Impossible Faith

A Chinese painting. Artist unknown. 1879

Year B Pentecost 20 – Job 23:2-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Faith is a term undergoing great change in our generation. Our classic dictionaries retain the traditional understanding of Faith. However, in colloquial inspired works such as, faith is a belief not based on proof.[i] For those dependent on sensual sciences, faith is untestable and, as such, cannot be real.

Impossible faith is a confidence or trust in a person or thing. Job had confidence in God. That confidence was interpreted as arrogance and ignorance by his friends. Job suffered all types of evil. However, rather than arguing there is no God, he challenged God to reveal Himself. Job had trust in God’s judgement and pleaded for justice.

The Psalmist equally embraced impossible faith. We have an an assumption that God is always there in the background. That is why we are so shocked when God is silent. God does not always respond in the way we think God should or when we think God should.

The author of Hebrews helps us understand how God empowers impossible faith. Faith is not dependent on our believing in something or someone. Faith is outworking of our Lord Jesus Christ in creation. Salvation comes through Christ’s faith, not ours.

The author of Hebrews clearly believes in a living God who speaks and acts within the present world.[ii]

The Gospel of Mark reinforces impossible faith. Mark helps us understand that a Good Teacher is not dictating burdensome demands. The essence of Jesus’ teaching is about God, not us. Humans, even Christian ones, tend to think that self-created righteousness is the means of salvation. Such impossibility is why many are gnostic in belief and/or practice.

Salvation from evil can be found in God, from God, and through God alone. Impossible faith is possible because God’s Word is living and active.

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[ii] Paul Scott Wilson, editor, Abingdon Theological Companion to the Lectionary: Preaching Year B (Nashville: Abingdon Press 2014), 290.

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