Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Perhaps you've heard people say that there's freedom in Christ.
Maybe you've wondered what that looks like. Does that freedom only take effect after we've died? Or does Christ free us to think and live in a new way? How is living by faith in Christ liberating? Pastor Rich unpacks this question over a series of four messages, starting with today's, which is titled The Basis of Faith. Today's passage, 1 Peter 1, 22-25, shows us that freedom starts with God's Word, His self-disclosure. Let's listen in now. All right, so you have your copy of the scriptures open to 1 Peter.
I'm going to let you know where we are. OK, so as we go through 1 Peter, there's several series that we're doing in this letter of 1 Peter. OK, in the first part of it was chapter 1 verses 1 through 12. It's the identity of a free people, because the whole the title of this whole series of 1 Peter is Live as People Who Are Free, 2.16. What does that freedom mean?
Live as people who are free. So now we're entering, we're embarking on a four part series here, and it's entitled Living by Faith is Liberating. Living by Faith is Liberating, chapter 1, verses 13 to 25. Now, I'm not going to begin with verse 13 because I'm going to begin with verse 22.
All right. And the title of today's message is The Basis of Faith. I think it's important that we begin there. What is the basis of our faith? Because after we consider the basis of our faith, then we're going to be looking at next week the object of our faith. And then after that, we're going to look at the attitude of faith. And then finally, we're going to look at the conduct of faith. So a little bit all around then, and then after that, we're going to get into 12 characteristics.
And this is after this series is done, then take us through the rest of the year until we get up to Thanksgiving time. 12 characteristics of people who are free. You're welcome. Now that you're thoroughly confused.
All right. Today, Living by Faith, a new series today, a four part series, Living by Faith is Liberating, part one, The Basis of Faith. The word basis is the word that means the necessary and principal component.
The necessary and principal component. Faith is not just wishful thinking. Are you with me on that? Because there is so much confusion today in the secular world and even in the spiritual world about what faith actually means. So much so that they think faith and reason are mutually exclusive. That is the hardest thing from the truth. Use your reason to exercise faith, the necessary and principal.
What is it? Here's a verse we know well, Romans 10, 17. There it is. So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.
Say that with me. Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ. That is the basis of faith.
So there is information there. That information is God's self-disclosure through human agency. So three things I want to talk about today in terms of the word of God is the basis of our faith. First of all, God's word communicates. Secondly, God's word converts. Thirdly, God's word calls. God's word communicates, it converts, and it calls. So let's look at God's word communicates.
And in true fashion, I'm going to begin right at the very end of the chapter. Verse 25, this is the word, this word is the good news that was preached to you. The communication of God, I call it God's self-disclosure. He makes himself known. The gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.
God has made himself known through the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ. That is the basis of our freedom. What does it mean to be free? As we talked about last time, our freedom is to be free from the penalty and the bondage of our sin. The penalty and bondage of our sin free from, but there's also that we are free too. We are free to know God and enjoy him. Walk with him, delight in him.
Why? Because that's why we were made. You and I exist for the very purpose of knowing God and enjoying him. And eternal life simply means we will get to do that forever.
That's life. And being separated from God, being alienated from God, is the very definition of death. So that is the gospel. Free from the bondage and the penalty of sin, the necessary holy penalty of sin, which is the wrath of God, because he is holy and we are not. So that is the freedom that is ours. And in Sundays to come, we're going to be hearing living pictures of my freedom in Christ through faith.
That is our freedom. And the basis of that is the word of God, what he has communicated. God's word communicates, God's self-disclosure. And it is so important, so important, that we must know God in the way that he has made himself known. Because if I don't know God in the way that he's made himself known, then I could be guilty of idolatry in worshiping simply the God of my imagination or the God of my feelings or the God of my ideology or no God at all.
I end up creating him in my image. We must know God in the way he's made himself known. That's why the word of God is the basis of our faith.
The truth is, yes, man is a rational being. But the truth of that is that man cannot know God by human reason alone. Mere human reason will not take us, cannot know God salvifically without God making himself known.
He has to make himself known. Now, we can know by human reason in our existence that there is a God, that there is an infinite and a personal creator. Romans 1, I think, makes this very clear. But the identity of that God and the work that he has done to reconcile us and redeem us, to recognize that we are unholy people, that requires self-disclosure of God. As John Clowney says, the word of the Lord constantly presents the Lord of the Word.
Coming to the Word is coming to the Lord. So, this gospel, the word of Christ, this word of God's self-disclosure is the basis of our faith. The basis of our faith directs us to the object of our faith. Faith has an object. And the very most important point of faith is, what is the object of your faith? You're trusting something. You've entrusted yourself to something.
Is it trustworthy? Everyone believes something or another, right? Everyone has a belief system. The question is, is the object of your faith, your trust, trustworthy? So, God communicates. And God communicates with a view towards communion. So, as I said, the basis of our faith directs us to the object of our faith. That's our study next week.
Next week, we'll be looking at the object of our faith. Today, the basis of our faith, God communicates with a view to communion. What does it mean by communion? Interacting.
Interacting with each other. So that I know him, walk with him, enjoy him, delight in him. God communicates with a view to communion. The gospel is the gospel of reconciliation. It is the word of Christ, he says in verse 25. The word of Christ. One of my favorite verses, 2 Corinthians 4, 6. God, this God who said, let light shine out of darkness.
What is he talking about? He's talking about the creation of the cosmos. The creation of the universe. God said, let light shine out of darkness.
That's the first thing he created, wasn't it? Light. Let light shine out. This God who said, let, he spoke and it was created. This God has shown the light in our hearts to give, has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It's the word of Christ. It's the gospel. And he shines his light into our darkness to rescue us from that darkness, from our delusions, from our despair and even death.
This is the word of God. The word of God communicates. God has made himself known to us. The infinite, sovereign creator of the universe who transcends all. He's not a part of the created order.
He has communicated with us. God, the basis of our faith is the word of God that communicates. Secondly, the word of God converts. Now look with me at verse 23. The word of God converts. Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable seed through the living and abiding word of God.
I could spend three months on that verse, but I won't. Imperishable seed. God's word converts.
What does he say? The words that he uses for the word of God here. First of all, it is living. He's using a metaphor here, the imperishable seed.
It is a living. God's word is the seed. And the word seed here that he uses is the word spora. In this spora, there is inherent creative force.
Take a seed, plant it in the ground, something grows. Inherent creative force. It is the life-giving power of the word of God.
There's a nuance of parentage in this. Edmund Clowney, again, it is the seed of life sown in our hearts to create new life. God's word is creative. He speaks and it is done.
He commands and it stands fast. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
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