“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen.
He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’”
(1 Samuel 7:12)
Rifling through my desk drawer, looking for something that I still cannot find, I happened to come across a brief statement of faith that I wrote about 10 years ago. The statement was part of an assignment that I gave to the participants of an adult retreat that I had been leading on the book of Jude. During the weekend study, I shared with the class that if you are called to stand for your faith, but cannot express your faith, you probably won’t stand for anything. I asked the group, including myself, to write a brief statement of faith. What follows is what I wrote as a statement of faith then, and I think it still applies today.
I know that I am a broken man, a sinner, who, left to his own ways, would continue to sin, rejecting God, His commands, and even His grace, mercy and love.
I know that God, who is holy, sovereign, and glorious in His majesty, is worthy of my praise, worship, honor, and obedience. In my sin, I do not honor God, and I fully deserve God’s wrath; and He is righteous and just in His judgment against me. Yet God is rich in mercy and steadfast in His love, and He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me.
Jesus was everything I was supposed to be and was not. He was without sin, living completely devoted to God, and completely loving His brothers and sisters. Even more, He took my sin, my guilt, my shame, my judgment, and He died on the cross in my place. Three days later, He rose from the dead, and now He lives and reigns with God, praying for me and for all who follow Him.
Through the grace of God and the love of Christ, I now live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches me through the inspired word of scripture how to live a life in response to God’s grace, mercy, and love. I am called to become Christlike, and can only do this by the Spirit working within me. I am called to be a faithful disciple, to follow Christ, to learn from Him, to receive his blessing, and to proclaim His gospel.
I did not choose Christ, he has chosen me.
I did not love God, he loved me.
I did not come to God, he came to me.
Everything I do from this point forward ought to be a response of thanksgiving and praise for all that He has done.
I believe that the Church is the body of Christ in the world today when the word of God is faithfully taught and preached, when the sacraments of baptism and communion are properly administered, and when, in love, we disciple and encourage one another in our maturing Christian journey.
I believe the world, now more than ever, needs to know the blessing of knowing Jesus as savior and lord – may it know this through me.
I think it is interesting to see how my focus has changed in some ways, but in many ways has stayed the same. What strikes me most is how I still sense the profound brokenness of my sin, and the amazing splendor of God’s grace for me in Jesus Christ. He is truly the Rock of My Salvation.