Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
March 12, 2017
What difference does it make?
Every Sunday our congregation stands and recites together the Apostles’ Creed, that ancient statement of faith that is also called the Affirmation of Faith. The creed is a brief summary of basic Christian beliefs. Composed in the year 325 A.D, the traditional version contains little more than 100 words. Many Christians can recite it from memory.
The creed begins with these words: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.”
Christians cannot prove that God exists. By faith they “believe” that he does. So the reciting of the creed is a way for believers to say: this is what we believe. We have faith in God and this faith is grounded in the teaching of the Bible.
The Bible says plainly that faith in God is necessary. The writer of Hebrews says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (11:6).
God has given all people the freedom to ignore him and to even believe that he is a figment of the imagination, a myth created by the religions of the world. Does it make a difference to believe in God? I believe strongly that faith in God makes a remarkable difference.
Allow me to illustrate that difference by looking briefly at the life of the brilliant composer Franz Schubert, whose music has been loved by millions of people for several centuries. Not long before his death at age 31, Schubert wrote this to a friend: “I feel myself to be the most unhappy, unfortunate creature in the world. Every night, when I go to sleep, I hope I will not wake again, and every morning reminds me only of yesterday’s unhappiness.”
That sad comment drove me to learn more about Schubert’s life. In reading the biography of his life I found no mention of God. Though he was a musical genius, composing during his brief life hundreds of marvelous pieces of music, he evidently lived a “godless” life. The only reference is religion I found was the casual observation that Schubert was an agnostic.
Why did Schubert did so young? His death was caused by syphilis, which he contracted through “his association with prostitutes.” Schubert worked in the church, sang in the choir, played musical instruments in worship, and even received the Holy Sacrament on his death bed. But evidently he never through faith in Christ entered into a personal relationship with God.
Does faith in God make a difference? To answer that question, consider another man, a man named Joseph whose story is found in the first book of the Bible. While a young man, Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers who hated him. But the Bible says Joseph survived because “The Lord was with him and gave him success in everything he did.”
Joseph had faith in God. He believed in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” That faith was never more beautiful than in that dramatic moment when he forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery and said to them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”
Does faith in God make a difference? Oh Yes! Yes, faith makes a profound difference. And faith comes alive when I choose to say with all my heart, “I believe!” + + +