What Is Faith? continued
In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 2 verses 1-5 Paul is telling the brothers he did not come to them with eloquence (which is speech or writing that is vivid, forceful, fluent, and graceful used as persuasive power) or superior wisdom as he proclaimed to them his testimony about God. He was afraid so much when he first arrived that he was weak and trembling but determined to stick to his testimony of Jesus Christ. Paul was very humble and he did not use his worldly wisdom or persuasive words to convince the brothers. Instead, demonstrated the Spirits power so that their FAITH might not rest on mens wisdom, but on Gods power. What a wonderful lesson for us to trust in Gods Holy Spirit and to not try and manipulate and control people with worldly wisdom, communicative skills or flashy presentations. (1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.)
In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 12 verses 4-9 Paul is explaining that there are different kinds of gifts of the Spirit working in different ways and each manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Wisdom, the word or message of knowledge, FAITH, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discerning or the ability to distinguish between spirits, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues or languages, and interpretation of tongues or other languages which all come from the one and only Spirit of God and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. With this we can rest assured that we do not have to lean on our own understanding or trust in money, powerful people or in our own wisdom. Instead, we can be empowered by Gods Holy Spirit with gifts that can be used for the common good of mankind. (1 Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;)
In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1-14 is very important. This is a chapter about the most powerful and most excellent way, "Love". Paul said if he spoke in other languages of men or the tongues of angels, but did not have love, he was only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. He said if he had the gift of prophecy and could fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and even had FAITH that could move mountains, but did not have love, he was nothing. Paul said, even if he gave everything he owned to the poor and surrendered his body to the flames, but did not have love, he gained nothing. Further on he speaks about what love is in verses 4-13 and he ends the chapter with "And now these three remain: FAITH, Hope and Love. BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. (1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.) (1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.)
In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 15 verses 13-17 Paul is teaching about The Resurrection of Christ and he said that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised, and if Christ was not raised, his preaching would be useless and our FAITH would be useless also. Further on he says again that if Christ has not been raised, our FAITH is futile (untrustworthy, worthless, vain, hopeless, lacking purpose and ineffective); and we are still in our sins. We must believe and trust (have FAITH) that Jesus Christ came in a perishable (flesh) body, he was put to death in that same body and was raised from the dead in an imperishable (spiritual) body by God: 1st Corinthians chapter 15 verses 35-58 goes into this in subject more. (1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.) (1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.)
In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 16 verse 13 Paul is teaching the people to be watchful and on their guard. He tells them to stand firm in the FAITH and be men of courage, strong and to do everything in Love. (1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.)
In the book of 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 verses 23-24 Paul is telling the church at Corinth and the saints throughout Achaia about how the Church Authority does not lord over the churchs FAITH. It works with the church in the spirit of cooperation for the sake of joy, because it is by FAITH that the church stands firm. (2 Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.)
In the book of 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 verse 13 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken. With that same spirit of FAITH we also believe and therefore speak,". . . What a great scripture that reflects confidence in God. Through our spoken words we confess our beliefs and we bear testimony of our FAITH. (2 Corinthians 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;)
In the book of 2nd Corinthians chapter 5 verses 7 It says "We live by FAITH, not by sight. We do not have to see something to believe in it. Simply trust in God and do not allow anything to make you doubt, no matter what circumstances or situation. (2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
In the book of 2nd Corinthians chapter 8 verses 7 Paul is teaching about the spirit of generosity and encouraging those he is speaking to, to excel in FAITH. It is important that we excel in this grace of giving and benevolence. It is the spiritual fruit of our FAITH. (2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.)
In the book of 2nd Corinthians chapter 10 verses 15 Paul is preaching and telling the people about the missionary zeal he had seen and sharing his hope which was, as they continued to grow in FAITH that the job he was doing would expand and greatly increase the spiritual growth of the people throughout the area. (2 Corinthians 10:15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,)
In the book of 2nd Corinthians chapter 13 verses 5 Paul tells us to conduct a self examination. He says: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the FAITH; test yourselves. Dont you realize Christ Jesus is in you?" Be honest with yourself, admit you are powerless and realize that God is in control of whatever you turn over to Him and from that point on, understand that whatevers not done in FAITH is done in Sin. (2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?)
