Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Confession of Faith

In E. Stanley Jones autobiography he recalled being in an evangelistic series in Columbia, S.C. back in the thirties.  Those were days of hard core segregation and relationships were sensitive. “I was on the side of human rights,” Jones remembered, “for I was bound in every man’s bondage. I could only be free in every man’s freedom…”

Jones felt that he should say something that evening, but freely admitted he “didn’t want to do so. So I put it off till the last minute, hoping I could be excused.” Later, as he entered the pulpit, he admitted “the inner voice said, ‘You’ve got to.’ So I hurriedly wrote out a note and before I spoke I read it to the audience.” Following is what he wrote:

      Before I give my address, I am reading an obituary notice which will           come as a shock to the friends of the deceased: Democracy died today         in the city of Columbia when American citizens were denied the right to       vote because of the color of their skins. For those who have eyes to see,       the ballot box will henceforth be draped in mourning.’ Shall we pray.”

One verse of Jones’s Song of Ascent is his “Christian Confession of Faith,” There was but one way according to E. Stanley Jones, God's Way, and his faith in God affected every facet of his life, as attested by his experience in Columbia, S. C. that evening, and as attested by his many books, which include The Way (1946 Devotional). As you read his testimonial, consider how your faith should influence every facet of your life:

“The Christian way is not an alien way; it is … the natural way to live  ... I am made in my inner
structure and outer relationships by Christ and for Christ; and when I find him, I find myself.

“And I find my brother. I find how to live as an individual and as a member of society. I am made for Christ as the eye is made for light. I can no more live without him than the eye can live without light.

“ … ‘Without him (Christ) was not anything made that was made ‘(John 1:3); ‘trough whom he (Christ) created all orders of existence’ (Heb. 1:3 NEB). Here are … John, Paul, and the author of Hebrews—saying … that all things, visible and invisible, in heaven and on earth, have been made by Christ and for Christ.

“If this means anything, it means I am structured by Christ and for Christ; in my makeup, it means I am made for him. The church has apparently never taken these passages seriously. It has quoted Augustine’s saying: ‘O God, thou hast made us for thyself, and we are restless until we rest in thee.’

“But these passages are more specific … When I live in him, by him, and for him, I live; if I live some other way, I tend to go to pieces—I perish. I may hold together in the pressures of a semi-Christian environment in a semblance of living, but … I am under the law of decay.

“ … I am destined by my makeup to be a Christian. I may live against that destiny, for I am still free; but … I get hurt—physically, spiritually, mentally, socially … I don’t know how to live. If I live in him, I do know how to live—this is the Way. Dogmatic? No, proved fact …”

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