I have thought about this for quite a while.
What is faith? Is it a decision, a life-style, a belief, an attitude, a trust…
All these and more, and yet, we seem to pinpoint faith to specific moments in time.
“I trusted in Christ as my Savior when I was 6 years old.”
“I believed when I heard her testimony.”
“I placed my faith in God after he saved me from that horrible relationship.”
But we say that faith is more than just a moment, right? It’s an ongoing thing, an ongoing commitment.
The best image is ideal marriage.
You are married to your spouse from the moment you… when? First meeting? First kiss? The wedding or the night after?
It’s all of those and more- it’s hard to say when the marriage starts.
But we know how it continues. You stay with that person til death do you part. Other than death, it’s divorce.
Upon divorce or death you are no longer married- but it’s a daily commmitment to your love, a lifelong thing.
You say of John R. “He married a girl when he was in his twenties– and he died when he was 83.”
Then do you say “He was married to her all of his life” as long as there was no divorce?
If he moved away or lived with another woman, abused his wife or gave no love, do you say “He was married to her all of his life”?
Is marriage based on documents, emotion, love, geography, care, or commitment?
Likewise, is faith just a decision for one moment or even a few years, or is it a lifelong thing?
At the end of life for Sarah T. you say “She accepted Christ when she was five years old.”
Then do you say “She went to be with Christ” if she lived not life of faith from then on?
If she became a Muslim or a Buddhist or pretended in church or abandoned all faith, do you still say “She went to be with Christ”?
One cannot judge a relationship outside of said relationship, but this is theology.
Is confession of belief, repentance of sin, heart trust true faith if it’s done once for all
or is it something that must be continued for all of life?
It’s not that one must earn that step into heaven, but that true faith stretches into all aspects of life, into all measure of time.
If this is true, it changes everything.