There are three levels of authentic faith:
1) you start with the historical facts and the creeds concerning Jesus
2) you believe these facts to be true
3) you cast yourself dead on the floor, trusting solely in Christ; his death on the cross will save you.
The moral plan is bankrupt!
The difference between law & gospel:
law = your obedience in order to win God’s acceptance – self-righteousness
gospel = Jesus obeyed for you and died for you; believe that and you have God’s approval
Your daily “spiritual” experience is captive to your diet, sleep habits, health, & emotional state. None of these is to be trusted for your salvation, or your nearness to God, or his love for you.
The apostles had first-hand experiences of Jesus. If there was ever a group of people who could tell their stories, relate their personal experiences with Jesus, it was them. With the exception of Paul, who was compelled to defend his ministry to the Corinthians, none of the apostles spoke of themselves. They spoke only of Christ and his saving work. (See the sermons in the book of Acts.)
When the apostles did speak of their experience with Jesus, they spoke of their doubts. They highlighted their weaknesses. (See Paul in 2 Corinthians 12.)
You have no virtue of your own, so don’t count on it to gain God’s approval.
The only virtue worth having is Christ’s virtue. And he gives it to you as a gift.
Have you received it?