Faith in What?

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Whenever faith tries to base itself on good living, whether the focus be on external morality or on inner spiritual purity, the result is the most sophisticated of all pagan religions.  Though it claims belief in God, in practice such religion places no trust in the Lord Himself but only in its own theology.  As thoroughly orthodox and as Biblical as this theology may be, it does not represent faith in the living God but in faith itself.  Heaven help this religion of good works when it falls on hard times.  … True faith depends not at all upon itself, nor upon its own system of piety, but rather upon the Lord alone and His faithfulness. … To have faith is to trust in the faithfulness of our God, knowing that faithfulness is first and foremost not a human but a divine attribute. …   Genuine faith is not the faith to do anything at all, expcept to fall to the ground and die. …Consider the roots of a plant.  Do the roots worry, or think at all, about producing flowers or fruit?  No; they never see what happens above the ground.  They never even see the sun or the sky.  All they see is the dark womb of the earth, and their only job is to soak up moisture and nourishment from it, to feed in the dark underground of faith. … Paul describes as “taking pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart” (2 Cor. 5:12).  Assuming that the opposite of sin is virtue, they conclude that a righteous life is one that will always be producing the visible fruit that is its own reward.  Yet in the vocabulary of the gospel, the opposite of sin is not simply virtue but grace.  As Paul puts it in Romans 5:20-21, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job