Christ is the revelation of Father through the Holy Spirit. He is God, made man Who is often referred to as God the son. In the Trinity, Christ occupies the position of the Son who is to redeem mankind. “As my Father sent me, so l am sending you,” Jesus Christ told His disciples. His absolute faithfulness and loyalty to the Father is manifested in all His activities here on earth.
In His faithfulness to the Father, Christ in great joy desire nothing else than to be among men, assuming human nature at the fullness of time, for the love of men. He knew He was going to die, the death He willingly accepted, and in foretelling His coming Passion He sweetly consoled His disciples. Yet, in keeping faith with His Father, He sadly declared, “If this cup is Your Will, let it pass over me,” turning out His total resignation to His Father who sent Him, “Father, May Your Will be done,” Christ said.
Even before His Passion, after the marathon fast and self- mortification for forty days and nights, Christ manifested His faithfulness and obedience to God’s will by rebuking Satan and causing him to depart from Him, adding that it is only God who must be worshipped.
Barth, a Swiss Theologian who lived between 1886 and 1968 says “Faith is like God’s lightening, always striking our hearts”. Like Christ, man must have unconditional and absolute faith in God because man lived and practiced answer to God is FAITH. Faith is existential. Concretely, it means that Christians’ Kerygma i.e Christ’s death, resurrection and coming again, seems only to exist in as much as it is eminent. In this way, faith or belief in the cross means that man takes the cross of leaving his old world (sin), that he loses his life in God. Belief in the resurrection means that he rises into a life of freedom, faith and hope.
P. Tillich, another famous theologian says Christ’s resurrection signifies that the New Being has become reality in Christ and that He gives New Being to those who believe in Him. Christ, in this situation is the bearer of the New Being. New being consists herein that man is re- united with himself, with people and with God who is the ground of Being. In other words, man is saved by Christ. According to the Bible, genuine faith in God is only possible by means of belief in the world and belief in man. God Himself became man on our earth. Christ places Himself behind every human being. Thus, the credibility of faith in God is attested to by the believer’s faithful commitment to the world and his fellow man.
Faith or belief is not a matter of course or self – evidence. All beliefs lie beyond the realm of “proof” i.e an argument which inevitably entails the assent of human reason. Real evidence always concerns more or less objectified and scientific phenomena. Even the believer himself cannot “prove” his belief and love for himself. He may cite reasons but cannot present an exhaustive explanation and justification of his belief. “The heart has reasons which reason itself does not understand,” so says Pascal, a famous Philosopher.
Nobody can “prove” the existence of God, nor can anyone “prove” the divinity of Christ. Neither God nor Christ Himself “demonstrated” themselves. Christ only evokes God. He invites people to believe in Him. Faith or belief in God or Christ is self – manifesting. It is unconditional and unprovable. Likewise, a work of art does not prove itself; it simply appeals to man’s esthetic feeling and to the recognition of beauty by man. Jesus, therefore refused to give a “proof ” of His Divine mission and personality. If God or Christ were to prove Himself man would no longer be able to believe in God or Jesus Christ. In other words, the demonstration of God or Christ by Himself or by others would make free surrender, responsible commitment and faith impossible. Faith demands a free and personal response and involvement.
This is the type of faith that Christ has demonstrated all through His life, in His Faithfulness to His Father. It is the same faith we are expected to reposess in God, who though is absent, but is very present in us and with us.
Our belief in God is demonstrated in our contact with Christ through prayers. In His passion Christ demonstrated His faithfulness to God through prayers where His sweat turned into blood. Christ experienced great sadness and bitterness in His soul when He said, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death”. He was encompassed in fear, anguish, pain and the torments of crucifixion, that in faithfulness to God, he knelt and prayed three times to His Father. We must therefore imbibe explicit prayer which is an express approach to Christ with everyday joys and pursuits, troubles and worries, in order to recollect our spread activities and to allow them to be fulfilled in the face of God. Prayer is the constant orientation of our life and faith in Christ. It is the silent dwelling upon Christ, just as a husband and wife or friends enjoy being together without special purpose. We have the prayer of repentance, of thanks, of praise and of petition. Prayer of petition manifests itself in belief, hope and attention to our fellow men and God. Christ taught us and did Himself use a persistence, confidence and surrendering prayer. This is manifested in “Our Lord’s Prayer” which He personally taught His disciple.
Faithfulness of Christ to the Father is manifested in His entire life ———- from birth, teachings, death and resurrection. It is the basis of man’s belief and faith in God. It is a model for all men and the ground for Christian faith and religion. If we are the followers of Christ, men must borrow a leaf from Christ in faithfulness, not only to our God, but also to our fellow human beings; our wives, children, relations and friends. Our Christian life must be upright, including active participation in evangelization. Men, as the active heads of various families have active roles to play in building the church of God. Like Christ to His church, men must occupy the forefront in all church activities as well as guaranteeing the peace, security and economic well being of the family and church. In totality men assume the headship and leadership role in the family, the church, the community and the entire nation bearing in mind, the fear of God in all they do. They must bear in mind also that belief and hope in Christ is the expectation of a new creation and a summons to human and worldly commitment. The event of Christ’s resurrection and glorification is the guarantee of our hope in achieving the salvation of our souls. According to Bonhoeffer who advised men from the prison where he was held captive, “We must always live close to the presence of God, for that is newness of life. Nothing is impossible, for all things are possible with God and no earthly power can touch us without His will, and danger can only drive us closer to Him. We can claim nothing for ourselves and yet we may pray for everything. Our joy is hidden in suffering while our life is hidden in death. But all through, we are sustained in a wondrous fellowship, the brotherhood of man. To all these, God in Jesus has given His “Yes” and “Amen” and that is the firm ground on which we stand”.
Pat Asakome who is a broadcaster, an author and analyst in Pubic affairs, writes from Lagos, Nigeria