Faith Chapter Ten
Paul made a very interesting statement about faith in Heb. 12:2,
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..."
What exactly was Paul saying here? Just how is Jesus the author and finisher of our faith? Is Jesus the one who began our faith and how did He do that? Paul said in Eph. 2:8,
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
Allow me to reword that statement. God has given us His grace which comes to us because of His great love for us. Because of His great love for us He gives us a measure of faith which allows us to believe in what Jesus has done for us. Paul said in Rom. 12:3,
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith."
I want you to notice that he says that every man has this measure of faith! Don't you see that we have nothing to brag about to our Father because of what we may have done to follow His commandments because everything that we have came from him? Paul said in Rom. 11:34-36,
"Who has known the mind of the
Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things."
Jesus even told us in Matt. 6:33,
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Never, ever are we told to establish our own righteousness, or to be able to stand before God and tell Him about all the things that we have accomplished. Anything that we have been able to accomplished in the Kingdom of God is the result of having done the works that He had prepared for us to do before the world was created and we have been able to do them because He inspired us to do them and gave us the strength to do them. In Matt. 7:21-23,
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Why would the Lord say such a thing to those who gave their life to serving Him. That's just it! They were doing their own thing in the name of the Lord and advertising themselves as God's great man of power and taking all the credit for what God was doing. Jesus said in Matt. 6:1-8, (NIV)
"Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
Paul had something to say about this in Phil. 3:7-11, (NIV)
"But whatever was to my
profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
We have become so wrapped up in ourselves that we think that everything that happens in our life happens because we are so wise and intelligent. How many times each day do you pause and give thanks to our Father for some blessing or answer that has just came to you? How many of you are aware of the Lord inspiring you each day or have you just never stopped to recognize His presence in your life each day? Won't you agree with me that it is about time we awake from our slumber and put into practice what we believe? Paul said in 1 Thess. 5:16-18,
"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Just how can we pray without ceasing? Does this mean that we have to be on our knees every minute of every day? Absolutely not! To give thanks means to be grateful, that is, (actually) to express gratitude. It takes nothing out of your time each day to simply tell the Lord thanks when something goes right for you or when you learn some lesson by experience. I talk to the Lord during my day at the drop of a hat, so to speak. When I am working on something that has me stumped, I will say to Him, "Lord, I need your help on this one!" I have done this over and over and when the idea or the answer comes to my mind on how to solve the problem, I just say, "Thanks Father!" and then continue working.
This praying without ceasing is not rocket science! It's just being alert and aware of His presence. You may say, "Well, how will I know that it's just not me?" Of course it's you! Who else would it be? You do this because you believe His word in which He said, "I will never forsake you or leave you but I will be with you always even to the end of this age!" And because Paul said in Phil. 2:13,
"For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Believing these things, you put them into practice by applying your faith and giving the Lord thanks for all things. As I said before, "This is not rocket science!" It's called walking by faith. Calling things that are not seen as though they were. This can also be called prophesying!
I guess the point that I am really trying to emphasize in this lesson on faith is that we are not left to fend by ourselves but the Lord is working within each of us to inspire us to do His perfect will for us and we are guaranteed that He started our faith in Him and He will finish our faith in Him. So just relax and allow the Lord to finish the work He has started in you.
The Apostle John said this in 1 Jn. 5:1, 4-5,
"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.... for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
This faith that the Lord has given to us is what we overcome the world with. John went on to say that there are three that testifies about Jesus. 1 John 5:6-8,
"It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement."
Late manuscripts of the Vulgate say, "There are three that testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the Spirit, the water and the blood; (not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century)
Just what is the testimony of these three? John answers this by saying in 1 John 5:11-12,
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life! I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
What did John mean when he said, "You who believe in the name of the Son of God?" In olden times names were very important because they described the character of an individual. For example, the name Abraham means, "Father of many nations!" So when Abram told his piers that the Lord had given him a new name, that of Abraham, they laughed at him because he couldn't have children.
Name also means the authority of the individual. This is why it is so important what we name our children because every time someone speaks their name they are declaring who our children are. So when Jesus told His disciples in Lk. 24:47,
" And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
It meant by His authority.
If we believe in God and we believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah and is the Son of God it stands to reason that we would believe that He has the authority of His Father. So when we believe in the name of the Son of God we are believing in His authority and we can order our lives according to His instructions. Again, this is lived out in reality by the faith that the Lord has instilled in our hearts and will become a reality when the fullness of times have come.
When we hear the good news of the Gospel that there is a God who loves us and gave His only Son to offer up His life in our behalf so that we can be reconciled to back to Him, something happens in our hearts that causes us to come alive with the faith to believe what we are hearing and as a result we open our mouths and confess that Jesus is truly the Son of God and as a result we are born again.
As we learn more and more about the will of God for us and we learn of what His life is all about our faith grows and we learn to walk by that faith until it becomes a reality. We learn to forsake our way of thinking of what life is all about and learn what the life that Jesus came to give us is about. We can lay our heads down at night to go to sleep knowing that all is well and wake up tomorrow excited about what the Lord has in store for us. We can walk around with our heads lifted high knowing that we have authority with our Father and nothing can harm us. We can share with others about why we are so optimistic about everything and why nothing seams to bother us. We can do all these things because we have learned the ways of our Father and we now know without a doubt who we really are.
Paul said in Rom. 3:21-22, (NIV)
" But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
The righteousness of God that Jesus said in Matt. 6:33 we are to seek first comes to us through the faith that He gave to us to believe that Jesus Christ is His Son and is the promised Messiah! Our Father has provided for us everything we need to have His righteousness, and has even given us the faith to believe in His Son.