In the book of Galatians chapter 1 verse 23 Paul is telling the people about his conversion from Evil Zeal for the traditions of his fathers and of how he use to persecute the Christians but now, because a revelation from God he is preaching the FAITH, he once was trying to destroy. (Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.)
In the book of Galatians chapter 2 verses 16-20 We see that Paul opposes Peter and comments on Peters instability and hypocrisy that led him astray. Paul was upset that Peter was trying to make the new believers follow Jewish customs and traditions. He said; "Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by FAITH in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our FAITH in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by FAITH in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." In verse 20 Paul says "The life I live in the body, I live by FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.) (Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.)
In the book of Galatians chapter 3 verses 1-29 Is a power packed chapter where the return to Legalism is condemned. The teaching of deceivers that use formalism, observance of the law and ritualism is exposed. Paul tells us that the promise of salvation proceeded the giving of the law and explains the purpose of the law. Law is insufficient and has many limitations. The new dispensation has free us from the tutelage of the law. From Servitude to Sonship. Paul asked them if they received the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what they heard and he asked them if they were trying to attain their goals by human effort. He explains that God did miracles among them because they had FAITH (they believed and trusted in what they heard) not because they observed the law. He reminded the people about Abraham and who he was justified. He said: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." God announced the gospel of FAITH in advance to Abraham and promised that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him. So those who have FAITH are blessed along with Abraham, the man of FAITH. Paul goes on to say that everyone that relies on observing the law is under a curse but he also says we continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. The main point he makes is we must not rely on it wholly as a means of justification because the righteous will live by FAITH. The law is not based on FAITH. Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of relying on the law so that by FAITH we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Paul goes on to explain that the covenant of FAITH previously established with Abraham was a gift of Gods grace. Because Abraham believed and trusted God, we can see God fulfilled his promises to him. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. The way of FAITH offers a world of universal sin a universal opportunity to be free of sin, no longer a prisoner so that what was promised, being given through FAITH in Jesus Christ, might be given to those that believe. Before this FAITH came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until FAITH was revealed by Jesus and the law was in charge until Christ came, so we could be justified by FAITH. Now that FAITH has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. We are children of God through FAITH, spiritual heirs through adoption. (Galatians 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?) (Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.) (Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.) (Galatians 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.) (Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.) (Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.) (Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.) (Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.) (Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.) (Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.) (Galatians 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?) (Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.) (Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.)
In the book of Galatians chapter 5 verses 1-6 We receive a call to freedom in Christ from the bondage of the law and we are told: "But by FAITH we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope." We learn a very important truth also in verse 6: "The only thing that counts is FAITH expressing itself through love." (Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.) (Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.)
In the book of Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 Paul is telling us about the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, FAITH fullness, gentleness and self-control and against these there is no law. (Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,)
In the book of Galatians chapter 6 verses 10 In the beginning of this chapter Paul talks about our duty to the weak. Carrying each others burdens and restoring the brothers that have sinned gently, with human sympathy. He talks about Spiritual Action and Reaction: "A man reaps what he sows." We are told when an opportunity arises we should do good to all people and especially to those in the household of the FAITH. (Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.)
