“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’”(Romans 1:16-17).
Most Christians are likely familiar with this text. T-shirts and coffee mugs have been designed with this verse as the main focus. We love declaring the first lines along with Paul: indeed, we too, are not ashamed of the gospel! It is a beautiful, truth-filled piece of scripture that has the power to encourage and inspire us to live boldly by faith.
Similar things can be said about Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” We are saved by faith. The righteous live by faith. This idea of faith becomes so relevant to Christians that we often refer to our belief system simply as our faith.
In Hebrews 11:1, the writer explains that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” This scripture shows that there aspects of faith that we do not (and cannot) fully see or understand. We believe in God. We trust in His word. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, that we see through a mirror dimly lit. We now know in part, but one day, when we are face to face with our King, we will see clearly, know fully.
EXPLORING THE UNKNOWABLE
There is something wildly mysterious about all of this when we look directly at it. These ideas of “mirrors dimly lit,” “things unseen,” and “things hoped for” along with other unknown aspects of our faith can seem intimidating and even strange in our present age. Today, complete and perfect knowledge often feels attainable with a simple google search. We, even as Christians, may not practice faith in any other avenue of our life. We expect our other truth to reflect knowledge, facts, and absolute certainty.
To find truth, then, we often look to reason or logic. We look for patterns and direct data to measure the authenticity of our claims. Nothing trumps science; facts are the ultimate victor in conversation.
No doubt this understanding of truth has gained prominence since the Enlightenment and the rise of modernity, but this influence has extended into our faith, as well. We’ve developed apologetics that point to all the reasonable explanations that backup our faith. We long to show others that our faith makes sense, and while these explanations can be helpful, it seems that we sometimes rely so much on making our faith make sense that we lose its unique mystery. In many ways these attempts are just ways that we try to see the unseen. It is as if we do not trust the dimness of the mirror, so we fill it in ourselves in an attempt to see it fully.
CELEBRATING THE MYSTERY
This issue of The Grounds Journal attempts to celebrate the unique mystery of faith. Each writer was tasked with writing on things unknown and unseen in some capacity. Naturally, you will find arguments in each article that utilize some element of reason and logic. This is not lost on the editor nor the writers. In no way are we trying to devalue reason and logic, both of which are great and unique gifts given to us by our Lord. This issue does not dismiss that, but rather, it attempts to place faith alongside reason, showing that Truth stands somewhere between the two.
Our hope is that you will be encouraged to embrace the greatest mystery of our faith: that God came down, died, and rose again to adopt sinners into His family. We can be sure that this mystery has been revealed in Christ, but there is much left to uncover. There is much left unseen, but as we stare into the dimly lit mirror, let us enjoy its dimness rather than quickly searching for false light and pseudo-clarity. Let us embrace the mystery and learn to love it. Let us be satisfied in not knowing it all, in hoping for more, in trusting in something wiser than us. Let us indeed live by faith.