Ikuro Teshima

I have faith in the Father God of Jesus Christ. Apart from Him I do not know God either in heaven or on earth. This God is truly the living spiritual existence; our intellect can never fathom Him, for He is not a concept of human thinking.

He is the God who exists close by to human beings, always beckoning us spiritually and ready to respond to our cries. He always reveals Himself as the living Christ in a tangible form. The blind human being fails to believe this spritual existence and always negate him by nailing him onto the cross both in spirit and body. He loves but is not loved; He constantly suffers from the negation of love. This tormented God is standing behind the drama of the Old and the New Testaments.

Even today, the resurrected Christ is slain by unbelieving Christians. Even now the Spirit of the living Christ is forced to bear the cross; the scar on His spiritual body is not yet healed. Having pain and sorrow, He is groaning and appealing with his voiceless voice.

Seeing "a Lamb standing, as if slain, on the throne of the highest," I cry bitterly, just as John the elder did. And I join the myriads of angels and elders who worship and praise the Lord with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (Revelation 5:12) This is my faith; I believe in this God alone and worship Him in spirit and truth.

I do not place my faith in dogma or in doctrine. Neither do I have faith in miracles or mystical experiences. I am an alien to faith in the Church, faith in the cross, faith in the resurrection, faith in speaking in tongues, and faith in divine healing. I cannot consider those dogmas and experiences as objects of my faith.

The primary question of faith ought to be "Whom do I believe?" and not "What do I believe?" The object of my faith should not be an event such as the crucifixion and the resurrection but God Himself standing behind these events. Just as Paul did, I also say, "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (I Corinthians 2:2)

I know no ministry besides looking up to the spiritual Christ, who is still crucified on the cross, and proclaiming Him with the proof of His Spirit and of power. Unless one cannot spiritually perceive Christ interceding with God for men with His divine will and infinite forgiveness in heaven, the gospel will always be a stumbling block and foolish to him.

By pouring out the blood of the Holy Spirit, however, the Spirit of Christ redeems us from sins and gives us new birth. He is always closely encouraging, guiding and protecting us. Therefore, we cannot but believe in Him, even if we try not to. This is my own experience of redemption. The cross is not an objective concept but a subjective recognition through experiences.

One can encounter the Christ on the cross only through the blood-stained religious experiences. The Christ on the cross is by no means a doctrine that modern Christians easily take for granted. Faith is a straightforward experience but it is not easy to live up to it.

In order that we truly live by looking up to the Christ on the cross, each one of us must despair of oneself, break down completely, and die to oneself; and afterward a treatment must be given so that the blood of Christ be poured into our open wound. This is the conversion through true repentance.

We need an inner transformation and self-negation so that we may be grafted into the blood of the Lord Christ: that is to say, our old self needs to be crucified once, die and be reborn as a living man, just as Jesus Christ did. "The Christ on the cross" is not at all what our brain can figure out but is revealed only through the experience of dying to ourselves, i.e., only after overcoming ourselves through the blood-shedding gate of death and life. Otherwise, we cannot live by the new spiritual life that will resurrect us with Christ. (see Romans 6:1-11)

We should not stake our faith upon a merely intellectual theory of the cross—a futile playing with words. A theory of redemption does not save us, but the redeeming blood of the Lord does.