By David Rosati
I haven’t worked all of this out in my mind yet, so it may not come out in the way I would like. But, here goes anyway…
Have you ever struggled in your faith and asked yourself, “Do I really believe?” The Lord knows I have. There have been several times I have been driven to prayer in examination of my heart, searching for evidence of His grace in my life.
Here are three areas in which it is found:
Christ. I would never have chosen Him if He had not first chosen me. That’s not an original thought, but it is stone cold truth. At one time in my life I saw no need for faith in God – any god. I was content with, and proud of, my agnosticism. But God, who, in His mercy and for His own purpose, saved me…I literally shudder to think of the condition of soul then.
Sovereignty. Have you ever struggled with God’s sovereignty in salvation? I have. In the early years of my faith I was a full-tilt free-willer. Yes, I was a sinner, sure, but I had made that choice to accept Jesus – and I had a certain smugness toward those who had not. When I was first confronted with the Gospel as it truly is within the Bible – I revolted against it. Of all the mean, hateful, cruel teachings I thought. And it was so…so…pride crushing. And yet, I could not escape its truth. As much as I hated the thought of His sovereignty initially, God in His grace drew me to continue to study, and one glorious day I truly beheld the beauty of salvation by grace, through faith, in Christ – alone. Only by grace could I have believed in a gospel which left me no room to boast in myself.
My Grandparents. A frequent objection (and once one of mine) to Christianity is “what about all those ‘”good people'” who die? Are they going to hell too?” That question causes me to grieve, because two of the best, finest people I ever knew were my grandparents: Salvatore (Sal, or PaPa) and Ethel (Nanny). When compared to others, they were two of the most caring, selfless, loving persons, yet…they did not believe. Nanny held to her childhood Catholicism. She would go to church on Ash Wednesdays for example, and would refer occasionally to the “Blessed Mother” (meaning Mary). Papa, as far as I can remember, had no use for faith. If anyone deserved to go to Heaven on merit it was them. But, no one does. And though it breaks my heart into shards, I know I believe because I know that even Nanny and Papa were sinners before a Holy God. And I cannot say with any shred of hope that they are now in Heaven. And if I did not truly believe the Gospel, then I would be running all out for a works-based system of faith to give me that shred of hope for them.
Like I said, I haven’t worked all this out fully. It’s just what I’ve been thinking about lately.