One Fallen Man’s Statement of Faith
Statement of Faith pages are sometimes hard to read. How many times have your eyes glassed over after reading your 24th “We believe…” declaration on a church’s website? Oftentimes, each statement is set against each other without any explanation as to how the two statements relate – and this is because they were probably just copied and pasted from another website.
This, of course, isn’t the Statements’ fault. Statements are hard for us to read because in our postmodern age we are naturally skeptical of declarative statements. This is particularly true of statements that do not seem as if thought was put into them.
But it’s also true that Statements of Faith are hard to understand because each tries to convey a massive concept in just a few words.
Making declarative statements are unavoidable. We make them all the time in serious conversations and when writing a creed or a mission statement you can’t get around them.
The following no doubt stumbles into the same pitfalls as any other creed or mission statement. There are declarations here…there are lots of them. But hopefully you will find that my “little creed” was written with a desire to pull statements together in a cohesive way that fairly represents Scripture. I also wrote it with the modern reader in mind and wrote it as personally as possible.
Thanks for reading.
One Fallen Man’s Statement of Faith
It was such a simple moment. Eve reached; Adam accepted; both ate and so ended the glory of the human race. A single decision over a piece of fruit tore the fabric of the cosmos and ended the goodness of humanity.
It was all so pointless. God had given them perfect bodies in a perfect world. There was no sickness or death to add to their temptations. There were no bitter injustices to absorb or evil habits to suppress. There was only perfection and peace, and both gambled away Paradise for a self-absorbed dream.
When Eve reached for the forbidden fruit, she reached thinking that she would become a god. She wanted God’s freedom and power. She wanted his wisdom to create worlds with her words and to be feared by the creatures she made. But Eve did not want to honor the One who had made her, nor was she thankful to him for saturating her heart with peace and joy.
Eve’s fall began when she trusted in the lie of an inferior creature. It ended when she placed her hope in a piece of fruit that could not hear or speak. And just as Eve deceived herself, so she deceived her more than willing husband: A man who so easily tossed aside his Creator for a nightmare. Like his wife, he too was found by his God in the cool of the day, with a heart full of doubt and a secret crush on himself.
Though centuries have risen and fallen since sin entered the world nothing has changed. The blueprint of our parent’s sins is still the blueprint of our sins today. God is not honored by what we do, nor is he praised by what we say. And the proof of this goes far beyond elevated crime statistics or the various movements that seek to eliminate God from the public square, because even our kindest acts reveal our self-love. Humanitarians feed the poor and clothe the homeless, but they do not serve to spread the name of Jesus. Instead, they serve to soothe their fragile consciences without ever having to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Devoted mothers may sacrifice themselves for their children, but their sacrifices aren’t humble offerings before God. They’re sacrifices to their self-esteem; and their hearts live outside of faith because they place their hope in living idols that cannot save them from themselves.
The essence of sin is very simple. Every sin sells you the irresistible dream that you can become a god and every sin intoxicates you with the desire to protect and feed this delusion. This is why people lie to protect their reputations and why they lie to enlarge them. It’s why wives verbally abuse their husbands to hide their insecurities and why husbands enjoy beating their wives when they release their pent up anger.
And if you’ve ever wondered why God makes so much of faith in Scripture it is simply this: Saving faith in Jesus Christ pries the human heart away from the deadly, universal faith of self-salvation. It scatters the fog of self-love that rises from the cesspool of ordinary doubts.
The first thing that saving faith requires is believing that an all-knowing, all-powerful God is greater than your heart, aware of your sin and is more than capable to do something about it. Next, saving faith requires that you accept that God loves you in spite of yourself and that he offered himself to remove your sin. And finally, saving faith requires that you savor the fact that the Lord Jesus rose from the grave. For by embracing him as he is, you happily accept that he conquered sin, death and hell and that he holds the payment for your sin secure at the right hand of God the Father.
These three pillars of transcendent truth are the holy trinity of saving faith and from them emerge the fullness of God. The first compels you to believe in the justice and wrath of God the Father. The second captures your heart that acknowledges the mercy and love of God the Son. And the third seizes hold of your mind to embrace the power and wisdom of God the Holy Spirit.
As souls are bathed in the light of these truths, sinners are revealed for what they really are. Atheists reject the first pillar. There is no fear of God in their hearts because they believe there is nothing to fear. They refuse to entertain even the existence of God and so they extinguish faith before it can ever begin. Moralists reject the second pillar. They refuse to accept that Christ paid for their sin and so they cannot offer him a grateful and trusting heart. They are crushed by despair as they desperately search for a path to God through themselves. And finally, worldly, lukewarm hedonists reject the third pillar. In their misery they offer no obedience to God as the waves of guilt, superstition and indifference crash hard against their lifeless souls. They praise God in vain because they refuse to leave lusts that they think God cannot overcome.
But the purifying power of saving faith purges us from the belief that godliness can be grasped through lifeless things. The Spirit of the Living God gives us the faith to believe in the fullness of Jesus as it ignites the transformational alteration that sweeps across our empty souls and invades all aspects of our lives. When the precious Holy Spirit drives his Living Sword deep in the heart, he produces fruit in keeping with repentance, love in keeping with a humble trust and the indescribable joy that rests in the confidence that Christ’s death and resurrection will one day restore it to perfection and raise it to everlasting life. And left in the ashes is that ancient, dark lie that God’s creation could somehow be harnessed to defeat God himself, and left in the dust is the fleeting dream that we could ever touch God’s greatness without tasting the goodness of his power.