Thursday, January 16, 2014
Faith, Part 2
But faith is not a power or energy, or leverage to get God to do what we wish. Faith does not demand of God; instead, faith rather waits for God’s demands, as it were. A “faith” that seeks its own improvement above others, a faith focused only on our personal gain at any avenue is also not Biblical faith. We are to esteem others as better than ourselves, and we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His glory, Matthew 6:33.
The greatest commandments Christ our Lord gave us were to love God above all else, and to love one’s neighbor (all humanity) as ourselves, Matthew 22:37-40. Faith dictates that what God has commanded regarding us is how our lives will best function, and acting in faith, we begin to order our lives in the light of His revealed will.
Faith is also a necessary component in permitting God to act in our lives. In Jesus’ earthly ministry He could not perform His mighty miracles in various places due to an absence of faith. It was not a little faith, which could move mountains, but a total absence of it. Faith as a mustard seed was sufficient for God to act; a complete lack of faith essentially demonstrated a complete distrust of God. The man whose son was possessed recognized his lack of faith and begged Christ to help with the unbelief that wrestled with his faith, trying to overthrow it. We have one of two choices: to believe God’s word and conduct ourselves as if it were true; or to disbelieve it. Our lives, our fruit, as Jesus called it, will flower and determine what sort of life we live. Good fruit comes from a good tree; bad fruit from a bad one. A life of faith will produce the fruit of the Spirit; a life lived doubting and disbelieving what God tells us will produce carnal fruit and lead to compromise and sin. For, Paul tells us, whatever is not from faith is sin, Romans 14:23.
The concept of the Christian life revolves around faith. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me,” Galatians 2:20. Outside of faith is sin as we compromise our Christian ideals, history, science, etc to a godless worldview that cares nothing for the things of God. I know many “Christians” who have jettisoned portions of the Bible, writing them away as allegory, myth, or worse because they lack the faith simply to stand fast and trust that God knows what He talking about on every subject He discusses. Such a faith rests on the reliable proofs of God’s existence by witness of the created order of the universe and the human conscience; but more so we believe because of the historical occurrence of Jesus Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. God knew that we needed evidences to found a substantial faith on; He knew, even being who He is, that humanity would not simply take Him on His word so to speak. He provided “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) of Jesus’ life and resurrection.
Faith needs an object to rest upon. Atheists rest on the sandy foundation of Evolutionary theory. Religionists trust in their rituals, sacraments, church membership and duties to save them. Some blindly trust in some cosmic force “out there” that answers prayer or changes lives; to what end, how, or why none know. This is nothing better than faulty pragmatism at best. But a God who entered this world so we might have God couched in more “human” terms? A personal God who is love, and who provided atonement for us through His own sacrificial death? A God who redeemed the world (bought it back from sin’s reign) by Himself and offers freely the coveted treasure that has been the desire of religionist, philosopher and atheist alike: immortality? He did these things in the world of men, among men, to demonstrate that He can fulfill the spiritual promises He made to us. Here we have the most confident foundation for trust the world has ever seen, or ever shall see. Jesus asserted that only a stubborn unwillingness to come to Him prevents us from entering into life, John 5:40. It is disbelief, an absence of faith in the face of facts and proofs that honest seekers for centuries have weighed, considered, and gratefully accepted. This is true faith, and a cornerstone in Biblical Christianity. “Do not be afraid; only believe,” Mark 5:36.