Bible Lesson 205

LET’S TALK ABOUT FAITH

Faith is acting like it’s so, even when it is not so, “in order for it to be so, because between God and you it is so.” Hebrews 11:1. Paraphrased by Manley Beasley.

“Justifying faith implies, not only a divine evidence or conviction that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that He loved me and gave Himself for me.”

John Wesley

This month we will attempt to learn as much about that gift of God that comes only in our regeneration and salvation, that gift we call faith. Faith is a common word in our societies today; however most who use the word, either fail to understand what it means or else they know nothing but the word. Faith is the connection between man and God. God gives us faith so that we can first see the kingdom of heaven and then trust God enough to obey Him and finally make heaven our home.

True faith is called Justifying Faith, Saving Faith, and other names but the only faith that results in that New Creature that is formed in salvation is Faith in the Only Begotten Son of God and His Person and Work on the cross for those who possess saving faith. In our society, it has been a pattern of preachers and teachers to substitute the word ‘believe’ for faith.

It would be alright to do that if it is explained that believe comes from the same root word as Faith and it must be understood in that sense or it leads people into easy-believism. Faith is not a mental ascent to some of the gospel, faith must be understood in the Greek language from which our Bible is translated and that means that faith means and includes a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing. It includes trust, faithfulness, worthiness, assurance, fidelity, personal surrender to Christ, and the conduct inspired by that surrender. It includes belief, reliance, agree, obey, and yield. (Romans 4:1-5; Acts 6:7; John 1:12, 29-30; 2nd Corinthians 5:14-21; Acts 5:29; Hebrews 11:8; James 4:7; Galatians 2:20; 2nd Timothy 1:12).

Most church members today seem to believe that the Gospel is something that does not connect to the rest of the Bible, neither old nor new Testaments. If you ask most today what the gospel is, they would probably say something like, ‘it supersedes the law and the blood thirsty Old Testament. It give us the love of God in Christ and puts us under God’s Grace. That is all a contrived lie that the visible church of our day has been fed. God has not changed and will never change, the law is the law, and has been fulfilled by our Savior for those who will obey His commandments. Sin is still sin, and hell is still hot, and God still forgives sin that is repented of, as sin requires repentance. If you are not saved, you will go to hell with all those who have gone or will go since the beginning of time.

From the creation of Adam and Eve, God has been God and has always held out forgiveness of sin, for those who will commit and submit to Him through His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. Stop and think about how much the Father God hated disobedience and sin. God’s terrible sword of His Justice smiting His beloved Son Jesus Christ to provide atonement for the transgressions of His people. The Gospel tells us a sad but true story of our selves. We were such sinners that it took the blood and death of the sinless God-Man, Jesus Christ, to quench the Father’s wrath against my sin and yours. Mind you now that simply because Christ endured the Cross does not mean that everyone is saved.

We know from the scriptures that there are requirements that God has placed upon the benefits from the crucifixion of His Son being extended to sinners. First, sinners must be drawn, and the word drawn is the same as the word used for the dragging of the Apostle Paul out of the Temple in Jerusalem in Acts 21:30. So we can see that when God draws people to the cross, it is not a simple trot down some church aisle, it is a dragging of one who is normally unwilling to face himself and see how God sees him in sin. The first step of faith is when the sinner sees Himself as the enemy of God and then faces the fact that he has nothing to set aside God’s just condemnation except God’s grace. Once God has granted a person saving faith, that faith works in the Saint, which shortly before was a sinner dead in trespass and sin, under the wrath of God. Having that knowledge of what we were, and then what God has done for us, drives us to yearn for the approval of our God, and we seek to purify our flesh with the leading of the Holy Spirit. 1st John 3:1-3. That means that we must understand that FAITH is NOT simply a word that people use to indicate that they are Christians. When a truly saved person says that they have saving faith, it means that their faith is that faith that only God can enable in those whom He saves. If we have saving faith we obey all that we know the Lord God has commanded us to keep. We are hungry and thirst for the knowledge of God and we study His Word the Bible. We trust God in all things as we strive to serve Him and His Will that we find in the Bible.

True faith is a supernatural accommodation that only those who have been born from above possess. Faith works and it works in everything that we do. We are submissive to the work of the Lord in our lives, and even if we pray for someone who is dear to us that the Lord will heal them, and instead they die, we trust God that it will be better for them and for us. We do not order God to heal or deliver or save or even defeat the wicked. We wait upon whatever he does! That does not mean that we should not pray for the desires of our heart; but what it means is that whatever comes to pass is the will of God for us. I like the way that an old evangelist (now at home in Jesus), named Manley Beasley, explained true saving faith. He said “Faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, in order for it to be so, because between God and you it is so.” I believe that really captures the heart of what faith is to the Christian. Our God given faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) always acts on what God has inspired to be written down for us in His inerrant Word the Bible. Humans are limited in knowledge, even the brightest and most educated minds are limited to what that particular brain can attain. God is unlimited in His knowledge, He is Omniscience, knowing everything, the beginning, the middle and the end, even before it occurs, and He has given us the best paths to follow and by faith every born again, obedient person will walk in God’s paths.

