“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” That’s how St. Paul put it. Faith comes from the preaching of the Word of Christ to those who hear it. It’s that simple. God’s Spirit works through the Word to convict us of our sin through the Law. Having no hope in ourselves, the Spirit makes us alive again pointing us to Jesus Christ.
Sadly, however, the church can struggle amid this changing world to strive for something new. There is always a new sales flyer coming in the church mail about a proven program and a new way to grow the church. Success through the advertised program is virtually guaranteed. We, ourselves, can become bored with the old and figure that something new will enliven us. We become frustrated not only with the trends in this world but with our own lackluster performance in life. So we desire a change.
Yet whenever we put our hope in a program or an innovation, we are being led to take our focus off Christ and Him crucified. When I was in college, I had an interest in psychology and had an education/psychology minor. Sadly, because of my interest, I was tempted to think that psychology would one day “save” the church. I needed to be reminded that the church had already been saved about 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ. Praise God that He led me to look on Jesus, the founder and perfector of my faith!
So, today, I am less impressed with “programmed success.” Faith does not come with a new catchy tune that gets a person moving. Faith does not come by following a series or program. Faith does not come by innovation. Thanks be to God that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” It’s that simple!
Mark Maunula is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Isle.