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From Faith to Faith

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For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

You can't read the Bible like a regular book. There's just too much greatness that doesn't get caught with a casual skim. Every once in a while you read through a passage that makes you hit the brakes, makes you go back and ask, "What does this mean?"

Romans 1:17 is such a passage. When I come across these passages, the revisit is always worth it. When I look around for context, when I drill down to see what the language really means, there's always some extra-special meaning waiting there to be discovered.

The phrase here that made me do a double-take is "from faith to faith." Such an odd combination. What could Paul be talking about here?

I found no short supply of analysis of this verse when I searched. There exists some disagreement on how the verse should be translated, thus there's also not a consensus on what it means. What did jump off the page to me was this from Matthew Henry's commentary:

Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.


This makes so much sense to me. We don't receive any kind of explosive, one-time revelation of God's righteousness. It's a life-long process, building strength over time. 

I accepted Christ at a young age, but my knowledge of God's righteousness was extremely limited. I knew enough to make a confession of faith, but the reality was that was just my jumping off point. 

Almost 40 years later the faith I have now is many generations removed from what I had as a boy. It's been shaped by doubt, by tragedies, by struggles and by overcoming; it's been shaped by experiences with others, through reading and listening, and most of all, through further revelation found in God's Word.

I don't know how I'd label this current version of my faith. It's a far cry from the "beta" version I emerged from the waters of baptism with. It's probably something like v. 36.2. 

I do know that it's stronger every day, not always in a sense of belief but always in a sense of presence and providence. And I also know it's still growing in changing.

Like Paul said in I Corinthians 13, "Now we see through a glass darkly." The evolution of my faith in this life is like trying to find the end of pi. It simply can't be done.

But unlike the futile search for the end of a mathematical constant, my search for a deeper level of faith is always fruitful. It always changes my life for the better.

I'm thankful that God keeps revealing Himself to us, letting us grow in Him at our own speed. I'm thankful for His patience with me when I get stuck.

And I'm thankful that some day it will all be fulfilled and we will reach the completion of our journey from faith to faith.

Posted by Chuck Chapman with
Tags: faith

Reciprocity Does Not Belong Here

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Pay it forward. We’ve all heard this term and are familiar with the concept. You are helped in some way and, in turn, help someone else. Simple enough, right? The idea is not one of reciprocity, but one of a chain reaction – like the “wave” in the stands at a sporting event. One action sets off a sequence of actions.

God gave us the greatest gift of all time – our redemption – and all He asked in return is for us to pay His love forward. There is no check-off list of actions that we need to complete. There is no repayment schedule. To show God’s love to others is our end of the deal.

And do you know what the funny thing is about doing for others? It takes your focus off of you. It shifts your thought process from an inward one to an outward one. And as Martha Stewart would say – this, my friends, is a good thing.

When my dad moved to heaven a few years ago, my mama lost her husband of 53 years – her best friend since she was 14 – after a shocking diagnosis and an even more shockingly short illness. At that point, she had options. She could sit around and wait life out until she joined him in heaven. She could become bitter and resentful – of God, of others who still had what she’d lost, of other people’s happiness. But she did what she’d been doing for most of her life – taking the love that God had shown her and showering it upon others. During her time amidst deep grief, she chose to focus outward and serve others.

We told her to take a break, that it was okay to do less volunteering at church or at the local mission for a while. We told her everyone would understand that she needed time. But she set us straight pretty quickly about the fact that this was what she wanted to do – that glorifying God by serving others and sharing His love with them was the least she could do after all He’d done for her.

Romans 13:8 tells us, “If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.”

We have a whole, big world around us in which to practice this concept each and every day. Pay God’s love forward, folks.

Posted by Holly Anderson with

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