The first pillar of salvation is the belief that Jesus, the man, is Lord. The second is related to the first. It is the practice of obedience to Jesus, and it is related to the crucial belief in the sense that it facilitates the power of that belief, the strengthening of one’s faith.

I say the practice of obedience because its rewards are gradual and cumulative rather than immediate. We likened the strengthening of faith to the increased gravitational pull of Christ vis-a-vis the pulls competing with His, and we said that each step taken closer to Christ affects their relative strengths. Keeping to that image, those steps constitute the practice of obedience.

To switch to a different image, growth in faith may be likened to growth in bodily strength. The body grows stronger slowly and cumulatively, in response to a practice of obedience to a training program. A training program holds out the promise of increased strength, but the only way of testing that promise is to follow the program. Just so, the Christian promise is that growth in faith results from following a program of obedience to the discipline of Christ, but the only way of testing the promise is adherence. The results cannot be seen prior to the practice. We live by faith, not by sight, is Paul’s way of describing the Christian life, the life of steady growth in Christ.

In the Christian life, the evidence awaits the verdict.

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