Dan Trathen DMin, PhD Clinical Psychologist & Certified Business & Life Coach

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Trusting in Christ as Savior and Lord

By Daniel W. Trathen, D. Min. Ph. D.

When I take our grandchildren and toss them all around in the air, they laugh and enjoy it because they trust or have faith in me, their grandfather. Even though they find themselves in unusual situations, like being upside down four feet above the floor with nothing supporting them, they don’t fear because they trust their grandfather.

D.L. Moody was quoted as saying, “Some say that faith is the gift of God. So is the air, but you have to breathe it; so is bread, but you have to eat it: so is water, but you have to drink it. Some want some miraculous kind of feeling. That is not faith, ‘Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Rom. 10:17). That is whence faith comes. It is not for me to sit down and wait for faith to come stealing over me with a strong sensation; but it is for me to take God at His word.”

One of the interesting aspects of being a Christian is hearing the different ways in which each person has taken God at His word and come to the place of trusting Christ as Savior. If we had the time this morning it would be extremely encouraging to have each person give their story of this important event in their lives. Faith begins with repentance and repentance begins with humility coupled with faith.

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  1. Examples of Jesus humility and believers trust; John 5: 19-24; Luke 5:27-31; 18:9-14. What are the essentials of the Christian faith found in John 3:16 and I Corinthians 15:1-5?
  2. Some people think their faith is strong enough to get them to heaven. If so, why isn’t it strong enough to get them to church? Faith is the heart of life. In this age of Managed Care we go to a doctor whose name we cannot pronounce. They give us a prescription we cannot read. We take it to a pharmacist we have never seen. They give us medicine we do not understand, and yet we take it. All trusting with sincere faith!
  3. Rabbi Simlai in third century noted that Moses gave us 365 prohibitions and 248 positive commands in the law. David in Psalm 15 reduced them to eleven; Is. 33:14-15 made them six; Micah 6:8 binds them into three; Habakkuk reduces them all to one, namely, “The just shall live by faith.”
  4. Examples of humility coupled with faith from the “Biblical Hall of Fame” (Hebrews chapter 11).

Trusting Christ as Savior is a point in time. Many Christians view their life from the past when they trusted and accepted Christ. While keeping this in mind, disciples look at their Christian life from the end and what it will be like to meet Jesus and what further maturing they need to do before that time happens. Trusting Jesus Christ as Lord is one day at a time. In this process of relational faith development we call sanctification (being set apart unto holiness), you and I are only as mature as a disciple as we obey yesterday. We have a foundation to our faith as we accept Christ, but we must build on that foundation daily as we are trusting Christ as Lord. I accepted Christ as Savior in June 1974, but my spiritual life represented as a disciple does not reflect that of one who has lived 32 years in Him. The point of stagnation is directly correlated to the unconfessed sin or apathy in our lives. Each stage of our spiritual development we encounter different growth challenges whereby we need to trust Christ. There can be obstacles or steps to our maturity depending on how we learn and adapt to the skills needed. We may be faced with symptoms such as a lack of faith, issues of the flesh, problems with forgiveness, issues with our emotions, thinking, behavior, relationships, or spiritual warfare. [All these depicting difficulty with experiencing or embodying the fruit of the spirit (Gal 5)]. We need to learn to be honest with ourselves and assess these issues in our lives and grow toward the life of a disciple who is more ready to meet Jesus exemplified through submission and power from the Holy Spirit. How is it that we can trust Christ to be our Savior, but not trust Him to be Lord of our Lives? The answer is found in the exhortation for us through a process of trusting Christ everyday of our lives through an intimate (Meaning the process of being in a close association which produces familiarity), regularly attended to relationship with Him and through obeying Him (Chapter 12). This is so well described by a quote from George Bernanos in The Diary of a Country Priest (London: Collins, 1956, p. 105). “Faith is not something one ‘losses,’ we merely cease to shape our lives by it.” The famous philosopher Soren Kierkegaard further explains the malady surrounding many of our lives when he stated, “It is difficult for us to believe because it is difficult for us to obey.” George Mueller, a great man of faith and missionary to the American Indians, said, “God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the food of faith.”

How did Jesus call us to follow Him as Lord in Luke 9: 23-25? What does it look like for a disciple to deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow Jesus?

If we really trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord what difference should it make in our lives and the life of our Church? Mark 1:21-28 – Jesus has authority, Luke 10:1,3,17-24–Jesus has power over the evil one; John 1:35-42 – Jesus has the power to give us a new identity; John 5: 19-25 – We deceive ourselves if we believe we can grow in Christ without trusting Him regularly; I John chapter 4 – The proof of our trust and transformation is in our love, “we love because He first loved us” (v.19).

Trusting Christ as Savior and Lord is for me summed up in one of my favorite hymns, “Be Thou My Vision”.

“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my Wisdom, and thou my true Word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Parent, and I thy true child,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor all empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall.
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. Amen
— From The Poem Book of the Gael edited by Eleanor Hull”

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