Bible Ballistics:  Is Faith Enough???    Vol. 5 #21

 

I’m sure that seems like a strange question but it’s one that was brought to my heart and mind recently. I attended a funeral for someone, and it was a somber time, more than most, for I’m not certain the deceased knew the Lord, I am certain that many if not most of the people in attendance did not know the Lord. And the thing that grieved my heart to the quick, was that while the pastor shared some scriptures, his only encouragement was that those there had to have “faith”, “hope” and “love”. He even quoted from 1 Corinthians 13:13:

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (charity=love)

While this is as sure as all scripture, it left a picture of some abstract, unsubstantiated ‘ideal’ that will give faith, hope and love (charity). How can we have faith, hope and love if we don’t understand what they really are and where they come from? I am still grieved for the lost souls that left that service thinking all they had to do was ‘have hope’, ‘have faith’, and remember the ‘love’. Well that’s just simply not adequate. There was a failure to bring people who needed real hope, to hear the good news of the only one who could give them ‘faith’, ‘hope’ or real ‘love’. God tells us:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

We come to God through faith—but not just an abstract idea or way of thinking or supposing, but a total confidence in God—the God of creation and salvation.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

And faith must be in the blood of Jesus, that “cleanses us from all sin”. (See 1 John 1:7,9) Not faith that is pie in the sky! It’s the absolute substance of the things of God—all that He is, all that He does, and all that He provides for us, including salvation, especially salvation. It is seeing the evidence of God’s hand in everything around us—our very existence and life. So what is faith? It is the absolute confidence and trust in the power of God who gave His Son to be our salvation. Paul, speaking of Abraham, gives us a beautiful picture of real faith:

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:20-25

Unbelief (lack of faith)—staggers at God’s promises

 has not strength to believe

 is not persuaded that God is true

 has no righteousness

 glorifies self not God

Belief/Faith—                staggers NOT

 is strong in trusting God

 gives God glory

 is fully persuaded of God’s truth

receives God’s righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He gives it to us to SHARE!!! Reconcilers!!!

Faith is not an abstract idea, but trust in the sovereignty and provision of salvation through Jesus Christ, and reliance upon it for salvation and life. Faith in the God who sent HIS only Son to die for ME!!! It places me “in Christ”—because I am ‘born again’ of God.

John 3:3-7, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus didn’t come to give men an abstract ‘faith’ in just anything, to give them abstract ‘hope’ as an idea to cling to in blind abandon, or to teach them to ‘love’ as the world does. We come to Him to receive new life—to be “born again”. Not born of religion, tradition or abstract ideals, but to be born ‘OF GOD’.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

Without this new birth from God we have no hope, and will never experience or know the love of God. But when we come to Him – to the Cross and trust in the blood of Jesus Christ, we can experience the heart of God:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:1-10

I know this is a bit lengthy but it helps us understand what we receive from God through faith in Jesus. He gives us salvation by faith, access to Himself (see Hebrews 4:14-16) and His grace, in which we can rejoice in “hope of the glory of God”. And with HIM, we can glory in all our circumstances, no matter how tragic, how difficult, or how life changing—we can glory with God in all things. How? Because we are assured that God is working in it all and

we glory in tribulations ….

      knowing that tribulation worketh patience

             patience, experience

             and experience, hope

      hope maketh not ashamed;

because the love of God

is shed abroad in our hearts

by the Holy Ghost

which is given unto us”.

And how can we have this kind of confidence? We can only have this kind of confidence, based on the assurance of what God has done for us through Jesus at Calvary!!! Confidence that when we are ‘born again’ we can know we have life, power and confidence that only God can give. Knowing that we are not saved and delivered because of our own merit, but because of God’s amazing provision, and grace that saves our souls and lives, for “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Salvation is initiated by God, and delivered by God through the blood of Jesus Christ, and given to us when we repent of our sin and place our trust and faith in HIS substitutionary death (simply meaning that Jesus died in my place and yours).

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Only one way—Jesus.

Only one salvation—the blood of Jesus.

I am grieved that we have come to the place in our culture, in modern ‘Christendom’ that we offer

hope without Jesus

faith without the cross

peace without the blood of Jesus.

My dear friends, there is nothing farther from the truth, as Peter declares:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

I must stand with Paul:

 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:

for it is the power of God unto salvation

to every one that believeth;

to the Jew first,

and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed

from faith to faith:

as it is written,

The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:16-17

 

The choice is yours, will you stand on the truth of God’s Word, or will you fall for the compromise of the world. Your eternal destiny depends on your choice. I pray that you will choose well. And if you belong to Jesus, you are called by God to speak HIS truth to the world. Their only HOPE is FAITH in Jesus, and then they can receive His LOVE “shed abroad in our hearts”.  Nothing ‘abstract’ about it!!!