by Steven Chan
It is helpful for us to understand the reasons for the apostle Paul choosing to keep his faith. This will hopefully help us to understand our faith so that we will not be easily shaken by every wind of teaching/philosophy introduced by the craftiness of men (Eph 4:15)
- Paul’s faith was based on his knowledge of Jesus and His resurrection. “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim 1:12).
The historical reality of the existence of Jesus, and the truth concerning His trial before the historically attested Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, and His resurrection from the dead as evidenced by the empty tomb and the transformation of His disciples into bold and courageous proclaimers and witnesses of His resurrection, even to the point of their deaths, were the historical truth upon which his faith was built. In his epistle to Timothy, he wrote: “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.”
Historical evidence is a valid basis for ascertaining truth. The law courts condemn one to death based on the testimonies of witnesses. The testimonies of the apostles are credible and warrant our faith in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
- Paul believed that Jesus is able to deliver His promise of the hope of heaven. Paul explained in 1 Cor 15:17-19: “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
Paul’s focus was on the hope of heaven after life on earth is ended. He was not focused on the hope that is on this earth. Unfortunately, some today who profess to be followers of Jesus, teach the hope of ‘health and wealth’ in this life. Such was not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The account of the rich fool in Luke 12 and that of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, clearly taught that success in this life is no assurance of God’s endorsement nor predictive of one’s success in the after life.
So if one’s faith is in the hope of ‘health and wealth’ in this life, then since one can gain ‘health and wealth’ without God, belief in God becomes ‘unnecessary’.
The apostle Paul had clearly stated that our hope in Christ extends beyond this life.
- Paul believed that the Scriptures are inspired by God: “That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”( 2 Tim 3:15-17)
If the Bible is not inspired then it is not authoritative with regards how we conduct our lives. But if it truly inspired or given by God (2 Pet 1:20-21), then everything it says ought to govern the conduct of our lives – regardless of how we may feel or think.
The evidence for the inspiration of the Bible is in abundance. It is not the purpose of this article to discuss all these evidences.
A tightly constructed faith ought to be built on the solid foundation of the inspiration of the Bible as God’s Word and the truth concerning Jesus and His resurrection – which forms the basis for our faith and the hope of heaven. Our faith should not be on the ‘feel good’ factor that comes from being in the community of fellow believers. Neither should it be based on the ability to gain ‘health and wealth’ in this life without the need to pray to God.
Let’s examine our faith and ensure that it is built on the strong foundation of truth.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”