Last post sought to answer the question (or at least initiate discussion) regarding what faith is. If indeed, as was established in the previous post, faith is characterized by heartfelt belief and exemplified in Christ-centered action, then mature faith must be an outflow from that starting place.
Scripture gives some hints regarding what a mature faith looks like. As mentioned in the last post, if one examines the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11, it isn’t hard to see that each example reveals faith lived out in active obedience to God’s calling. Beyond that, Peter tells us that we are to be adding to our faith.
5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
2 Peter 1:5-9 (ESV)
Clearly, coming to a recognition of Jesus Christ as having lived, died, resurrected, appeared, and ascended is essential to faith, but it is only the beginning of faith. It is the singular belief from which all other faith beliefs and actions spring. According to Peter, we are to be adding to our faith in our character, our knowledge, our self-controlled actions and attitudes, and ultimately in the way we relate to others. In short, if faith is characterized by heartfelt belief and exemplified in Christ-centered action, then mature faith must be characterized by heartfelt belief and exemplified in Christ-centered action thoroughly and consistently in the daily life of the believer, regardless of circumstance. Integrity and uniformity are present in the responses of the mature believer in good times and bad. Now, for the sake of clarity, notice I did not say perfectly. We may grow far in our faith, and perfection may be the target we are aiming for, but that perfection is not achievable this side of heaven. In other words, you ain’t Jesus, and neither am I.
To be sure, faith is something that is meant to develop over time: Indeed, it should be further developing over the course of the rest of life on Earth (or as I like to refer to it, when we finally graduate from Sunday School). While Scripture is clear that faith is essential, and that maturing faith is important, there are no clear descriptions regarding exactly what the process is that leads to mature faith. So, in our next blogpost, we will turn our attention more thoroughly toward how faith matures and grows.