Fallible Faith

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Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)

As a pastor, I frequently encounter those who are struggling with their “fallible” faith. I always remind them to go back through the biblical record and see that this is the only kind of faith the people of God were ever able to demonstrate! We see the faith of Jesus and we marvel, as we rightly should, and it is this Christlike faith that we are to desire with every fiber of our being. But we must never imagine that this is the kind of faith we will demonstrate on this side of the grave. When we fall short—and we will, time and time again—we must remember that our salvation is not rooted in our faithfulness to Jesus, but rather in His faithfulness to us.

Let these few examples of fallible faith comfort you today:

  • Abraham tried twice to pass his wife off as his sister to save his own skin.
  • Jacob did everything he could to scheme his way into his birthright.
  • Moses killed an Egyptian taskmaster and hid in the desert for forty years.
  • David slept with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed to try to cover it up.
  • Elijah cried out for death after defeating the prophets of Baal.
  • Jonah ran from God’s call and spent three days in the belly of a great fish.
  • Peter denied Jesus three times in the courtyard on the night He was betrayed.
  • John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas during a missionary trip.

Fallible faith that leads to failure does not end your relationship with Christ! Falling is only fatal if you fail to get back up. Wherever this finds you, know that God wrote your story before the beginning of time, and it contains moments of rock-solid faith and moments where your faith falters. Why? Because you are still a sinner in moment-by-moment need of a Savior. This is the condition of each and every one of us. Not one of the giants of the faith listed here was disqualified from serving their Savior, even though they failed badly—many of them on more than one occasion. God restored them over and over again, calling them to continue in their calling.

When Job said, “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1), he was speaking of you and me! This was not a statement for the unbeliever and the ungodly. It is a biblical truth for everyone born of woman.

Near the end of his life, Paul wrote, “I have kept the faith.” Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Paul meant he kept the faith perfectly. Paul called himself the “chief sinner” (1 Timothy 1:15); everything he did he did imperfectly. His faith was as fallible as yours and mine, but Paul never let that stop him from doing what God had called him to do. May this be the confession of our lives as we seek to live, by God’s grace, for the good of others and the glory of God, in spite of a faith that will be fallible from time to time.

For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again . . . (Proverbs 24:16)

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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