What I believe part 2: More on faith formation

As I begin this blog, I thought it important to talk about what I believe, how I came to believe in these things and how we can get a grasp of truth in a world where truth is relative. This is a continuation of yesterday’s blog. We left off with grace. What is grace?

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.[1]

To receive his salvation through his grace, we must act in humble repentance. About repentance, C. S. Lewis explained:

Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of our ‘hole’. This process of surrender—these movements full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance.[2]

When we receive salvation, we also receive the Holy Spirit, which directs our lives to live in a Godly manner. “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).[3] The Christian faith, therefore, is one in which involves the Trinity interacting into the human race to save it from condemnation. It was a plan by God the Father, carried out through his son, Jesus; and is fulfilled with the work of the Holy Spirit into our lives.

Repentance, accepting God’s forgiveness and receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit brings us to salvation, and an experience we call being ‘born again.’ This is what gives us a right relationship with God. But this is just the beginning. From here, the Holy Spirit communicates with us, leads us to prayer and in prayer. God works in us and through us. These are the essential tenets of the Christian faith—this is what I believe.

Sources as to how I’ve come to understand what I believe have included the books and scriptures mentioned above, as well as the many Sundays spent listening to sermons in church, in Sunday School and the like; and to Christian music artists and radio evangelists. I have seen the gospel lived out through my family and friends, which has brought me to the place where I have come to first hear, accept and repent on my own. From there, I have personally experienced the things mentioned above. Therefore, Christianity is not just a belief based on knowledge, but is transcended by the experience of grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is the primary knowledge of how I know and understand what I believe.

[1] Mary Fairchild, “Grace,” Ask.com,  http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/g/grace.htm (accessed Feb. 12, 2013)

[2] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco, Ca., HarperSanFrancisco), 56

[3] Ibid.

4 thoughts on “What I believe part 2: More on faith formation

  1. I was looking for a statement on Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons in the context of grace and salvation 🙂

    I believe that one of the primordial tests of whether one is in the faith or not, is a test that has to do with doctrine or teaching about beliefs. Paul warns Timothy to make sure he keeps to sound Christian doctrine. Every NT author gives us similar warnings…

    One who has the Holy Spirit living in them cannot teach or confess the beliefs that witnesses and Mormons promote with respect to Christ and with respect to God…

    I would say it is one thing to be wrong on certain subjects (Seventh Day Adventist) and share the basic common beliefs about the attributes of God and salvation, and another thing to believe in a different god than that One revealed in the Bible as do JWs and LDS…


    1. jmdansville

      I agree. But I also sometimes wonder how far God extends his grace. For example, we see the thief on the cross, the woman who committed adultery and Zacchaeus. Jesus just up and forgave them. What about the crowds who mocked him at his crucifixion–“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Now apply this grace to those who acknowledge Jesus, but have a misunderstanding of who he is. Not saying yes or no, for I do not know the mind of God. Just food for thought. It’s God’s call, not ours. We must wait and see once we get to Heaven.


      1. Thanks for the response. These same questions have crossed my mind as well. I think the entire letter of 1 John deals with this issue. It is sort of a guide for testing the faith that one is in. There are some undeniable truths and attributes about Christ that must be recognized in order to have saving faith.

        But, having said that, I do not think one must have perfect theology in order to be saved. After all, Jesus saves not theology… There may be some wiggle room in there somehow… on peripheral issues, but not on central issues like divinity of Christ.


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