A good foundation is critical to structural integrity. Daily, we see examples of structures that are well-built and that endure for generations because a proper foundation was laid. And we also see failures and ongoing expenses because a foundation wasn’t sufficient. The Houston Cotton Exchange, built in 1884, is still standing today. Dixie Farm Road between FM 518 and I-45 has always been a bad road–millions to construct and even more millions to constantly repair. Obviously, its base was inadequate. No amount of resurfacing will permanently solve the problem.
Paul called the church at Corinth “God’s building” that was begun by the efforts of Paul, who “as a wise master builder … laid a foundation”(1 Cor. 3:9-10). He then testified that “no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (v. 11). It’s difficult to miss the obvious point that God’s church is built upon the bedrock foundation that Jesus is the Christ, that He purchases our pardon by His blood, and that He is the cornerstone of the spiritual house that will endure for eternity (1 Pt. 1:18-19; 2:4-7).
Another essential foundation of our salvation is our obedient faith in the truths about Jesus. Without personal and individual certainty about the teachings of Scripture regarding Jesus, there can be no foundation for a saving faith.
Sometimes a building can look good on the outside, when in reality it’s unstable and unsafe. The churches that have been built by men may appear to be solid, and we may be beguiled by the number of adherents; but if they aren’t laid upon the foundations taught in Scripture, they cannot last. Jesus Himself said that such buildings are doomed to collapse because their foundation isn’t built upon His word (Mt. 7:24-27).
But there is another deceptive foundation which is the self-delusion of irrevocable uncertainty. The person who has convinced himself that spiritual truths cannot be known for certain has doomed himself to a hopeless existence. Sometimes a man’s own reasoning convinces him that one church is as good as another; and when Scriptural opposition to that notion is pointed out, often the response is that the interpretations of Scripture are faulty and unreliable. It never occurs to such a person that if the word of God cannot be correctly understood and faithfully followed, then there is no foundation. If Mt. 16:18 means anything other than that Christ will build His church (singular), then there can never be intellectual confidence that any organization is a church. If the “one body” (Eph. 4:4) and the “one faith” (Eph. 4:5) do not mean that they are exclusive of all other bodies and faiths, then there can never be any intellectual confidence that any church is the church of Christ. If the Scriptures can be distorted by the untaught and the unstable (2 Pt. 3:16), then it must also be true that those who have been taught and whose logical and reasonable faith is stable will not distort the truth.
The most hopeless person in the world is the person who has convinced himself that God’s word is unreliable; therefore, certainty is unattainable. The opposite of a wise man of faith is the man who lacks wisdom and is tossed about by doubt. This is a person whose mind is never certain and who is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:5-8). Which is not to say that he is always aware of his own instability. He may have convinced himself that to question and doubt the Scriptures is to hold the intellectual high ground. But it’s a quicksand foundation all the same. His view of Scripture makes him like the woman of Proverbs 5 who does not ponder the path of life or realize her own ways are unstable (Prov. 5:6).
Foundations are critical. Without them, nothing stands. If God’s word cannot be trusted as the foundation for a man to build his life upon, he will never find something that is better. Builder beware: The self-delusion of irrevocable uncertainty is the worst foundation material of all.
Keep studying. DC Brown ©2016