Our Christian faith is founded on a rock—it is firm, immovable, unshakable and indestructible. This foundation is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself. This truth was revealed in the discourse that the Lord Jesus Christ had with Peter. When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” he responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In reply, Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:15-16).
Many have speculated that Jesus was referring to Peter as the rock on which the church will be built. However, proper reading of Jesus’ words will reveal that the foundation of the church is Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ. This confession is as formidable as a rock and it is on the basis of believing that Jesus is the “foundational rock” that the church was indeed built. This was magnified by the apostle Paul when he said, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Therefore, every church that is built on this truth that Jesus is Lord will not be overcome by the gates of Hades.
To emphasize the significance of this foundation, the apostle Paul said, “God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’” (2 Tim. 2:19). This inscription provides hope for our salvation and yet demands that we need to do our part of turning away from sin. The hope that this provides is that we are able to build a relationship with the Lord to the point that he will come to know us as his own. The fact of the matter is that knowing the Lord is not as important as being known by him. We can all say that we know the Lord because we have come to hear or read about him but whether he knows us or not is a different story.
But how will the Lord know us? In his epistle to the Corinthian believers, the apostle Paul gave an idea on how we can be known by God when he said, “But whoever loves God is known by God” (1 Cor. 8:3). Do we love the Lord? Loving the Lord is not just confessing that He is our Lord or singing love songs to him. It is not also serving him at our own terms. Instead, Jesus himself said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21). Therefore, obedience to the commands of the Lord is the proof needed to show that we love the Lord. No matter how much we confess that Jesus is our Lord and that we love him so much, if we do not obey his commands, such confession and love mean nothing to him. He said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you’” (Matt. 7:22-23).
In establishing relationship with God, it is demanded of us that we turn away from wickedness. The apostle Paul warned: “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Gal. 4:9). No one who has come to know God should take the path that leads to sin again. It is important that we pursue righteousness all the way in obedience to the Lord’s command. For us to be assured of our salvation, we need to respond to the exhortation of Peter: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus” (Acts 3:19-20). The only cure to a downward spiral in faith is repentance. It is repentance that will refresh our relationship with the Lord as if nothing has happened. This entails complete submission to him and a commitment never to turn back.
With Jesus as the foundation of the church, no works of the evil shall be able to overcome it. This should be our comfort and joy as believers. However, we should ensure that we have the right relationship with God and this requires that we not only know him but that he knows us. Let us then excel in obedience, for this is the only way by which we can show that we love him and that he knows us. Praise the Lord!