Where does our faith come from?
From God! is the cry of any good Christian. And God alone!
After all, you’re not like those disbelieving Gentiles in the Old Testament. Some trust in chariots, but not you!
Well, if you’re reading this, more likely than not you drive to and from school or work each day. Clearly, that requires a bit of trust. So are you breaking the rules of the five solae?
Of course not. But then what, exactly, does sola fide mean?
In the nineteenth century, when the five solae (sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria) were first solidified, the term faith meant something rather different than what it does today. And fide, in its original Latin, meant something even more removed from the modern interpretation. Specifically, it referred to a complete and total trust in something – the placing of your life in its hands.
Oh, thank goodness. The only things I trust in that sense are God and the Bible.
Really? Well, that’s quite fascinating. In fact, the Bible goes beyond even your earthly life – it refers to the entrustment of your heavenly life. The eternal one. Into the hands of God.
Isn’t that a bit of a big commitment?
What did you expect? It’s only your eternal salvation – or your eternal punishment, whichever route you choose. There are quite a few people who would deny they even have an eternal life to give.
At least it’s nice and abstract – I don’t actually have to do anything.
Well, that’s not the whole story. If you are prepared to hand your eternal fate, your earthly life, and the whole of your existence over to the One who can bring you joy, you’ve got to be prepared for a bit of payment – not a necessary payment, but an expected one. It is not an unparalleled exchange – and yet it is. Recall, on the one hand, the sinner on the cross, who needed only to believe and repent to be saved; recall, on the other hand, the life of Paul, who did all he could after his conversion to glorify the work of God.
So what’s the point of all this hullaballoo? Do I need works to be saved or not?
Need works? Of course not. This is the folly of Catholicism, and it leads down the road that has left them as a ‘many-ways-to-heaven’ religion. But to not share God’s word, to hide your light on a hill – that is wrong. Not only scripturally but morally. For if you hide your light for the sake of keeping up appearances on earth, you will have no one to keep up appearances with in heaven.
But by no means consider this a deal-breaker. The short mist of life, that rises for a short time and passes away, may be thrown away, spent away from those who disbelieve – or better yet, spent witnessing to those who disbelieve, but if you have faith – if you have fide, the faith for which the reformers died – you will exchange it for an eternity of rejoicing in heaven.