In the book of Ephesians chapter 1 verse 15 While Paul was sharing on the unity of believers and encouraging the saints in Ephesus told them he was praying because he heard about their FAITH. He wanted the saints to receive the spiritual gifts of wisdom and revelation so they could know God better. I pray that God, by divine intervention and communication, grant his creation the Spirit of knowledge and wisdom to know what to do in all we do, and reveal or manifest to humanity His will, the divine truth of Himself. (Ephesians 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,)
In the book of Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8 Paul is speaking to the people about the kindness of God and Salvation through Grace. He says: " For it is by grace you have been saved, through FAITH and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance (to help or assist in the success and completion of his creations spiritual growth and He did it through Jesus. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of two [mans spiritual and fleshly duality] thus making the two, one and creating peace, and in this one body [or state of being] to reconcile both of them to God through the cross [the living sacrifice Jesus Christ made] by which he put to death the duality of mans nature and created The Church, a Spiritual Temple (see verses 15-18). (Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God)
In the book of Ephesians chapter 3 verse 12-17 Paul is preaching to the Gentiles and the mystery of the church is revealed. Our Heavenly Fathers intent was that through the church, He would reveal His manifold, or (various forms of, or features and/or parts of His) wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose Which he accomplished in Christ Jesus. He tells us that: "In him (Jesus Christ) and through FAITH (to believe and trust in him) we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Paul continues with a prayer for the church to strengthen them with the power in the Spirit of Christ deep into their inner being so that Jesus (The Anointed One) may dwell in their hearts through FAITH. This is a good example of showing how It is God who works through the means and renders them effectual (see also the book of James verses 4 verses 3-15). (Ephesians 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.) (Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,)
In the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verse 5-13 Paul tells us that we need to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace in one Lord, one FAITH, one baptism, one God the Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Paul explain the diversity of the Spiritual Gifts that are used to prepare Gods people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the FAITH and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure (being all that we can be, which is ) of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,) (Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ)
In the book of Ephesians chapter 6 verse 16-23 Paul explains how the Christian Soldiers Armor of God is Spiritual , made to withstand and resist the Devil in Spiritual Warfare. The Gifts are the Soldiers equipment to be used against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. In addition to the Christian Soldier putting on all Gods Armor we are told The Shield of FAITH (the shield of invincibility) is to be taken up to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Paul sets a wonderful example for us and shows us how important prayer is in verses 17 and 18 . He ends his letter to the saints be saying: " Peace to the brothers, and love with FAITH from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Love With FAITH (from God) Keep praying for it. (Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.) (Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.)
In the book of Phillippians chapter 1 verses 25-28 Paul is writing to the saints in Philippi, together with the elders and deacons and he was talking about being torn between his desire to depart from this life and be with Christ and staying to continue with them for their progress and joy in the FAITH. Convinced of that, he knew that he would remain so that through his being with the saints their joy in Christ Jesus would overflow on account of him. Paul gave the people some helpful guidance and told them that no matter what happened they should conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then whether Paul came back to see them or he only heard reports about them, he would know that the church was standing firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the FAITH of the gospel, without being frightened in any way by those who oppose them. (Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;) (Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;)
In the book of Phillippians chapter 2 verse 17 Paul is telling the church to let their light shine like the stars of the universe. The Spiritual light enables us to live radiant lives and helps us when we are in Gods service because of our FAITH. The self-sacrificed life in the service of Gods will brought Paul very deep Spiritual Joy. (Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.)
In the book of Phillippians chapter 3 verse 9 Paul talks about not having confidence in the flesh and warns the church about not allowing the teachers of legalistic righteousness in. He talks about his holy ambition and makes it clear to the people that he wants to be in Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of his own that comes from the law, but that which is through FAITH. (Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith)
In the book of Colossians chapter 1 verse 3-5 Paul was giving a salutation and commendation to the saints of Colosse and he told them he prayed for them always because he heard about their FAITH - The FAITH and love that sprang up from their hope. . . (Colossians 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,)
In the book of Colossians chapter 1 verse 21-23 Paul teaches us that we were once alienated from God and were enemies in our own minds because of our evil behavior. Now God has reconciled us by Christs physical body through death to present us holy in Gods sight, without blemish and free from accusation - if we continue in our FAITH, established and firm, not moved from the hope help out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;)
In the book of Colossians chapter 2 verses 5-7 Paul lets the saints know how much he is struggling for them, why he was doing what he was doing and what his purpose was. H e was delighted to see how orderly they were and because they stood firm in their FAITH in Christ. (Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.)
