A Walk of Faith
By Ken Holmgren
Everything by faith.
These are the words an early member of Bethel Christian Fellowship used to describe the ministry of our founding pastor, Almeda Engquist. As I thought about the meaning of this simple, all-encompassing phrase, I remembered an interview I had almost forty-three years ago with a highly esteemed pastor who was nearing the time of his homegoing to heaven. It gave me an insight that enlarged my understanding of faith, an insight that I have never forgotten.
E.C. Erickson, who had served as pastor of the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle in Duluth, Minnesota, for forty-six years, was nearing his eighty-second birthday when I sat down with him and asked him questions about his life and ministry. In the words of 2 Corinthians 4:16, his “outward man [was] perish[ing], yet [his] inward man [was being] renewed day by day” (King James Version).
As I noticed the contrast between the weakness of his physical house and the vibrant strength of his spirit, I asked him how it felt to know that he was nearing the day he would go to be with Christ. His response, which came to be deeply imprinted on my heart, was that faith is the substance of the Christian life. This is how he said it:
God has made the Christian walk a walk of faith from beginning to end, from the first step until the last. Faith is not feeling, and trust is not [mere] trace. I must exercise just as much faith in the reality of heaven now that I’m eighty-two years old as I did when I was eighteen years old and had just started in the Christian way.
This statement takes me back to the first Sunday in October 1970, when the words of Hebrews 11:6 spoke deeply to my heart. I had known this verse before, but that morning the truth that “without faith it is impossible to please God” took on new meaning in my life. I began to understand in a greater way that faith is not an option. Rather, it is the only means by which we can come into relationship with God. We must turn from our sin and self-effort and rest our hope of forgiveness and eternal life entirely on Christ’s death and resurrection.
This is the first step of faith that E.C. Erickson alluded to in his statement above. I took this step almost sixty-two years ago, and I have never regretted my succeeding steps in my walk of faith. Along the way, God has continually, persistently called me to grow in my faith by releasing my efforts to control people and events in my life. He has never failed to invite me to enter more fully into my walk of faith in Him.
The Lord Jesus is calling you and me to a life of everything by faith. Will you join me at the cross, the place of surrender to Him and commitment to trust Him? Together, we can walk with faith in Him, step by step through every season of life, until we take the last step to our heavenly home.