Bible

The essence of faith

Thoughts about the center of our lives

Dear Reader,

This post (please read it here) is currently the last in this series. Due to the extremely large amount of duties, which reached me in my life in parallel, I had to suspend the blog. Many thanks for reading my essays so far! If you are a new visitor, please have a look to the 58 essays published here between 2017 and 2020. Wishing you safe times and a New Normality after the 2020 corona virus pandemic,

Peter Csermely

 


1. What we mistakenly believe about faith. Faith is not a task. Faith does not have any advantage or objective. We do not believe to be rewarded. Faith is not a barter trade. „I believe in You, my Lord, and You take care of my salvation in return.” Faith is not a refuge that is used by people only when getting into a big trouble. We do not pray because we want to reach something that otherwise cannot be reached but… We do not go to a congregation because it helps us spiritually or because that’s how we can live an honest life but… (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How to put the essence of faith in words? „Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” (Hebrews 11:1) As Calvin pointed out, this sentence, which almost alone „defines” faith in the Bible, naturally cannot give a complete description about the nature of faith. At the same time it provides us with three very important clues: that of hope, trust and confidence. The one who believes, trusts in things hoped for and is convinced of the meaning of life, his own place in the world, his love relation with Jesus, his future, the good order of his life and death despite of that he cannot see all this with his own eyes. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


3. Faith as a subjective confession. For me faith is accepting mercy. Faith and its deepening are continuous events in our lives. Faith is a state of being. In the 18th-19th century’s France St. John Vianney was famous for that the line of those whose complaints and grievances he heard snaked in front of his church from morning to evening. He owed a lot to an old peasant who did nothing but only sitting in his church for days. Then he went to the old man: "May I ask you what you are doing here?” "I am not doing anything, I am just sitting here and looking at Christ. And He is looking at me.” For me this story (about contemplation which leads us to action) is somehow the essence of faith. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

Key topics: 

Key words: 

When does the Word of God gets to its proper place and when is it not?

Thoughts about the power of the Word of God in our lives

 

1. When is the Word of God not in its proper place? The Word of God is not in its proper place if we read the Losung’s Biblical verses for the day as a 'horoscope' or, looking for the answer for one of our specific questions, we open the Bible at random and we literally interpret the first Word we see, thinking that "this is what God tells us today". We cannot really feel the Word’s strength in case we have never read the whole Bible. We cannot be open for the Word’s content if we do not place ourselves in the presence of God, in the space of God, in the gracious love of Jesus and in the strength of the Holy Spirit before we start reading. We cannot fully accept the Word of God if we read it only. We have to listen to it, too. Let’s get in the habit of reading the Words of God loud out instead of just reading it. Let’s listen to the Word of God at church services, in the community of the believers. The preacher, the emotions of the many human souls, the elements of the liturgy, singing and praying will create different opportunities of acceptance and openness than the solitude. Let’s give more chances for the Word of God to resonate in ourselves and to find Its place! Let's realize that we give a chance to ourselves with all these because God has given His Word to find its place in this world and in our lives. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. When does the Word of God find its proper place in our lives and in our souls? King Solomon’s following parable beautifully shows us how does the Word of God look like in its appropriate place: "To speak a word in due time, is like apples of gold on beds of silver." (Proverbs 25:11) A nice apple is about a quarter liter. A quarter liter gold weighs eleven pounds. Why is the Word of God so heavy? The Word is God’s manifestation in the world. All Words focus Totality in themselves. The Word carries God’s creative power. This creative power is unlimited: it can even fold the sky as a vesture (Hebrews 1:12). The Word of God is like a stone. But not any kind of stone! The Word is exactly the stone that God has placed in the middle of the world: it is the Cornerstone, the Word made flesh. The Cornerstone, Jesus Christ, is the stumblingstone (Romans 9:32). When does the Word of God gets to its proper place? When it has arrived in the middle of our hearts – on beds of silver. The beds of silver: is the Holy Spirit itself. If we are open to the Holy Spirit when accepting the Word – it gets to the place where God has intended to place it, where Jesus lives: into our hearts. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What is the Word of God reaching its place capable of? The Word starting from God has arrived to our hearts, which have been purified for accepting the Word, by the Holy Spirit with the mercy of Jesus’ sacrifice. The Word of God got to its place – at last. Can we be satisfied with this? We cannot! If we have accepted the Word, we have to let it work in us. The Word will do what it says (see: Isaias 55:11). Maybe it takes years – but it surely will do. But something more happens. The Word does not have a rest in us: we have to pass it to others. Where will the Word be at its proper place? In our brothers’ hearts! The Word has found its place at last: it has become our common treasure. Is it the end of the Word’s journey? No, it isn’t! Not yet! What is the Word capable of after finding its place? "That word above all earthly powers -- No thanks to them -- abideth." (Martin Luther: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) The Word is the sign of our Creator and Father and our Redeemer in this world, which stands as a rock we all can surely build our houses on. The house built on the Word is the House of our Father in which we all can find realm forever. The Word leads us back here, into the Father’s House through Jesus Christ, the Door (John 10:9a). This is how the Word returns to the place it has started from: to the Father. But not empty but with all of us, together with all sheep of our Lord – Forever and ever. Hallelujah! Amen.  (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

