The Real and the Knockoff Pt 4: The Two Foundations
The real and the knockoff Pt 4
The Two Foundations
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
A house without a proper foundation becomes a crypt, ready to collapse and bring death to its occupants. As Jesus concludes his sermon, he provides the final test of authentic faith. He challenges people now to make a choice. There are two gates, two trees, and two confessions. And now two foundations for life.
The first foundation is the one who hears and acts upon his words. He points to two critical tasks of living by faith. The first is a desire to listen to the words of God. The wise person, who demonstrates authentic faith, becomes a learner who desires to know what God has communicated to us. The verb suggests an ongoing process of listening rather than just a one-and-done response. The wise person continually hungers to understand the words of Christ. Psalm 1 describes the blessed man who “delights in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” He does not turn to the world and hits wisdom for guidance. Instead, he continually and daily goes back to the words of Christ to find his moral and spiritual compasses.
Second, the wise person obeys Jesus’ words. Knowing the Bible and even approving of its message is one thing; it is quite another to obey his words. Only in obedience are the words of Christ genuinely transforming. This verb “obey” also points to an ongoing process. Just as we grow in our knowledge of God’s word by seeking to hear its message, we also grow in performing and carrying out its instruction. The wise build their life upon scripture. It is their blueprint for life. When confronted with questions of life, morality, purpose, and meaning, the wise man turns to scripture and obeys its teaching.
The foolish individual does the opposite. However, we must notice that this person also listens to the words of Christ. He is not one who completely rejects the words of Christ. He hears them, but he refuses to live by them. He remains indifferent to its message, so he ignores the implications of them. He has knowledge but no action. Instead of acting upon the news, he instead goes his way. Instead of responding in obedience, he fails to take seriously the necessity of obeying the words of God. He is a fool in that he follows the advice and counsel of the world.
At first glance, both the house seems to be built well. Above ground, their lovely home is filled with all the furniture that makes life enjoyable. Outwardly both homes would capture the eye for its construction. However, it is what is hidden from sight where the difference lies. It is the foundation.
The test comes when adversity strikes. Neither the wise nor the fool is insulated from the struggles and storms of life. We live in a broken world where sin remains, and its destructive effects are still felt by both the righteous and the wicked. The difference between the wise and the fool is not the experiences and circumstances they encounter. Both face adversity. Both face the storms of life that shake our lives down to the foundation. The difference between the two is revealed in the effect the battery has. Because the fool has built his life on the wisdom of this world, when adversity comes, he has no security, nothing to protect him, and so his house becomes his crypt.
The wise man, who lives to obey God, has security and stability. Because his life is built his life upon obedience to Christ and his word, he has an anchor for his soul. Because he has the proper foundation, he can withstand the severest test. This brings us to our final test of authenticity in our faith. Are we living in obedience to the words of Christ so that when adversity comes, we can stand firm in our faith, knowing God is caring for us and that he is orchestrating all things to accomplish his purpose? Or are we living by our wisdom, and in the end, we have no hope with adversity comes? What foundation are we building our life upon?