"There really is no place for Christ in many people's Christianity.
Their faith is not actually in Christ;
it is in Christianity and their ability to live it out."
- Paul David Tripp
A sermon delivered this past Sunday has some words I think Paul Tripp would want us to hear:
Audio: 3 minutes. (If audio does not show, click on the individual post title.)
What I want you to see here is simply this ... is how simple, how utterly simple a thing faith is. Faith is not a power. It's absolutely, utterly, and completely weak and empty. Faith has no power. Faith is the smallest thing in the world, it finds all its strength, all its power, all of its impressiveness, in its object. Faith grabs hold of, it receives that which it does not intrinsically own, that which it does not intrinsically have. The only thing Abraham could do is say, "Amen, be it done to me according to your word." Utterly helpless.
Faith actually comes about by God's word. In other words, it's God's word, it's God's promise that created, [and] called out the faith, in Abraham even. Biblical faith is not some human achievement or invention, it comes from the word of God. This is what the New Testament says ... faith comes by ... what? ... Hearing. I mean what's more helpless than hearing? What's more passive than that? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Believing comes by hearing.
You see, what this means, christian friend, if you're a christian, is that God doesn't accept you because you're such a good person, or are trying to be a good person, or someday hope to be a better person. God accepts you because you believed his promise ... not because of anything that you've done, not because of anything you promise to do. It's simply a gift received by faith. Moreover, God doesn't accept you because your faith is so strong, or so perfect. No, Abraham's faith is not. But God accepts you simply because in your helplessness you believe His promise.
Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus because God himself has already been sacrificed for you. This is what strengthens faith, this is what gives assurance of faith. What you need is to hear, not from conjured up within you some strength, but you need to hear again and again that God Himself has given everything at the cost of His own blood, for you. This is good news, and there's no other place that we can go to find our faith reassured than in this. We can no sooner fail, we can no sooner sink, than the Lord Jesus sink, for we have been wedded to Him, we have been given His righteousness.
-- from a sermon by Don Willeman