Many who bear the title "Christian" can't accept the fact that all their effort to save themselves is useless. They can’t accept that no matter how hard they try to get themselves right with God, their efforts will go unappreciated by God. Those people don't make it too far before they lose their motivation, lose their focus, and lose their faith. Those people don't understand the purpose of faith.
The purpose of faith isn't to get ourselves right with God. Despite our faith, and all our efforts to save ourselves, we're never going to succeed. No matter how hard we try, we're never going to get ourselves right with God. We can get motivated, ignore fear, and do everything possible to strengthen our faith, but we're never going to get right with God on our own.
No matter how well we prepare, no matter how well we perform, all our effort to save ourselves is useless.
But, that doesn't mean faith is useless. Faith produces love. And love, as the Apostle writes, "is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up" (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
Love can save a person's life. Think about that. When each of us loves someone, when we're patient and kind, when we never stop believing in them and never give up on them, we can change the world. To cite a statistic from Naval Admiral William H. McRaven's commencement speech at the University of Texas, if we do that for ten people, just ten people, in five generations, or 125 years, we will have changed the lives of eight hundred million people. Go one more generation, and our love has changed the lives of eight billion people.
But, love can't save us from sin and judgment. Our love can't save anyone from sin and God's harsh judgment. Only Jesus can do that for them and us. So love each other, but never forget that the greatest love we can show someone is to give them Jesus.
When we preach Jesus crucified for the sin of the world, Jesus crucified to put away God’s harsh judgment, that good news creates faith
When we preach Jesus crucified for the sin of the world, Jesus crucified to put away God's harsh judgment, that good news creates faith. Jesus creates faith. In fact, Jesus and faith are synonymous. Jesus and love are synonymous too. God is love. Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is love. Faith and love are Jesus.
So when Jesus says to the blind man, "Your faith has made you well" (Luke 11:42), it's the same as if He were to say, "Your Jesus has made you well." Faith and Jesus are one and the same.
So love each other because when we love each other, even if it's just ten people in our whole life, we change the lives of eight hundred million people. Our love can change the world for generations to come. But, never forget, Jesus is the root of faith, and His love is the fruit. That's why giving people Jesus not only changes the world, it changes heaven and earth for them forever. The good news about Jesus creates faith and hope and love, by forgiving sin, giving people a new shot at life (even eternal life), and opens the joy of God's salvation to them today and always.
That's not just good news, it's the best news ever spoken in all of history: when we hear the Gospel we receive our sight. We receive eyes of faith that see Jesus in the water, and in the word, and the bread and wine. We see Jesus in every act of love. We see Jesus in His Church, and in the world He created and redeemed with His precious blood and innocent suffering and death. We see the truth through eyes of faith created by the Gospel. We receive the good news, "Your Jesus has made you well!"
That’s not just good news, it’s the best news ever spoken in all of history: when we hear the Gospel we receive our sight