“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” vss. 31-32
There’s much to be said about the faith that connects us to the grace that God so freely gives. It can certainly be described as assent, an “amen” to God’s act of redemption that takes place in Christ Jesus. And it’s true, assent is a good place to start, and every relationship does need a beginning. But, as Jesus told the folks who had believed in him, it’s in the continuing relationship that we begin to experience the fruits of discipleship. In some of our congregations we ask our youth to participate in some sort of confirmation program, a series of classes or experiences that culminates in a ritual of affirmation. At that point most of the confirmands are willing to stand before witnesses and say that they are believers…and then many are never seen again at worship! Pastors and parents can lament, try new techniques, or give their programs a hundred other tweaks but nothing seems to make much of a difference. Oh, some might hang around for a bit, but within a few years most have wandered off. They’re just not interested in continuing in the word. It’s not that they’ve lost grace, but when faith never turns from assent to trust…we miss the joy of truly knowing Christ.
Thought for the Day: What does continuing with Jesus look like?