What are some useful and reliable measures of “True Faith”?
Plumb Line. Used in construction to ensure that the upper parts of a structure built upon the foundation are square and in line with the cornerstone. Are the walls vertical and true?
The first element in a structure is the corner stone, from which all measures are taken horizontally, vertically and diagonally (to ensure square angles). When setting frame timbers, or building a masonry wall, the plumb line helps to ensure that the walls are perfectly vertical, and set directly over the cornerstone rather than leaning in or out.
It is vital to remember that the chief cornerstone for our faith is not the Law of Moses, or any other set of rules. Jesus is the chief cornerstone for the community of faith (Eph 2:20). His person. His reality. His teaching and witness and ministry of healing and justice and transformation. Jesus is the primary reference point for our lives of faith, from which we line and measure so that we are true and plumb with His work.
Jesus, as much as we can know him, is known through the witness of scripture, from the teachings of the church through the last 2000 years, and through the ongoing witness and teaching of the Holy Spirit who continues what Jesus began. Another term we might use is canon – as in the canon of scripture – derives from the Greek word for a ruler or measuring stick. It was a piece of reed or bamboo that was cut to a standard length and could then be used to ensure everything else “measured up”.
The Christian Faith is built upon the identity of Jesus, who is the canon for matters of faith. We ask questions like, “How does this ‘measure up’ against what we know about the life, teachings and work of Jesus? Paul tells us that “in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col 1:19). So Jesus is God’s self-revelation to us. Jesus is what God wants us to know about God’s self. Jesus is thus the measure of what is true about God, or at least what God wants us to trust and upon which we build our lives.
The question remains, “What measures do you (we) use to confirm that our own words and actions align with the person of Jesus?” What is our plumb line to ensure that we are building lives of faith (and the church) true to the chief cornerstone?