Bible,  Faith,  Sermon

Faith: The Ultimate Underdog

I was at mile twenty and pretty sure there was no way I could finish. Mile twenty has a name for marathoners: “the wall.” It’s when you think you can go no further. I was there. I was spent, all out of juice, dead in the water.

It is commonly said that faith is at mile twenty; it’s dead on arrival, a dying trade, a disappearing, unnecessary artifact from a bygone era. The culture is like the voice in the runner’s head: it’s time to quit! Atheists think faith has had its day. Sam Harris says that our faith is “the permission that religious people give one another to believe things strongly when reasons fail” In a recent book called, Faith verses Fact, Jerry Coyne says, “Faith may be a gift in religion, but in science it’s poison, for faith is no way to find truth.”
The story of faith is the ultimate underdog story: the team that everybody expects to lose is the team who wins it all

But you have to get through the wall. 

Jesus’ friend, Peter, knows about hitting the wall; he knows what mile 20 is like. He’s been there, dropped at the side of the road with what seemed like the whole world passing him by. But Peter has something to say to those who find themselves hitting the wall:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Our Faith, the smallest, tiniest little divine deposit, is the most powerful thing we have and, because of who gave it to us, who purchased it, treasures it, tests it and guarantees it, it is guaranteed get us all the way. We will not only finish but obtain the glory we desired on that day we were born of the Spirit.  

I finished that race in Chicago, slowly, but I got there. You, through your faith in Jesus Christ, will make it as well. And on that day we will have more than a runners high; we will have glory.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.