[Word Count: 1580]
The Universe of Faith
Why is Faith so critical to your Salvation from the coming Wrath of The All-Mighty? The ideas of Faith, Faithfulness, Belief, Trust and Confidence occur over three hundred times in the Holy Bible; therefore, it is vital to your eternal fate that you receive, understand and practice Saving Faith.
I see the meaning of Faith clear as a bell in my mind's eye, thanks to the Grace of GOD, prayer and years of Bible study...
...yet when i begin the task of outlining a thorough essay on Faith, like a mathematical fractal, things get complex very quickly. The last thing i want to do is to confuse you, Dear Reader, with something as simple and foundational to the bedrock of true spirituality as Faith...so let's start here:
The Walking Dead
GOD is the eight-billion-ton Leviathan in the room...yet you cannot see, hear, smell, taste, touch or perceive Him. Spiritists and other occult adepts with years of experience in the spirit realm seriously doubt His Existence because they've never encountered Him, though He fills all things (Jeremiah 23:24)...WHY is that? It is because they, like you and i, are EVIL and therefore enemies of GOD. And like you and i, they are DEAD to Him and His Transcendently HOLY Nature. The ONLY Vehicle of communication that can traverse the INFINITE CHASM between GOD and you is His Written Word: THE BIBLE (and the Spirit of GOD authorized to cross that chasm due to the efficacy of The Blood of Jesus Christ).
Raising the Dead
Are you starting to understand how accurate, true and priceless the Holy Scriptures are? The Bible is FILLED with chronicles, ideas and concepts far beyond our experience and understanding...
...yet if GOD is merciful and we engage our imaginations to embrace the Bible's content, we may be granted the Spark of Saving Faith in our hearts:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [the Devil], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of Wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in Mercy, because of the Great Love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by Grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His Grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by Grace you have been saved through Faith. And this [Faith] is not your own doing; it is the Gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -- the Apostle Paul, Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV
The Gospel, as presented in the Scriptures, is saturated with Divine Sovereignty. If GOD didn't unilaterally act NO ONE--not even you--would be saved. Saving Faith is a GIFT given to those who are willing to humble themselves, lay aside their pride (their "boast") and admit that their ONLY contribution to their Salvation from Wrath is to BEG FOR MERCY and BY FAITH to allow Jesus to take their sin away.
This goes against everything we have ever been taught about achievement, success and power, which is a factor in why the world hates the Gospel and why so few find (much less walk) the Path of The Narrow Way.
Seeing is NOT Believing
The evilest soul (Satan) once gazed upon the Face of Glory; he knows more about The GODHEAD than you or i could absorb in a thousand lifetimes...
...yet the Devil is ABSOLUTELY DEVOID OF FAITH because Saving Faith does not exist in the mind, but in the heart.
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets [the Bible]; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” -- Jesus Christ, Luke 16:27-31 ESV
Birds of a feather flock together; darkness clings to darkness. People who do not cherish the Truth of GOD in their hearts will believe a lie no matter how much evidence you present to the contrary and despite your most convincing arguments of reason and logic. The Devil knows this and spends the bulk of his budget on eye candy, entertainment, lying wonders and deceitful propaganda.
People don't believe the Gospel from their hearts because of great music, creative outreach, charismatic preaching or engaging personalities; they believe the Gospel because GOD in His Mercy touched their hearts with His overwhelming Grace.
Noun and Verb
It continually blows my mind when i consider the fact that, in the Holy Scriptures, Faith is BOTH a noun AND a verb! Let me show you:
“Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith [noun]! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” -- Matthew 15:28 ESV
“Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed [verb "have faithed"].'" -- John 20:29 ESV
Faith is not only Something you receive; It is also Something that either you DO or It is That which inspires you to ACTION.
“And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, for she said to herself, 'If I only touch His garment, I will be made well.' Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, 'Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.' And instantly the woman was made well.” -- Matthew 9:20-22 ESV
Though it is a Gift, Faith is graciously accepted as a Work of Righteousness by GOD, Who graciously receives from evil sinners the Faith He Himself plants in their hearts.
“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed [verb "Abraham faithed"] God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”” -- the Apostle Paul, Romans 4:3 ESV
“Then they said to Him, 'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?' Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe [verb "that you faithe"] in Him Whom He has sent.'" -- John 6:28-, 29 ESV
Here we have another counter-intuitive Truth from Scripture: because we are evil, the Gift of Saving Faith, exercised by the human heart, IS THE ONLY WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS GOD CAN ACCEPT FROM HUMAN SINNERS.
“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,” -- Hebrews 6:1 ESV
The conventional interpretation of this passage is "dead works equal evil works," and so they are. Yet even "good deeds" performed--not from a heart of faith but from a prideful attempt to BUY one's way into GOD's Favor--are also dead works because the performer is a (spiritually) dead sinner.
“On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’” -- Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:22,23 ESV
Many people spend their entire lives in church yet never truly grasp the Truth that THE ONLY HUMAN WHOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS GOD THE FATHER WILL ACCEPT IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. If left to your own devices you would NEVER make it to Heaven...your heart (and mine) is far too wicked, deceitful and corrupt.
We must daily die to our own ideas of spirituality and justice, placing no confidence in ourselves; humbling ourselves at the Feet of Jesus, we must allow Him to express His Righteousness through us by means of His Holy Spirit.
I strongly encourage you to spend as much of your time as necessary to meditate on these ideas from the Bible EVERY DAY; because of our sinful nature they are easy to forget, you will NEVER outgrow them, and they will deliver your soul from a fiery eternal Hell if you allow them to.
From this point forward things get a little complicated; the next few milestones on The Narrow Way (Repentance, Justification, Baptism and Discipleship) are under the control of The Holy Spirit of GOD and can happen in any order (John 3:7,8). The order i have them in this series is due to my attempt to follow what GOD did with the Apostles of our Lord as described in the Four Gospels and the Book of Acts.