Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lessons from a Chair

Let us, for the sake of demonstration, look at a common chair. Say you wanted to sit down in your living room. You approach the nearest chair, place your faith in that object, and seat yourself. If it holds you upright, your faith has been well placed; the chair is a worthy object of said faith. If it begins to wobble you realize that you may have to switch seats: that chair is not providing the assurance that it can perform the function it is accredited with. If it falls straightway out from beneath you, and you find yourself sitting on the floor, then the chair was indeed a poor object to trust that it might hold you up.

Now, when you sit down on the chair, is it your faith in that chair that is holding you up? Or is it the trustworthiness of the object in which that faith rests that holds you up? Obviously the latter, of course. Faith was demonstrated toward an object (the chair) based on evidence (the chair was designed to hold people in a sitting position) with which you based your faith. Once faith is exercised, it finds either an agreeable object on which to rest, or something that gives you no rest; i.e. the chair either will or will not hold you at all. Once on it, we no longer give active thought to what we have to do to keep sitting in that chair: will it fall from beneath me? Will it vanish away? No, faith rests on the object of its trust just as we sit in the comfort of our favorite chair.

That is when the testimonial begins. You have guests who look for something comfortable and trustworthy to sit in, and you direct them to your chair. It is a sturdy chair, and it will support you; I know, I’ve tested it and never found it lacking. Now, you can only carry the symbolism of the chair so far, but I hope you can clearly see the point I am getting at.

Jesus Christ, the object of our trust or faith, asks us to come to Him and rest, as one sits in a chair that we know can hold us aloft. It is not our faith that keeps us saved any more than it is our faith in a chair that keeps the chair performing its duties day after day. The chair was created to be a suitable and trustworthy place to sit; Jesus Christ came to sinners to be a sufficient and complete ransom for sin that removed in a redeemed sinner’s mind any more fear of coming judgment and the wrath of God; this is what it means to rest in Jesus Christ. Our faith was a vehicle that led us to “taste of the Lord and see that He is good.” Once there, it is the security of the object that upholds us, with nothing added from us.

Here is where religion fails. Rome is a chair whose seat shifts, and everyone trying to sit on it finds out a leg or two are missing, so they spend their entire life in the Roman church lurching back and forth, finding that while a measure of their trust resides in their chair of choice, a stronger measure must be centered in them; in their shifting back and forth and compensating for what the “chair” in question cannot do: namely provide a comfortable and secure place to rest one’s faith and hope in. It defeats the purpose of sitting to begin with. Why sit, if you are expending as much energy (or more) as you would standing? Rome proves itself an unsuitable place for someone to find rest, and therefore disqualifies itself as any hope of salvation for the souls of men, despite its vaunted claims.

Falling away preaches the same terrible things, only in different language. Rome claims one must work FOR one’s salvation; proponents of falling away claim we must work to MAINTAIN our salvation. Forgive the simplicity of this response, but as demonstrated with the chair, either the chair holds you up fully and faithfully, or it doesn’t. If you need to assist the chair in its duties, then it is time to find a new chair! Again, there is no rest to be found here, because assurance of salvation is removed one step, as you constantly shift and work to ensure that you are always in the faith; that is, serving God to earn wages for salvation so you don’t lose what He offers freely. Either Jesus Christ purchased eternal life completely and satisfactorily with His blood at the cross (which the Bible states He did) or He did not. If He did, then our efforts to be saved by grace and remain saved be human industry are a gross insult to His sufficiency. If He didn’t utterly pay the price for sin, then no is saved and nothing sinful men can do will ever remedy this: we are all Hell-bound.

Christ Jesus is a satisfactory place of rest for the soul. Do not be deceived: we come to our Savior in faith, and in faith rest in Him. Jesus died and was resurrected to bring to sinful men eternal life for anyone who places their faith in Him as Savior. Paul knew whom he has trusted, and was convinced that Christ could keep what was committed to His trust; namely Paul’s eternal destiny. Do we have this faith, confidence, and hope? If not, you insult the Son of God who died to liberate us from this bondage of fear. His sacrifice was accepted by the Father as demonstrated by the resurrection. Payment for sin is finished. Those in the Roman Catholic pail and those who preach falling away; why do you disgrace the Son of God with such lack of faith and the need to add to what our perfect God already accomplished? Either you are saved presently in this life as a gift of God’s grace through Christ Jesus our Lord, or you are not. If you are working to attain salvation, you will never accomplish your coveted goal, because God only grants eternal life as a gift of His grace, and grace cannot be earned. If you are working to maintain the salvation God offers in Christ Jesus because eternal life has apparently been entrusted to you as a loan which can be recalled, you fail to comprehend that Jesus Christ already suffered the penalty for every conceivable sin that would ever exist; He put away sin itself by the sacrifice of Himself. What will you hope to add to perfection?

The object of our faith must be worthy of our faith. In the case of the chair, it is an object we want to uphold us without having to worry constantly about whether or not we’ll wind up on the floor. In the case of salvation, we want a Savior who is fully capable of upholding His people without letting them fall away and be lost, or having to toil all their lives for something He says He freely gives to all who come empty of self. Is Jesus Christ a worthy object of our faith? Roman Catholicism says “no.” Falling away too says “no.”

We have all seen someone driving a car they do not have faith in; they fret, stare at the gauges, check the engine, kick the tires, etc. They do not really believe that vehicle will carry them from point A to point B. As reverently as I may say it, this is how too many who claim to love and be saved by Jesus Christ treat Him: a car that won’t ultimately get them to Heaven unless they maintain its repairs. In the case of a fallible created object (the car or chair) this may be so; in the case of our divine Creator, Redeemer and great God, He is worthy of trust; and such trust would rest in the comfort of knowing that what is impossible with men is possible for God. Either we are saved by Him (without ANY human agency lending aid) or we remain lost. Which side of the fence do you stand on?

2 comments:

  1. Ian, thank you for this post on FAITH. I love the chair analogy. We are saved by FAITH in Christ alone and nothing we can ever do will earn our way to Heaven. My heart goes out to all of those souls who put their FAITH in religion and not in Jesus Christ alone. Blessings my brother. Lloyd

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  2. That will preach. Like the picture brother Ian :) Blessings to you my brother

    William

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