by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: The word radical means "the root or foundation" of something. In other words - it is the basis upon which other things are supported. It is clear that authentic faith "seems" to be radical (or extreme) in a time of mediocre, lukewarm Christianity.
I was privilieged to rub shoulders - and even butt heads - with a number of the giants of the faith who are now a part of the heavenly witnesses. Some of these men and women had a radical kind of faith as described in Hebrews 11. Radical does not mean irrational or even mystical. It means getting at the root or source of something.
If a person becomes a "radical" then he is an advocate for basic changes and reforms in the status quo. Radical does not have to mean something bad or good - it simply implies getting to the root of a matter and changing it when needed.
1. Radical Faith Takes God at His Word - No Questions Asked (11:6)
Revelation should not be confused with interpretation. There are some matters clearly revealed in the Scripture which require no interpretation. They need to be humbly accepted. Remember, it is not the part of the Bible you do not understand that will give you the most difficulty - it is the part of the Bible that is crystal clear!
"He that cometh to God must believe that he is . . . " That is why the humble believer can often understand more of God and the Bible than the seminary student (or professor). He does not approach the Scriptures to correct them. He comes to the Scriptures to be corrected.
2. Radical Faith Takes God at His Word - No Complaints (Romans 8:28)
This is really important. As the song says, "when you cannot understand what God is doing with his hand then you trust his heart." Radical faith does not believe that all things are good but that all things (good and bad) ultimatly issue in our good and God's glory.
3. Radical Faith Goes Beyond Human Intellect but Does not Exclude It (John 20:28)
There is both an intellectual and volitional facet to faith.
Thomas said "my God" and with his intellect identified the absolute deity of Christ.
Thomas said "my Lord" and with his volition affirmed that Jesus was the master of his life.
4. Radical Faith Goes Beyond Human Reason but Does Not Exclude It ( I Thessalonians 5:18)
It believes at times when it cannot comprehend.
It leads to :
Singing in prison (Acts 16:25)
Glory in tribulation (Romans 5:3)
Chooses affliction over comfort (Hebrews 11:25)
Humbly accepts God's will (Philippians 1:12)
Conclusion: The Scripture says it is impossible to please God without faith. For the believer it presents a paradox - I need to trust God without needing to know why. For the unbeliever it presents a practical matter - what God wants me to do goes beyond reason yet it is not unreasonable.