PROJECT TOPIC: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF FAITH IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN
1.1 Background of the study
The New Testament authors emphasize unremittingly that the key to genuine human flourishing is faith in Jesus Christ as the revealed and revealing Word of God, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). In the Gospels Jesus speaks and acts with a hitherto unknown authority that confounds his enemies but induces many others to seek him out and put him at the center of their lives. The latter he praises for their faith; the former he reproaches in the strongest terms, threatening that on the day of reckoning they will fare even worse than the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Similarly, in his Epistles St. Paul insists that it is faith in Jesus Christ, rather than observance of the moral, judicial, and ritual precepts of the Mosaic Law, that effects our liberation from the slavery of sin and the dawn of a new life as the adopted sons and daughters of our Father God. And even though Paul cautions that faith in Christ is worthless without the filial love of God and concomitant fraternal love of neighbor that Christ has made possible for us, it is clear that faith is prior to charity at least insofar as it gives us our initial cognitive and affective access to the object of our supernatural love. Faith in Christ, then, lies at the heart of the Christian way of life. But what exactly is this faith and how exactly does it function within the Christian life? What vision of ultimate truth does it set before us? What ideal way of life does it propose for us? And how does one imbued with that vision and that ideal, along with the wisdom they promise, look upon the main alternatives proposed by philosophers who have sought wisdom outside the framework of faith in Jesus Christ? These are some of the questions I wish to broach here My purpose thus differs at least formally from that of the many contemporary Christian philosophers who have been trying to show that faith in Christ is reasonable by standards of rationality that have some purchase even on non-believers. This is an important project for Christian philosophers to undertake, especially in our present philosophical culture, which by and large rejects, oftentimes aggressively, Jesus Christ and faith in him.1 What’s more, much good fruit has come of this project. Not only have currently fashionable accounts of rationality been subjected to rigorous scrutiny, but comprehensive and philosophically interesting alternatives have been proposed in their stead.
The Bible was written for people with no real faith. We all begin with a minus. If we have no faith, reading the Bible produces it, and if we have some faith we get more the same way. We don’t acquire faith first and bring it to scripture. Scripture encourages faith “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Many who don’t believe don’t read the Bible. They are sick and leave the medicine with the bottle tightly corked. People without faith should be warned that if they open the Bible they are likely to finish up as believers. The Bible brings us to the cross people do not start moving mountains until they have been to mount Calvary. They could not move even a molehill or a mole. Real faith doesn’t start in university. We’ll have less if we go there without any! If we have not been to where Christ save not even a Doctorate in Theology will do. The starting point is fired at the “green hill for away outside the city wall”. From there, we tread on and on towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ (Philippians 3:14). Walking in doubt is like going back to a Victorian age. We need a radar and faith provides it in this world of uncertainly. “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith’ (Romans 1:17). Believe God! It is life’s knowledge and experience across the area of faith as widely as I can, whether people are well along the road or just and share treasures with them I have collected over a life time. The plus life, one morning Jesus walked along the shingled edge of Lake Galilee and beckoned too few local fishermen. He said, “follow me!” (Matthew 4:19). At the moment everything began for them. Until then “Everything” had only been fish and then it became people, action, and changing world history, with ever-increasing faith, ever-increasing effects. Jesus did not call them, smiles and wear sackcloth. Jesus didn’t want to turn folk into stick in the – mud’ people. He wasn’t so conventional himself! The disciplines caught His bubbling spirit, which challenged the stuffy establishment. He showed them new things, especially faith and love, and them they conquered the world. The primary truth about God is that He is the Deliverer, the emancipator, and the saviour. He is God only to the free. Faith is a venture that turns life into an adventure. Doubts get us nowhere. They are mooring ropes. Believing God means we cast off, like ships designed for riding the high seas and going somewhere. Faith inspires. Doubt paralyzes. Faith says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” unbelief does nothing, faith is God is exciting.
We becomes what we were born to be only when we are “born again” by faith in Christ Jesus. Christ said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). The world’s greatest book on freedom is the Bible. The very idea of freedom came from the Bible not from Greece or Rome. Read it! Remember God made the first free nation ever seen on earth, Israel, and He wants to put a sense of liberty in our very soul. God opposes tyranny. The Gospel makes us the freeborn sons of God.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
People have talked about those who “bury themselves in religion”. Well, in religion may be, but Christianity is Christ, and you can’t call Christ a religion! He is the resurrection and the life. Christ said, “If you hold to my teaching. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). He is no deceiver millions have found themselves gloriously free through the Gospel. His words do not strike us with rules and commandments. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The Sermon on the Mount describes what Christians are naturally, what they want to do, not what people should be like. When Paul the Apostle was preaching in an upstairs room in Trocas “there was many lights” there (Acts 20:8). The Bible writers have a way of saying that kind of thing when conveying a spiritual truth. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the effectiveness of faith in the life of a Christian
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of faith in the life of a Christian, to aid the completion of the study, the following specific objectives were formulated:
i) To investigate the effectiveness of faith in the life of a Christian
ii) To investigate the effect of faith in living a successful Christian life
iii) To evaluate the role of pastors in growing the faith of Christians
iv) To ascertain if there is a relationship between personal believes and Christian faith
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher
H0: the effectiveness of faith has no effect on the growth of Christian life
H1: the effectiveness of faith has effect on the growth of Christian life
H02: faith does not contribute to effective Christian life
H2: faith does contribute to effective Christian life
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of significant importance to the christiandom, as the findings intend to spell out the importance and advantages of the effectiveness of faith in the life of a christian. The findings will also be of great importance to the academia’s as the findings will add to the pool of knowledge. And finally the study will be of great importance to students, teachers and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study covers an investigation into the effectiveness of faith in the life of a Christian in Nigeria, in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study:
(a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c) Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
It also includes a belief in the New Covenant. According to most Christian traditions, Christian faith requires a belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead, which he states is the plan of God the Father. The precise understanding of the term "faith" differs among the various Christian traditions.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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