Laying A Firm Foundation
By Lois J. Stucky
"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!" How uplifting it is to be part of a congregation which unites in joyful singing of these words from the heart, indicating their affirmation of the truths of which they sing. Do we not all long for a firm foundation in days like these when much in which people have put their trust is failing? And the end has not yet been reached. Our Lord in telling of frightful things coming one day on the earth said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away…." The earth on which we live has seemed so secure, but apparently even majestic mountains and teeming cities will pass away.
"But," Jesus immediately assures us, "My words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). God’s Word provides us a firm foundation for a faith that will stand the storms. It is particularly vital to have a firm foundation for our faith when it concerns what should be the greatest consideration of our lives – the eternal destiny of our souls! Will it be everlasting life or everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord?
Oh, think of the pitiful condition of millions, yes, billions of souls in false religions who are trusting in lifeless idols and staking their lives on the writings of mere men. Consider also the humanists who boast that man is able to manage his life without the supernatural in whom Christians put their trust, and the atheists who reject all religions. We urge you to take the unsaved world to heart for prayer according to the schedule on the following pages.
Some church leaders tell us, with deep concern, that there are far too many sitting each Sunday even in a Christian church whose trust is in church attendance or membership, or some ritual performed or good moral living as their foundation for the eternal life they are pursuing. It is well, it is vital that all of us make certain that our spiritual lives are built on the firm foundation God gives us in His Word!
The Word of God makes clear that true salvation is grounded only in the Lord Jesus Christ: "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). "Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ who was crucified and whom God raised from the dead]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
The Bible assures us of the merits of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and these we must take by faith as the foundation of our salvation. God’s provision is that through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ we have been purchased (Acts 20:28); we have been justified and saved from wrath (Rom. 5:9); we have the peace of reconciliation with God (Col. 1:20); we are redeemed (1 Pet. 1:18-19); we are cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Another foundational element of true salvation is repentance. A first message of Jesus, according to Mark 1:15, was "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." "Repent" carries the meaning of turning from sin to God. A leading criticism of the church today is that sin is as rampant in the church as it is in the world. Genuine repentance, turning from sin, has too often been missing as the Gospel is presented to unbelievers and so the Christian life is begun on a flimsy, faulty foundation and there is no evidence that old things have passed away and all become new (2 Cor. 5:17-18).
Richard Owen Roberts writes helpfully about repentance in his book, REVIVAL, as follows: "In genuine biblical repentance one does not merely seek to escape the wrath of God or the guilt of conscience. The repentant person turns from all that displeases God toward that which pleases Him. The repentant individual turns his back upon his sin and himself and in faith turns to Jesus Christ. This turning from sin and self toward Christ is and must be a continuing process. It is not enough to have once turned from sin toward Christ. This turning is a day-by-day, year-after-year process of refusing to follow sin and self and of deliberately following Christ.
"Biblical repentance is a permanent change of direction.... In repentance [the convert] experiences a complete about-face. Turning toward heaven, Christ, and righteousness, the repentant individual begins to move with new purpose and resolve in the right direction…. True biblical repentance is known to exist when a person sets his face like a flint toward the City of God and no temptations toward sin and self are sufficient to cause him to abandon a steady march toward God."
Repentance plays an important part in revival of a church as well as in the conversion of an unbeliever. The confession and forsaking of sin clears the way for the Holy Spirit to come in greater fullness. The fresh foundation laid in a revived church, with Christ as the cornerstone and with sin no longer separating members, enables that body of believers to grow into a holy temple in the Lord in which God delights to dwell (Eph. 2:21). That church becomes fruitful as never before and God is glorified. The revived church is a display of the glorious church, the bride for which Christ is coming!
Let us take stock in our own lives and make certain that our faith is founded on the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only One to be trusted for our soul’s salvation. PRAY that all who deal with souls in eternal matters will give due diligence to laying well the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
PRAY for the Holy Spirit to sweep through the church of Christ worldwide with convicting power and for the humble response that will make the church purified and ready for the coming of her glorious and holy Head, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Jesus said, "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:44).