From the Reformer
This article, “I believe in the holy Christian Church,” is as much an article of faith as the rest. This is why natural reason cannot recognize it, even if it puts on all its glasses. The devil can cover it over with offenses and divisions, so that you have to take offense at it. God too can conceal it behind faults and shortcomings of all kinds, so that you necessarily become a fool and pass false judgment on it. Christendom will not be known by sight, but by faith. And faith has to do with things not seen. (Heb 11:1) Christendom joins with her Lord in the song, “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” (Matt 11:6) A Christian is even hidden from himself; he does not see his holiness and virtue, but sees in himself nothing but unholiness and vice. And you, stupid know-it-all, would behold Christendom with your blind reason and unclean eyes!
—Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 35
Pulling It Together
Faith is the conviction of things as yet unseen. “For example,” Luther said, “the resurrection has not yet taken place and does not yet exist in substance; but hope makes it a reality in our soul.” (Luther’s Works, vol 29) After a while of being with God, assurance buoys up a person with sure and certain hope in what others might consider folly.
How does one develop such faith? Or, as James would state it, how might one show such faith? (James 2:18) Abraham showed his faith by walking with God. (Gen 17:1) He was faithful because he kept walking with God after God promised Abraham a seemingly impossible thing that would not become reality for years. Abraham believed God (Gen 15:6) and did not swerve from faith—even when his wife scorned God’s promise. (Gen 18:12)
The Patriarch kept walking. This is faith. Continuing to walk with God is the conviction that by the end of the road, God will fulfill his promises. Keep walking. The reward is not within sight but the One who promised is very much alive within you. His promise is as good as the substance.
Prayer: May your peace, O Christ, attend me and strengthen me to continue walking with you by faith. Amen.