“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”Matthew 14:29-30
Maybe you’ve had one of those dreams where you’re falling, and you wake up with a start because you reach out grasping to lay hold of something to save you. Or maybe you remember sputtering to the surface when you were learning to swim, flailing your arms until you found the pool’s edge to hold fast. Laying hold of something can be the difference between life and death.
Faith by itself isn’t very useful. Faith needs to lay hold of something—that’s what makes it faith. It looks away from ourselves to something outside of us. That’s why we can be justified by faith. The story of Peter on the waves is a wonderful example. If anyone would have a chance on the stormy sea, it’s this seasoned fisherman. But when Peter looks out at the swells that surrounded him, he cries out to the Savior. And what happens? He lays hold of the strong arm stretched out to save him.
When the stormy sentence of the law sends our sins crashing over us, our faith lays hold of Christ our Redeemer and finds its rest in His righteousness alone.
“Faith is able to Justify, because it apprehends Christ, the redeemer.” (Martin Luther, 1535)