A Life of Faith
Posted On November 21, 2017
Attendees of one of Reformation Bible College’s recent chapel services had the honor of hearing Dr. Tom Ascol present the Word of God. Dr. Ascol is the senior minister of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla., and the executive director of Founders Ministries, which has worked to encourage doctrinal faithfulness in local churches for over three decades. He has also taught in various capacities for multiple theological schools and seminaries. Dr. Ascol brought a message from 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, concerning the faithfulness of God amidst the suffering of the Christian.
At the outset of his message, Dr. Ascol noted that though trials and sufferings are commonplace and even inevitable in the Christian life, that Christians are called to a life of faithfulness. He stated, “The Christian life is a life of faith; we never advance beyond faith.”
So, being faithful in the middle of suffering is a necessary component of the proper Christian life, and we should constantly seek out how we might strengthen our faith. Upon this foundation, Dr. Ascol posited that, in this text, Paul teaches the Corinthians of the usefulness of trials in causing us to put our trust and faith exclusively in God. That is, as he noted, “God uses trouble in order to make us rely upon Him.” Paul knows that the Corinthians have suffered, and he connects their suffering to experiences in his own life. However, Paul doesn’t make it about himself—he makes it all about God and his work, desiring that the reader would come away thinking about the incredible, purposeful work of God.
Since, as Dr. Ascol posited, “Trouble is God’s appointed tutor to train us in the school of faith,” we ought to look at the nature of God’s work in those trials and sufferings. They have a way of exposing the poverty of our own resources. In fact, all that we have is strictly on account and a direct result of God’s gift of plenteous blessing in and with Christ. This same point is seen in the fact that God used the trial described in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 to make Paul not rely upon himself but rather to rely only upon Him. For, relying upon God exclusively results in the gifts of freedom from worry and freedom in confidence, which we can have because we know the Person who has our interests at heart. Because of the goodness of these gifts, there can be a propensity to forget the Giver in place of the gifts themselves. However, if we find that our faith is drifting away from God and resting more and more in the gifts He’s given, looking to Paul can present us with the opportunity to give up those things and to put all our trust and faith in the God who raises the dead. Furthermore, if our God can raise the dead, why should we be scared of the cares of this world? Indeed, God is faithful to us, and Paul’s confidence that He will be faithful in the future, both now and at the second advent of Christ, should be ours as well.
In conclusion, Dr. Ascol’s message informed and reminded listeners that though trials attempt to ensnare us, Christ frees and delivers us and God faithfully delivers us as His people. He stated, “God’s faithfulness in the past gives us confidence for His faithfulness in the future. Past grace gives us hope for future grace.”
Nate King is a sophomore student at Reformation Bible College.