In the book of Colossians chapter 2 verse 6-12 Paul is teaching on freedom from human regulation through life with Christ and encouraging them to be strengthened in the FAITH as they were taught. He warns the saints to not let anyone take them captive though hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. He says they are raised with Christ through their FAITH in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.) (Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead)
In the book of 1st Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 3-8 Paul is giving thanksgiving for the FAITH of the Thessalonians. Their works produced by FAITH, their labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in our lord Jesus Christ. He continues to tell them how inspired he was that he heard about FAITH everywhere. (1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;) (1 Thessalonians 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.)
In the book of 1st Thessalonians chapter 3 verses 2-10 Paul is longing to see the Thessalonians and he talks about when he sent Timothy to comfort the church and to strengthen and encourage them in their FAITH so that no one would be unsettled by the trials and persecution. In verse 10 Paul says "Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your FAITH. The edification of the saints and prayer played a key role in the building up of their FAITH. (1 Thessalonians 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith) (1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.) (1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you) (1 Thessalonians 3:7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith) (1 Thessalonians 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?)
In the book of 1st Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 8 Paul was telling the people about the suddenness of Christs coming and Spiritual Enlightenment and in this verse he said we are Sons of the light. But since we belong to the day we should be self controlled, putting on the spiritual armor of God. Putting on FAITH and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.)
In the book of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 3-4 Paul is writing to the church of the Thessalonians, an exemplary church, and expressing his love for the church. He says: We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your FAITH is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. He continues: Therefore, among Gods churches we boast about your perseverance and FAITH in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. (2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;) (2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure)
In the book of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 11 After Paul was done talking about the Future Judgment he says: With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your FAITH. (2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.
In the book of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 2 Paul is ending his letter and makes a request of the church. He said: And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has FAITH. This is a very important passage and we need always remember Pauls words here. (2 Thessalonians 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.)
Paul expresses his love for Timothy in the book of 1 Timothy 1:2-19. Pauls exhortation to Timothy, "his son in the FAITH" salutes Timothy as being a genuine child in the FAITH. Paul encourages Timothy with godly edification and he counsels the young pastor. Timothy is reminded by Paul about his trip to Macedonia and about when he told him to stay in Ephesus so he could make certain that men did not teach false doctrines and so he could tell the people not to devote themselves t6o myths and endless genealogies (family backgrounds and bloodlines) because they promoted controversies rather than Gods Work - which is done by FAITH. The objective of Pauls mandate was and is Love out of a clean and pure heart and out of good conscience with sincere FAITH and without hypocrisy. He warns against false teachers of the law and talks about how dogmatic he was about the law. Paul shares his testimony and talks about how bad he used to be. He was the son of powerful family and a Roman Citizen. Paul was sent out by the Jewish leaders to kill Christians in the name of God and he murdered thousands of men, women and children until his conversion. Paul teaches Timothy what he learned from Christs example. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Jesus showed us by example unlimited patience, mercy and forgiveness and Timothy is exhorted to "hold on to the FAITH and keep his conscience clean so his FAITH will not be shipwrecked like so many others who have been handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." (1 Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.) (1 Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.) (1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned) (1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.) (1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck)
In 1 Timothy 2:7-15 Paul is giving instructions on worship, universal prayer and thanksgiving. He teaches that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be made for everyone. Paul explains to Timothy that there is one God and one mediator between God and men, and the man is Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for the redemption of mankind. He reminds Timothy that he is a teacher of nations in matters of FAITH and truth. Chapter two ends with some advice and a promise to women who continue in the FAITH. His exhortation for women to continue in the FAITH, love, holiness and sobriety. (1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.) (1 Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.)
1 Timothy 3:8-10 Paul is teaching about the qualifications of Overseers and Deacons. After he teaches about the conduct of a spiritual leader and what is expected of certain positions in the church government, he points out in verse 9 that "They must keep hold of the deep truths of the FAITH with a clear conscience. He even says in verse 10 "They must be tested prior to being put into a position of leadership. Paul goes on to teach about the qualifications of being a church leader and a promise is given in verse 13, "Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their FAITH in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.) (1 Timothy 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.)
