The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see. By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed , not what he brought , that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice. By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God. By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God. By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions. Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that— heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar. By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau. By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff. By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial. By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree. By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going. By an act of faith, he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them. By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned. By faith, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat. By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God. I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world. Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.
Hebrews 11:1-40 MSG
I had a discussion about faith with someone this past week. Two weeks ago, there was this heated argument about if faith alone can take one to heaven and some people said it can, some people said it can’t. We realized in the end that we were all saying the same thing but our definitions of faith differed. Some people view faith as believing that God so loved the world and sent His only begotten son that whosoever beliveth in Him shall not die but have everlasting life. While some say it’s not. I was among the former set until I read Hebrews 11 earlier today. All these people were said to have faith because they believed God’s promises and obeyed Him even when it did not look like the promise was going to be fulfilled. As a matter of fact it says that a lot of them did not see the fulfillment of the promise yet they did whatever God told them to do. So faith is not just believing, it’s obeying the leading or the guidance of God who speaks to us through the Spirit. Inherently, faith is walking in the Spirit. So yes, when Romans 5:1 says we’re justified by faith, it means just that. And when Ephesians 2:8 says by grace we’ve been saved by faith it’s not mistaking.
However, Phillipians 2:12 says we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This means that just because we are very faithful today doesn’t mean we’ll be faithful all our lives. The devil is out there looking for who he may devour and we wrestle not against flesh but against principalities and powers. I read somewhere that since faith is not as a result of reality, i.e. none of the five senses can prove faith, the devil uses the five senses to disprove it. The book gave an example concerning the first sin about how Eve heard the voice of the serpent, looked and saw the fruit, touched it, tasted it and smelt it. Sometimes it’s not as straightforward as that. It could be like the testimony I shared last week where the devil just puts doubt in your head that you’re not good enough. Let me at this juncture mention that fear which is a by product of doubt, is the opposite of faith. God has told me no weapon formed against me shall prosper so why am I worried that some people are trying to do me evil? One thing I always say that I learnt from Joseph is that “they meant it for bad but God meant it for good” saying. So even if it seems like the enemy is winning, he’s really not. There’s a good coming out. An overwhelming good because God values His word above His name so He’ll fulfill His word concerning you. Do you get it? However this is easier said than done and at times it takes a few days to realize the attack of the devil. This is why 2 Corinthians13:5-7 says “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.”
John 15:5-6 says “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.”
Once you are in Christ, you hear fruits, once fruits are no longer being borne, you’re no longer in Christ and will be cut off or pruned. Once your faith no longer produces the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23,it means it’s producing fruits of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21, which means that your faith has been compromised. That’s how I check to see that I’m still in the faith. After this check, if I notice my faith is wavering, I go back to the word of God. After all, faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Checking the amour of God, the sword is the Word of God and that is the only mechanism of attack we have. So those memory verse we were taught in children’s church are actually useful. They are what we use to tell the devil off. We use it to show him that he’s a liar. From Tuesday, I’ll be starting each post with a bible verse. That’s how I found some of my favorite bible verses and I pray these verses minister to you and help you when fighting battles.
Before this post gets too long and unreadable, let me leave you with this. When you’re walking in faith, which is walking in the spirit, there is now no condemnation. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:1-2). You therefore no longer have to do anything. Some people say they have no choice, well now you do. You are no longer slaves to sin.
The Bible says faith without works is dead.
Faith – Works = Dead
Faith = Works
And we know that Faith = Walking in the Spirit
Walking in the spirit = Work
So when the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God, it means without walking in the Spirit, its impossible to please God. Bill Hybels says Christianity is appreciating God for what He’s done, that’s John 3:16, and not a list of things to do to get into Gods good books. When we think of this, we understand now why it’s impossible to please God without walking in the Spirit. You can’t know how to appreciate a person if you don’t know the person. Walking in the Spirit gives us that avenue to know God and then He can be appreciated. No wonder faith is the basis of our Salvation. And you can see now that the work meant by “faith without works is dead” does not mean just being a worker or going on mission trips, you know, let everyone see that you’re on fire for God meanwhile you’re really not on fire in your walk with the Spirit. Its very essential to walk in the Spirit guys. This cannot be stressed enough and something I’ve learnt is that God’s will for each person is different so we cannot judge.We cannot hear what God is telling the other person so don’t be quick to judge, unless the person is evidently showing the fruits of the flesh. Even then, do not judge, Jesus is the judge, only correct in love.
What group of people are you? Do you believe that just believing takes one to heaven or walking in the Spirit does? If you believe in the former was this post able to change your mind? For more about faith, you can read the book of Romans. Should we do a Romans study? Tell me your thoughts.
P.s: Phos-faith was to be this blog’s original name but the email address was already taken. Do you prefer Phos Faith to Phos reflections. The story behind Phos Faith is that we are to be the light of the world but its impossible to do that without faith. While the story behind Phos reflections is that we are to walk with God, receive His light and be reflections of His light to the world. Yes, my favorite analogy of we Christians is that of being the light. So which do you prefer?
P.p.s: I am not changing the name of the blog. I just want to hear your thoughts.