Thinking about Faith

One of the greatest truths of the NT is that we are justified by faith. For all…are justified by his grace as a gift…to be received by faith (Rom. 3:23-25). …Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). Of all the things which God could have required as a means of receiving His gift of salvation He profoundly and in all wisdom chose faith. Faith is both simple and powerful.

The Simplicity of Faith

On the one hand, it is so simple that a child can believe; so simple that no one is prohibited from the act of believing. Its simplicity is emphasized by the apostle Paul in Romans 10.

But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For a with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him

Romans 10:6-12

God doesn't demand that we scale the heights of heaven for salvation, or that we descend into the depths of hell. Rather, He requires nothing but simple genuine faith. This is the way Paul describes faith as a expression of the heart and a confession with the mouth. Faith is simple.

The Power of Faith

​On the other hand, faith is one of the most comprehensively controlling forces in the human soul. It is like a ring in the nose of a bull, a collar on a dog, a bit in the mouth of a horse, the rudder of a ship. What we believe propels us through life. We believe if we do "this" it will yield "that." We are even willing to die, pay the ultimate sacrifice, for what we believe. God with all wisdom calls us to "believe." There is no naïve thought that faith is an isolated event, rather faith is that which focuses our lives and energizes our living. So though faith is "simple" we must understand at the same time that it is a great net which captures the totality of our lives and propels us like a speeding bullet toward the target of God's high calling in Christ. This is the power of faith.

When God tells us to "believe" He knows that will focus our entire lives upon Jesus. This is the point of Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith is defined as an assurance and a conviction. Hebrews goes on to illustrate that such assurance and conviction was the compelling force behind the lives and deeds of the OT saints. Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice (v. 4); Noah constructed an ark (v. 7); Abraham left the security of the Ur of Chaldea and journeyed to an unknown promised land (vv. 8-9). By faith Abraham…was tested, offered up Isaac (v. 17); the same was true of Moses refusing the fleeting pleasures of Egypt choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God (vv. 24-25). We see by all of these illustrations the comprehensively propelling power of faith. Because these people believed the directions of their lives were changed, and they were propelled to desire a better country, that is a heavenly one (v. 16). By faith they sought a city…whose designer and builder is God (v. 10).

As we have mentioned faith is powerful, and its power is especially seen as we realize that it engages all the faculties of the soul. It is not simply an external exercise. It is not a meaningless ritual performed. It is not a formality or a mere going through the motions. Faith is internal and spiritual. It is an expression of the inner self, the spirit, the soul. Consequently, true faith is distinguished from vain faith which has only the outward form and appearance of true faith while lacking its internal reality. Therefore, it is its internal nature which distinguishes true from false faith.

Next we will look into this internal nature of true faith, its anatomy.

The Anatomy of Faith
The Fruit of the Spirit - Faithfulness, Gentleness...

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Monday, 10 December 2018

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