In 1 Timothy 4:1-12 we can see that instructions were being given to Timothy. Paul told him that in later times some will abandon the FAITH and follow deceptive teachings. The false doctrine forbidding people to marry and the teaching that people had to abstain from certain foods was wrong. Paul goes on to say "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. He also tells Timothy how to be a good minister is in verse 6. He said, "If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus. He goes on in verse 12 to say " but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in FAITH and in purity. This means to be a good minister we should set a good example. (1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;) (1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.) (1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.)
In 1 Timothy 5:1-8, Paul points out certain Ministerial Duties in Church Government. He talks about Courtesy, Brotherhood, Respect for the Aged, Spiritual Relationships, Purity. He gives Advice About Widows, Elders, and Slaves. He commands Gods followers and teachers to Support and take care of their Families. Paul said, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the FAITH and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.)
Paul is outlining the qualifications for the Womens Ministry in Timothy 5:9-12 and teaching about certain privileges that were to be afforded to Widows after they are 60 years old. Faithful women of good reputation that were full of hospitality and devoted to helping others were put on "The List Of Widows". Paul also expounds on what should be done for Younger Widows. In verse 12, Paul talks about the Younger Widows who want to remarry. He understood that sensual desires can overcome a person and these desires can overcome a followers dedication to Christ. He said, "Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge [or FAITH]" (1 Timothy 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.)
1 Timothy 6:10-12 is a warning to those of the FAITH to avoid the love of money because it will lead to a wandering away from the FAITH. Those men of a corrupt mind, robbed of the truth, who thought and taught godliness was a means to financial gain were wrong. Paul reveals this sobering certainty; "But godliness with contentment is great gain." The Perils Of Being Rich, and the temptations and worldly snares associated with money concerned Paul a great deal. He knew how it was to have a lot of money. He grew up in a wealthy family. He felt the Evil Desires of men, Covetousness, and the Greed associated with money would consume the peoples FAITH and lead men into ruin and destruction. In verse 10, Paul said; "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the FAITH and pierced themselves with many griefs." He continues in verse 11, by warning the ministers to flee from the desire to live for money and pursue righteousness, godliness, FAITH, love, endurance and gentleness. Spiritual Love, Meekness, Patience, glorify God and Paul said "Fight the good fight of the FAITH. (1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.) (1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.) (1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.)
At the close of the letter Paul tells Timothy in, 1 Timothy 6:20-21, to guard what has been entrusted to him and avoid Godless chatter and opposing ideas of what was falsely called knowledge. He warns that it was wrong to make an open declaration, and affirmation in such knowledge because, "in so doing have wandered from the FAITH (1 Timothy 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.)
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:5, his second letter to Timothy, that he served with a clear conscience and that he misses him and prays for him. Paul remembers Timothys tears from past times and he is reminded of Timothys sincere FAITH. He talks about the maternal influence and parental example set by Timothys devoted mother and his devoted Grandmother, in the FAITH, and how he felt the FAITH was passed on to Timothy. (2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.)
After Paul tells Timothy to cultivate the gifts he has been given in the middle of 2 Timothy chapter 1, he tells him to be fearless in the spirit of love, and to be self disciplined. Paul tells Timothy not be ashamed to testify about Jesus and to join in the suffering for the gospel, by the power of God The divine ability to suffer persecution is something God allowed Paul to experience frequently. Each time trials and tribulations tested Pauls FAITH, he simply trusted God. He said "I know whom I believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." Paul continues with more teachings and tells Timothy, "What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with FAITH and love in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.)
In 2 Timothy 2nd chapter, Paul tells Timothy again to stay away from unsound doctrine that some were teaching and avoid babbling chatter that would lead to an ungodly end. Some were teaching that the Resurrection had already taken place, and they were destroying some peoples FAITH (2 Timothy 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.)
Paul goes on to tell Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22 to flee the evil desires he had when he was young and encourages him to pursue righteousness, FAITH, love, and peace, (2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.)
