I be­lie­ve that I can­not of my own re­a­son or strength be­lie­ve in Je­sus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has cal­led me through the Gos­pel, en­ligh­te­ned me by His gifts, and sanc­ti­fied and pre­ser­ved me in the true faith, even as He cal­ls, gat­hers, en­ligh­tens and sanc­ti­fies the whole Chris­ti­an Church in the true faith.” (Ca­tec­hism, exp­la­na­ti­on of the 3rd ar­tic­le of the Creed)

The Holy Spi­rit has a cong­re­ga­ti­on on this earth. As Lut­her says, it is the ”mot­her who gi­ves birth and car­ries each and eve­ry Chris­ti­an by the word of God” (Lar­ge Ca­tec­hism).

Je­sus left the po­wer to for­gi­ve sins to His own dis­cip­les. Ab­so­lu­ti­on is the true voi­ce of the gos­pel. It com­forts and calms the cons­cien­ce. ”Faith co­mes by he­a­ring,” as Paul says. Je­sus said to His own: ”He who he­ars you, he­ars me.”

The li­ving and life-gi­ving gos­pel is pre­sent in the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God through the Holy Spi­rit. God gi­ves birth to his child­ren by the Holy Spi­rit. The­re­fo­re, it is im­por­tant to find be­lie­ving pe­op­le, who as mem­bers of God’s king­dom ad­mi­nis­ter the of­fi­ce of the Holy Spi­rit: they free pe­op­le from the bonds of sin through the gos­pel.

Lut­her te­ac­hes in his book of ho­mi­lies: ”Thus faith does not come or stay ex­cept by he­a­ring and through out­ward pre­ac­hing of the gos­pel: the­re­by it is ab­le to be­gin and grow or be­co­me stron­ger.”

By grace alo­ne, through the me­rit of Christ

Faith is a gift of God. Each and eve­ry per­son is born in­to this world as an ow­ner of this gift. To a per­son that has lost his or her child­hood faith God gi­ves faith as a gift through the gos­pel that He proc­laims by the Holy Spi­rit in His king­dom. On­ly by faith is a per­son ac­cep­tab­le to God.

The ob­ject of faith is Je­sus Christ. What has Christ done? What has He ear­ned? This qu­es­ti­on is ans­we­red by the truth of the gos­pel: He re­dee­med man from sin, the po­wer of the De­vil, and eter­nal de­ath. When we own Christ by faith, we have righ­te­ous­ness and life.

The gift of faith is worth pre­ser­ving and nur­tu­ring. This re­qui­res all of God’s tools of grace. Christ strengt­hens our faith and inc­re­a­ses our hope through the sac­ra­ment of com­mu­ni­on – through the bread and wine. It is good to speak to the he­a­ven­ly Fat­her in pra­yer about things on our mind and thank Him for His gifts and help. The mem­bers of God’s fa­mi­ly are en­cou­ra­ged in their en­de­a­vor when they meet be­lie­vers at ser­vi­ces and dis­cuss about the way and the jour­ney with friends. The cong­re­ga­ti­on of God al­so has the pre­ci­ous gift of con­fes­si­on: a par­do­ned child of God has the right and the pos­si­bi­li­ty to speak to a con­fes­sor-fat­her or -mot­her about things that bur­den the mind and to hear the sweet mes­sa­ge of for­gi­ve­ness of sins.

The word of God – both read and he­ard – is es­sen­ti­al in ca­ring for one’s life of faith. Apost­le Paul inst­ructs us to read the Scrip­tu­res, re­min­ding us that ”All scrip­tu­re is gi­ven by ins­pi­ra­ti­on of God, and is pro­fi­tab­le for doct­ri­ne, for rep­roof, for cor­rec­ti­on, for inst­ruc­ti­on in righ­te­ous­ness: that the man of God may be per­fect, tho­rough­ly fur­nis­hed un­to all good works.” (2 Tim 3:16–17) Paul en­cou­ra­ges Ti­mot­hy: ”But con­ti­nue thou in the things which thou hast le­ar­ned and hast been as­su­red of, kno­wing of whom thou hast le­ar­ned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scrip­tu­res, which are ab­le to make thee wise un­to sal­va­ti­on though faith which is in Je­sus Christ.” (2 Tim 3:14–15)

We are inst­ruc­ted to hear the word of God by the third com­mand­ment, for examp­le, which Lut­her has exp­lai­ned: ”We should so fear and love God as not to des­pi­se pre­ac­hing and His Word, but deem it holy, and wil­ling­ly hear and le­arn it.” Stu­dying and he­a­ring the word is the best wors­hip and the best way to spend the Sab­bath.

Faith is a mat­ter of the he­art and a per­so­nal mat­ter. That is why watc­hing in one’s per­so­nal faith and he­a­ring the word of God and the gos­pel are im­por­tant. We have re­a­son to pray that God would pre­ser­ve in our he­art a de­si­re to hear and le­arn the word of God. It is dan­ge­rous if we get ti­red of the word of God. The apost­le warns against this, using the examp­le of cer­tain mem­bers of the cong­re­ga­ti­on of the Heb­rews: ”Not for­sa­king the as­semb­ling of our­sel­ves to­get­her, as the man­ner of some is; but ex­hor­ting one anot­her: and so much the more, as ye see the day ap­p­ro­ac­hing.” (Heb 10:25)

Obe­dien­ce of faith

God has gi­ven each of His child­ren a te­ac­her, the Holy Spi­rit. It gui­des the child of God in his or her en­de­a­vor. As the Spi­rit of God it ta­kes us along the nar­row way to our des­ti­na­ti­on. It te­ac­hes us to put sin away and gui­des us to the foun­tains of grace. In the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God it joins the child­ren of God to­get­her in­to one fa­mi­ly with bonds of love. The Spi­rit of God te­ac­hes its mem­bers to sup­port one anot­her with the word of God on the jour­ney. This te­ac­her ex­pects its child­ren to have the mind of a child and an obe­dient he­art. We ask to be pro­tec­ted in the flock of the Good Shep­herd so that we will re­ach the ob­jec­ti­ve of our faith – our soul’s sal­va­ti­on.

God bles­ses obe­dient child­ren. May we all have the re­qu­est that yo­ung Sa­mu­el had: ”Speak [Lord]; for thy ser­vant he­a­reth.” (1 Sam 3:10)

Text: Ai­mo Hau­ta­mä­ki

Trans­la­ti­on: KK

Sour­ce: Tu­le­vai­suu­teen ja toi­voon, Vuo­si­kir­ja 2000

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 24.11.2015.

26.5.2022

Tämä Jeesus, joka otettiin teidän luotanne taivaaseen, tulee kerran takaisin, samalla tavoin kuin näitte hänen taivaaseen menevän. Ap. t. 1:11

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