“Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b). Why?

We must never forget that God – not just some vague, spiritual force, but a real Person who loves and acts – desires relation with us. Faith (or to put it simply, trust) is something that happens between persons. So why is it such a big deal?

Because Christianity tells us we have trust issues. Our ancestors were convinced God was holding something back and reached to take it for themselves. They learned to look not to God, but to themselves for their answers.

We have inherited this behaviour. We want to justify ourselves, to take matters into our own hands. To say we don’t need help, and especially not from God.

So we put ourselves in the driver’s seat. We act for ourselves and our own agendas – the sin behind every other sin.

If we are not living trust-based lives of conscious dependence on God, we necessarily remain centred on ourselves; even our good deeds are done according to reliance on our own abilities and a desire to justify ourselves. We want to pat ourselves on the back every time we do something good.

I think that’s why Jesus had more criticism for the religious types than he did for the tax collectors and prostitutes who already knew where they stood. They came to Him without condition. Only when we understand our own inability and brokenness will we truly come to Him for help.

The very concept of grace implies we understand our position before Him as helpless, condemned sinners; and that acceptance into God’s family hangs on a trust that His work really is enough to save us from that state and to give us provision and power to live from day to day.

To not trust is what separates us from God.

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