Key topics: 

Key words: 

How can we remain faithful?

Thoughts concerning the sixth commandment

 

1. In how many ways can we commit fornication? When we have to speak about our sins, we very easily switch to a language that we believe washes those sins sin-free. I bring three examples for this "re-contextualization", which is extremely dangerous. I show on the Biblical example of the rape of Tamar that fornication is an unfortunately good example of that the fall in most of the cases happens step by step when stages follow each other very easily. Devil slinks away fast if he encounters a closed door. Though it is getting easier to him if we have already made the first, the second or the umpteenth "careless" step towards sin. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How can we remain faithful? Fornication is interpreted by the Bible much more extensively than sexuality. Fornication (in an extended sense) is an opposition to the harmony of the created order of God. The real essence of fornication is not betraying our spouse or our previous date but betraying God. To avoid fornication (sexually or generally) our only chance is if we let the Holy Trinity’s love community spread on us. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. Purity as a state of life. Purity is cleanness, i.e. it is not the inverse of getting impure but the measure of the closeness to God. Escaping from fornication is not a result of a continuous fight against the evil but accepting the good. Fornication cannot step into the neighborhood of God. The one who already knows the Totality of God’s love will not desire anything better or more. He will realize that Totality is total: there is no bigger totality than Totality. There is no bigger love than God’s love. It is impossible that someone commits fornication who has already been lost in the love of God. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

Key topics: 

Key words: 

How a word becomes a Word of God?

End-of-year thoughts about the power of God’s Word

 

1. In how many ways the words of the Bible can be interpreted? Hermeneutics that examines the interpretations of a text is a quite diverse field of science. All of us carry the imprints of our own previous experiences and interpret everything we come across in this "life experience context". All these are incredibly honorable efforts to reveal the hidden correlations of a text and the billion versions of its interpretations. However if we apply these methods only in a "sterile" way, we would miss the Essence of understanding the Bible. Only our minds have been working, not our hearts. We have not become shaken. Jesus has been missed from the text – thus the conversation with God has also been missed. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

2. What helps to recognize the Word of God? We take the Bible either literally or seriously. I prefer old texts because these provide us much more to think about due to their "incomprehensibility" than today’s "ready-made" translations giving obvious interpretations. If we read the Biblical texts in their original languages, in Hebrew and in ancient Greek, we may realize that all these antique languages offer a wide range of possible interpretations. All this pulls us out of that interpretation frame which sticks our understanding to our own "life experience contexts". If we do not read or listen to the Word being open to the surprisingly new Vision of God then our souls remain closed for the truth. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

3. How a word becomes a Word of God? If we would like to accept the lines of the Bible not as a text but as a Word of God then we have to get ourselves out of our comfort zones. Most of the time God does not want to take us where we are just going. A word becomes a Word of God only if we are not alone when we accept it. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence and mercy of Jesus we do not get to recognize the will of the Father during reading the Bible. The act of studying the Bible in a community becomes important here. Preaching is not simply another one of the many interpretations, because the Word of God is not proclaimed by the minister but by the Holy Spirit through the minister. Preaching, songs and prayers of the sermon are the Silence of the Spirit in which the Word of God is revealed. "The Word will do what it states" (Péter Grendorf, my minister has recently said). Yes, the Word will be still working days and years after it was said. This is how the working of the Holy Spirit forms the image of Christ in us and shows us the Kingdom of God already in our lives on earth. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

 

Key topics: 

Key words: 

Subscribe to RSS - Bible