In these days of Coronavirus lockdown, time has taken on new dimensions in our household. Without the rhythms of everyday life out in the world, we are finding it quite easy to lose track of time. The uniformity of our day-to-day lives that is associated with our virus-imposed seclusion has created a sense of suspended animation that seems quite contrary to linear time. As the world continues to fight Covid-19 and restrictions remain in place, it is easy to feel that life will never change.
But the good news is that eternity has nothing to do with Covid-19; the virus has no place there. The Apostle Paul tells us at the end of I Corinthians 13 that only three things remain: faith, hope, and love. And while Coronavirus news may dominate our lives at the moment, we would be well served by considering that when all is said and done, it is faith, hope, and love that will define our reality. At the moment, I would like to take a brief look at faith.
The author of Hebrews describes faith as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. It is a settled and secure position that rests on a firm foundation. The world offers many possible alternative faith foundations: government, science, the intrinsic goodness of people, community, and a generalized spirituality are popular examples. But the Bible tells us that reliance on such worldly powers will certainly and eventually lead to disappointment rather than fulfillment.
If we want a faith that will in truth provide the unseen things that we hope for, we must choose our foundation carefully. In the Gospels of Matthew (Chapter 7) and Luke (Chapter 6), Jesus uses the analogy of the foundation of a home to teach his listeners the importance of an unmovable spiritual foundation: Just as it is important to build a home upon a deep, strong foundation, it is vital to build our spiritual foundation on a solid and immovable base. In the spiritual realm, it is truly a matter of eternal life and death. What we believe is what we will have to cling to when storms and trials come. C.S. Lewis has this to say: “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
While science, government, and the good will of people and community may well be used by God and may help in the midst of this pandemic, they have little to offer in regard to eternity. If we want to live by eternal values, we must build our faith upon the only truly trustworthy foundation. We must indeed be sure that our foundation will resist the worst of storms, that our rope will hold us as we dangle from it. The Apostle Paul makes this observation:
Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith is in vain. Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses of Go, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in dead in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
It is of the utmost importance that we build our faith on a real, unshakable foundation. How can we be sure? We return to the words of Paul:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep….thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The bedrock truth of Christ crucified and Christ risen becomes the foundation of our faith. We can bet our eternal kingdom on it!
And once we have our firm eternal foundation of faith in place, we can live in the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen in the here and now. Even though we continue to battle an unseen virus among us, there are other unseen realities of an eternal nature that deserve our attention as well. Here are just a few:
John 14:2—"In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
John 16:33—"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Philippians 1:6—For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
As we find ourselves living in unprecedented times, we will need to find our hope and confidence, choose the foundation of our faith, every day, moment by moment. May we choose wisely and encourage others to do so as well!