Faith, saving faith, is led by the Holy Spirit and He leads the seeker to that strait gate, narrow gate (Matthew 7:13), that is the Only Mediator between God and man (1st Timothy 2:5). That assures us that we can be reconciled to God, only by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Faith, generated by the Holy Spirit, continues to lead us through the gate and unto the narrow path, that path that is prescribed by the Bible, and finally to our inheritance in heaven. Saving faith knows nothing of doubting our position in Christ and our eternal security. We are not ‘nervous nellies’, who fear to confront sin and sinners. We are people who love God enough to be confrontational, and if we are to imitate our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we must confront the world and its sin; and that means we must confront sinners. Saving faith keeps us from leaping to ungodly conclusions, and feelings that draw us away from the Truth of the Word of God. Faith is that which believes even when it does not comprehend or see with the eye. Faith sees the light of God even through the blackest of clouds. Contrary to many who believe in self more than in God and His Word, their faith is only a word that they really cannot define. They would have simple people who should know better, that God is some kind of politically correct politician, who does not mind that they teach a gospel that is no gospel at all, but simply a way to skirt reality. God give some Faith and that makes all things possible, false prophets give a clandestine ‘love’ that makes everything easy. False prophets do not have faith because faith purifies the heart and mind and would never deceive anyone. Look at what the simple fisherman ‘Peter’s faith caused him to attempt.

He saw Jesus Christ walking on the water and He asked that he could come to Christ. He got out and walked on the water, as long as he kept his eye on Jesus, but when fear overrode his faith (which was weak), he began to sink and Jesus saved Him. Don’t be too quick to judge Peter because He did not have over 2000 years of faith teachings as we have in our day. Peter had seen some miracles but he had not seen the Cross and Christ nailed to it. He had not seen the empty tomb and we have and we have it all catalogued in our bibles.

Saving faith does not create ‘pew sitters’ it creates New creatures who immediately learn all that God has for them and then they get up and ‘Go’ out into the world as they live, work and play and worship, to serve the Lord’s command that we find in the 28th Chapter of Matthew, verses 19-20: where Christ told His disciples and us today as we reread those verses’.”Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe (obey) all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Is that the kind of faith that you have’ We cannot all go to Africa, or some third world country, but we can Go and teach our children, and families and then the people that we work with and go to school with and attend meetings with and on and on. Wherever we go we take Jesus and the gospel with us. Like the writer of Romans we are not ashamed of the gospel, and we teach it with the intent to make every person that we teach responsible to God for what they do with Jesus. That great old preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said this about Faith; “faith and works are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God trust God; and He that trust God obeys God.

He that is without faith is without works and he that works is without faith.” I believe that many denominations and congregations have come to believe so lightly that we are reflected in the answers that a coalminer gave the great evangelist George Whitefield, when Whitefield asked him what he believed. The miner answered ‘I believe what my church believes’. Whitefield pressed him by asking, well what does your church believe’ The miner answered ‘my church believes what I believe’. Whitefield then asked, well, what do you and your church believe’ The miner answered, we both believe the same thing.’ Now, that would probably be the answer that many would give today. We are bereft of faith and we ask with our Lord Jesus Christ, when He asked “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth'” “Luke 18:8). Faith is not something that we say in a casual way, Faith is the key to true salvation. It is something that we can neither earn, buy or dispense; remember it is a gift from God. Should we all be about learning and always checking to make sure our faith is real and that we are saved’

Yes, because without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6). Let’s look at what Faith does, and we can see it in the beginning as we look at the two sons of Adam (Cain and Abel). They both offered something to God. We know that they both knew that God had taught their parents that it was blood that covered sin. Remember God killed animals and provided Adam and Eve with coverings, before He drove them out of the Garden. Abel offered an animal sacrifice with the fat; but Cain offered something from his garden (Genesis 4:1-5). Abel had faith and it obeyed what God had demonstrated, the shedding of blood. Cain had no saving faith and so he brought vegetables (I like to think they were turnips, and he thought God would get blood from his turnips). Make sure you understand I said I thought turnips, the Bible does no say. God respected Abel’s offering but not Cain and you can read the unhappy story in Genesis chapter 4. This should remind us that God means what He says and says what He means. I will close by reminding you that it is impossible to please God without saving faith. Check and see how active your faith really is’.until next time’

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob