Friday, September 22, 2017

This may be a shock to some, to tie faith and works together. In some quarters it is strictly a no-no. Faith without works is dead. So we have to put them together. It does not say that the believer is dead. It is the faith.

Faith is not wishing. Too many think of it that way. Have heard of folks who were stranded, in dangerous situations, and the like, but that they had faith and were delivered. And this gets to be a serious problem.

Scriptural faith is simply believing God and acting on it. And that is the correct order. We must not get the cart before the horse. If we do, there is the danger that the hub nuts will come off and then the wheels drop off.

To get the point across, we need an example. And in Hebrews 11:8 it starts out, By faith Abraham. God told him some things, and he believed what God said. And he proved it. God had said that his son would become a great man, and be the father of many people, among other things. So then, when God asked him to offer his son as a sacrifice, he did not hesitate. For in that same chapter, we read, he reckoned that God was able to raise him up to fulfill the promise. In fact, Abraham realized that it would have to be that way. So he did not hesitate and his faith was rewarded. Isaac lived!

God made that promise to Abraham face to face. But we have many promises in the Word which Abraham did not have. In fact Moses wrote the first of the Bible about 450 years after the time of Abraham.

Following the original Koine Greek, Hebrews 11 would begin, "Now faith is the title deeds of things hoped for, the evidence (in any court) of things not seen." It is so simple, that we miss the whole thing. God has promised so many good things, and all we have to do is to go right in and possess them by faith.

But human nature being what it is, most folks just cannot do this. They are afraid that there are strings attached, that if they reach out to take the best that God has to offer, there might be a chain on it or that God was only fooling.

Now if God has promised all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, why don't more folks take these by faith and claim them as their own? They are afraid God might be "kidding."

And then why should the great and glorious God be fooling folks? Is He fickle like the gods of the heathen? Will He trick you? Will He tease and torment you with things that He does not mean and which do not exist? Is that your estimate of God?

Think it over a while. How would you like to be treated that way by your own family? Or are you one of those parents that the children cannot believe? If you do believe God as did Abraham, do your works prove it? There is another aspect of faith, and that is that we trust Him to take care of us, His children.

FAITH AND LOVE

These words are especially common in Paul's last 7 epistles. Charity is used in a couple of occasions instead of love, but back in 1611, charity did mean love.

Faith is belief in action. And it is faith toward God. It comes by hearing the Word of God. Faith cannot be controlled by the will. One does not believe by willing to do so. It is the accepting of facts presented. Nothing hinders faith like self-will. Satan cannot exercise faith for the simple reason that he is entirely self-centered and has no regard for any others, including God. Note Paul's words in Eph 1:15, Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints. you can just imagine the shine on their faces and their tender regard for each other.

Love cannot be exercised except by knowledge. When we get to know a person, there is a chance that we may then love that person. How can one love the Lord unless he knows the Lord? The first commandment to Israel was to love God with every faculty and strength (wealth). Then the second was to love the neighbor as one's self. This is the correct sequence. One cannot love a neighbor unless first loving God.

In Philippians 1:9 Paul prays that their love may abound. He does not mention faith in connection with these people, but one can read it between the lines in several occasions. It is very evident that these Philippians had faith toward God because of the fact they had so much love for Paul. They even contributed!

In Colossians 1:4 Paul commends the saints for their faith in Christ Jesus and love to all saints. Almost the same words he used of the Ephesians. Can they have faith here without love?

In 1 Timothy we find the word faith several times repeated, and then in 1 Timothy 4:12 we find charity. We might add that Paul does not seem to come outright and say that he loves the people to whom he writes. But it seems that we can surmise that fact from every word he writes.

In 2 Timothy Paul does speak of Timothy as his beloved son. And no doubt, as we have written before, Timothy was indeed Paul's adopted son. So there would be a special love for him. In 2 Timothy 1:7 love is a part of a gift from God, or rather a spirit of love. Faith and love are mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:13.

In Titus 2:2, Paul desires that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Note in Philemon 1:5, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints. This is not only to Philemon, but to the church in his house.

Search these 7 epistles for these 2 words.

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Verse of the Day

Jonah 2:6
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
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