by Seattle ALC
” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. ” Hebrews 11:1-3
” Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ” Hebrews 12: 1-2
Faith is a gift that God would impart to the whole human race. It is an assurance and conviction that is beyond our abilities and strength. We battle a three-fold enemy, described by Luther as the devil, the world and our own flesh. A formidable enemy, yet the Lord Jesus Christ has defeated the devil, He sends the message of the Gospel to the entire world, and supplies faith to all that will look to Him, who is described as the “author and finisher” of our faith. He is the founder and perfecter of faith. Do you have a cloud of witnesses that the Hebrew writer has described?
The passing of our dear sister Ruth Alcantara highlighted to me the blessing we have in the church which is the Body of Christ. Ruth left this life surrounded by family and friends, being encouraged by the Word of God, spoken and sung. 90 years passes as quickly as a breath, yet it is not the end. Her hope was in the Christ that entered into our world, took upon Himself ours sin, suffered on the middle Cross of Calvary, and shed His life Blood to pay our sin debt. Today we rejoice that the grave could not hold Him, He arose Victorious and is on the right hand of God making intercession for us. What a blessed place to look!
Our sister Ruth often availed herself of the witnesses that she had encompassing her. Often she asked that she could hear that her sins were forgiven, and was blessed with the Gospel of the Peace. Pointed to the completed work of Jesus, to look to Him, the name given above every name, and to trust in the Blood that was shed once and for all, for the remission of sin in the oral declaration of the Gospel. She availed herself of the sacrament, the Lord’s Supper to the strengthening of her faith. As believers, we are witnesses that can only point to Christ and His Redemptive work in the Word and Sacraments, It is God that saves and gives faith. It isn’t in our asking, the amount of times we ask that faith stands, but in the One to whom we look. We will miss our dear sister in faith and her presence in this life, but rejoice that her faith has turned to sight, and her hope to attainment! It is love, God’s Love for the entire world, that will last Eternally.
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