For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21
Perhaps you’ve seen the movie Last Crusade. In it Indiana Jones has to make his way across a chasm wider than he can possibly jump. There is no way across. But he is told he must walk out onto the chasm by faith. As he walks a stone bridge magically appears. He passes his test of faith.
I’m not sure whether this is a good illustration of faith. But I am certain that I like the idea of faith finding the promises of God to be true rather than causing these promises to be. Faith does not cause God to do good. Faith does not cause God to make promises. Faith discovers and believes in the goodness of God. Faith receives the promises of God.
Most important is the object of faith. Faith in a false god – no matter how strong and sincere – will never save. Faith in a mediocre god or partially-true promise will yield only mediocre or partially true results.
The wide, deep, high, and long love of God is a pure and perfect object of our faith. That love is shown to be wide by breadth of people who have been touched by the love of God. People from every continent of the earth, and language and tribe, from every ethnicity, political persuasion, world view and sex call Jesus Lord. They have experienced the love of God. They’ve seen how far he will go to redeem us: from the heights of glory to the depths of the grave. They have experienced the deep touch of his love in their hearts.
All this is a matter of faith. Holding to the love of God requires faith, for it is not always evident. There are times when God seems far away. There are moments we may doubt and wonder about God’s goodness, or his willingness to be involved in our lives. Faith hangs sometimes by a thread on the love and promises of God. But faith’s strength is in its object.
Isaiah says, a bruised reed he will not break. A smoldering wick he will not quench. There is great comfort in God’s love in this case. For God honors even the weakest faith. That’s because he loves us. Deeply. With great breadth, and far-reaching width. We see this in Jesus’ suffering and death in our place, and his resurrection from the grave. Then he has sent his Holy Spirit to reach into my heart and brought me into the fellowship of his love. This I believe.