Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Faith to Live by...

"...The person who has God's approval will live by faith. But if he turns back, I will not be pleased with him." We don't belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved (Hebrews 10:38-39 GW).

In Galatians 2:20 Paul the Apostle said, "I live by the faith of the Son of God..." as so we must. It's worth noting and considering that just as Jesus provided all things for us to overcome He also provided us with HIS OWN FAITH! Now that's a thought! We have Christ's faith. No longer do we have to think that we have "little faith" as He often told His disciples. I guess compared to His faith, ours is puny!

"Is not all faith the same?" You may ask, but the answer to that question is simply "No!" Sure every human being has the ability to operate in "natural" faith but not everyone can operate in "supernatural" faith. Take for instance business men or mere sports champions who all realise their goals and achievements via their "natural faith" but obviously not, "by the faith of the Son of God!" Therefore, it can be said without any doubt that both NATURAL and SUPERNATURAL FAITH co-exist. However without Christ we are restricted to operating in "natural" faith alone.

Having separated and defined both types of faith it must be said that a lot has been achieved through "natural" faith alone and those who have dared to operate in this natural faith have been some of the world's greatest achievers! And still they have not known Christ. So although limited this natural faith evidently packs a punch regardless! When people exercise faith in anything (being totally convinced), then it's hard to shake them off, discourage them or dampen their spirit.

The significant difference between the two is that "all-things-natural" are also wholly "temporal" and for this reason it would be correct to say, "Futile is every effort that starts and ends in the flesh" because they are entirely restricted to the natural realm. That which is spiritual however can transcend and operate in any realm; giving "all-things-spiritual" a clear advantage over those things that can only operate within the one realm!

To accomplish spiritual goals therefore, such as our chief commission given to us by Christ (see Mark 16:15-18) simply nothing other than "supernatural faith" will suffice, in fact we need what Paul had, the very "...faith of the Son of God!"

Once again, on several occasions Jesus told certain individuals "Oh ye of little faith..!" (See Mathew 6:30; 8:26; 16:8; Luke 12:28) this was not a mere criticism but an actually "fact." Why? Because Jesus Himself knew that our "natural" faith was puny in comparison to His and wholly inadequate in achieving heaven's mandate! Personally I believe that Jesus was purposefully and continually provoking His disciples to rely on HIS FAITH rather than their own. Once we master this, we too can echo Paul and have "...the God kind of Faith" mentioned in Mark 11:22 and Galatians 2:20!

If there be doubt left about the need to separate faith from "natural" to the "supernatural" 1 Corinthians 2:4 says "...your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Once we achieve this we can truly become the "history makers" of our generation.

Smith Wigglesworth once said, "Only believe! God will not fail you, Beloved. It is impossible for God to fail. Believe Him. Rest in Him, for God's rest is an undisturbed place where heaven bends to meet you. God will fulfil the promises made to you in His word - believe it!"

While looking into the dynamics of faith, we could hardly bypass the subject of "trust." Faith can't exist without it, in fact they are synonymous (indelible, intrinsic elements of the same thing!) Which of us can have faith in a God we can't trust? Even so, there are elements of faith that go way beyond mere "trust" (even if "trust" in part remains at faith's central core).

In the Old Testament certain scriptures use faith in conjunction with trust; found in such scriptures bearing the Hebrew words châsâh and bâṭach; generally taken to mean; have confidence in, trust, make refuge. For example Psalm 36:7 "How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God therefore the children of men put their trust [châsâh] under the shadow of thy wings." Also in Proverbs 3:5 "Trust [bâṭach] in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

The entire list of "heroes of faith" found in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews (to whom New Testament believers look for inspiration) were made up of individuals who simply put their TRUST in God! As God "partnered" with them, He added His "supernatural" element to their trust! All faith is a gift.

However in the New Testament faith is considered both a supernatural "gift" and a "fruit." Yes anything "given" by God is technically a "gift" but we are talking in context with the supernatural "gift" of faith (an endowment) and then the "fruit" of the spirit (of character) as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9 & Galatians 5:22; the significance between them simply being "power" and "life style!" One works supernaturally, the other is "outworked" in our personality by the Holy Spirit.

In his book, "Faith to Live By" the late Derek Prince wrote, "Fruit then, expresses character. When all nine forms of spiritual fruit are present and fully developed, they represent the totality of Christian character, perfectly rounded off, each form of fruit satisfying a specific need and each complementing the rest. Within this totality, the fruit of faith may be viewed from two aspects, corresponding to two different, but related, uses of the Greek word pistis. The first is trust; the second is trustworthiness."

There we have it! Trust coupled with supernatural faith vs. trustworthiness coupled with character. I prefer to say that faith is actually "supernatural trust" on a level that the natural is incapable of. And trustworthiness is part of the "divine nature" that must be outworked in our lives; as we're naturally incapable of being trustworthy in character without the Holy Spirit!

"Now the just shall live by faith (pistis): but if any man drawback, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38). This word pistis (pis'-tis) is the Greek word used for FAITH in Hebrews 10:38 and Romans 10:17 - which helps take things to another level!

This is where "faith" goes from being simple "trust" (or confidence) to actually focusing on "getting the job done" or "achieving the goal!" This little Greek word πίστις (pistis) is taken primarily to mean; persuasion, moral conviction (especially reliance upon Christ for salvation); assurance, belief and fidelity. "Without pistis it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). Although it did not say "without trust it's impossible to please God" pistis could literally be translated as the "the ultimate level of TRUST."

Nevertheless just as rhēma and logos are "partners-inseparable" the same is true of faith and trust; yet whether we discuss supernatural or natural elements of faith and trust our dependability rests on God. Without Him we achieve nothing sustainable. In partnership with Him our lives can be limitless! 

Father thank you that I can operate in the very faith of the Son of God! You have provided everything to take me over in order to be a winner in this life. Because of Your faith I can operate in a "supernatural" trust and walk with You in such a way that every mandate upon my life can be fulfilled. In Jesus Name.

Today I confess that Christ's faith belongs to me. All things are possible because I live by His faith! I have more than mere assurance; I have His supernatural faith. Therefore I will achieve all that God has ordained for me. I will fulfill His plans and His purposes. Hallelujah!


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