Faith

Immersed Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1
Marlene’s Baptism, July 1997
with Pastor Jon Courson

It was a bright, July afternoon when I entered the warm waters of baptism by faith. In the outdoor gardens of Applegate Christian Fellowship, I openly gave my life to God. I had already been transformed by Jesus shortly before that day and came with an expectation of public proclamation, “I am Yours, Lord!” The scent of Jasmin danced around me as I prayed and cried as if I were walking down the aisle. The veil had been lifted and I was His.

This memory helps me understand faith. Like a wedding veil separates a woman from her groom, the curtain of faith separates two realities. When I walked through the linen folds at twenty-eight years old it was like seeing daylight for the first time. I tasted grace and forgiveness and real love. And yet, it was a love bound by holiness. The perfect balance of truth and grace, Jesus is our object of faith. He is our groom. Hebrews 10:19 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…” So, it is by faith we are ushered into His presence.

In other words, for those who realize their need for Him (and we all need Him), faith in Christ’s work on the cross is the doorway into the Holy of Holies. Here, by faith, we are ushered into the very presence of God. Romans 4:3 says, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness.” God offered. Abraham accepted. Only then did Abraham enter into a love relationship with the God of grace by faith. Fortunately, God makes us the same offer. But we have a deeper intimacy with God than Abraham. We have Christ in us. He abides in us through His Spirit. You can’t get much more intimate than that!

Fortunately, there is nothing we have to do apart from believing. “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law… since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” This tells us that it doesn’t matter if you are a “good” person who follows the Law (circumcised) or not (uncircumcised). Heaven is not some rich utopia set aside for “good” people. It is a place for forgiven people. It is a place for faith-filled people.

Also, Romans 3:28 and 30 make it clear that there is only one God. There is only one Savior. We cannot save ourselves through good behavior. We may think it’s not fair. We may want to explain that we have lived a good life and deserve Heaven. But, do we deserve it? How can we justify ourselves? There is only one way to Heaven and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot be our own God. We cannot save ourselves from destruction. We cannot clean ourselves up enough to be able to enter into the presence of a Holy God.

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12, NASB).

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Therefore, you must believe for the veil to be lifted. As the person being asked (the intended bride), saying “I like Jesus” is not a profession of faith. Instead it’s a rejection of the groom. Jesus isn’t a novelty to like or dislike. He is God. God lays the foundation for a love relationship with Him. His cornerstone is Jesus Christ. And, you know what? We can trust that His Way is just and fair because He is just and fair. More than that, He is love. He bled for you. There is NO OTHER WAY. Faith is confidence in a God we cannot see but A God who has revealed Himself all the more, demonstrating His love on the cross. Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29, NASB). Immerse yourself in faith and believe.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10:19-23