In 2 Timothy 3:8 Paul talks about two people who disapproved strongly of, rejected and condemned the teachings of Moses and how they were depraved and unprincipled concerning the FAITH (2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Pauls charge to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:10 to remember his example and experiences, his teachings, the way he lived his life, his purpose, his FAITH, his patience, his love, his endurance, his persecutions, and his sufferings, were all intended to help strengthen Timothys FAITH. (2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience,)
The value of the Scriptures is expounded on in 2 Timothy 3:15. Paul tells Timothy to stick with what he learned from the Holy Scriptures when he was a child and continue in the Holy Scriptures because they are able to make a person wise for salvation through FAITH in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.)
One can feel how Paul felt in chapter four of 2nd Timothy when he wrote his last testimony to Timothy. Paul knowing that he would die soon said: " the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the FAITH." (2 Timothy 4:6-7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
In the book of Titus 1:1-2 Paul writes to Titus about Apostolic counsel and exhortations. He also puts an emphasis on good works and starts out his letter with telling Titus he is, "a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the FAITH of Gods elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godlinessa FAITH and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised " (Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;)
Paul writes on in Titus 1:4 and tells Titus "you are my true son in our common FAITH." (Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.)
After teaching on Church Order and the Qualifications Of Ministers and about Silencing False Teachers in Chapter One, the book of Titus, Paul states that his testimony is true and tells Titus how to handle the False Shepherds. "Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the FAITH. (Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;)
In Chapter two, the book of Titus, Paul is counseling on what must be taught to various age groups and different classes. The fist thing he said was, "You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine." Then, "Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self controlled, and sound in FAITH, in love and in endurance." (Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
At the end of chapter three in the book of Titus, Paul ends with, "Everyone with me sends you greeting. Greet those who love us in the FAITH." (Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.)
In Philemon 1:4-6 Paul tell Philemon, "I always thank God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your FAITH in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your FAITH, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." (Philemon 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;) (Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.)
The foregoing analyses will enable us to define an act of Divine supernatural faith as "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God" (St. Thomas, II-II, Q. iv, a. 2). And just as the light of faith is a gift supernaturally bestowed upon the understanding, so also this Divine grace moving the will is, as its name implies, an equally supernatural and an absolutely gratuitous gift. Neither gift is due to previous study neither of them can be acquired by human efforts, but "Ask and ye shall receive."
From all that has been said two most important corollaries follow:
That temptations against faith are natural and inevitable and are in no sense contrary to faith, "since", says St. Thomas, "the assent of the intellect in faith is due to the will, and since the object to which the intellect thus assents is not its own proper object -- for that is actual vision of an intelligible object -- it follows that the intellect's attitude towards that object is not one of tranquillity, on the contrary it thinks and inquires about those things it believes, all the while that it assents to them unhesitatingly; for as far as it itself is concerned the intellect is not satisfied".
It also follows from the above that an act of supernatural faith is meritorious, since it proceeds from the will moved by Divine grace or charity, and thus has all the essential constituents of a meritorious act. This enables us to understand St. James's words when he says, "The devils also believe and tremble" (ii, 19) . It is not willingly that they assent, but they are compelled thereto by the evidence of those signs which prove that what believers assent to is true, though even those proofs do not make the truths of faith so evident as to afford what is termed vision of them. Nor is their faith Divine, but merely philosophical and natural.
Faith is an elemental energy of the soul", "a tentative probation", that "its primary note will be trust", and finally that "in response to the demand for definition, it can only reiterate: "Faith is faith. Believing is just believing'". Nowhere is there any distinction between the relative parts played by the intellect and the will.
We have defined the act of faith as the assent of the intellect to a truth which is beyond its comprehension, but which it accepts under the influence of the will moved by grace and from the analysis we are now in a position to define the virtue of faith as a supernatural habit by which we firmly believe those things to be true which God has revealed. Now every virtue is the perfection of some faculty, but faith results from the combined action of two faculties; 1) The intellect which elicits the act, and 2) The will which moves the intellect to do so. Consequently, the perfection of faith will depend upon the perfection with which each of these faculties performs its allotted task; the intellect must assent unhesitatingly, the will must promptly and readily move it to do so.
The unhesitating assent of the intellect cannot be due to intellectual conviction of the reasonableness of faith, whether we regard the grounds on which it rests or the actual truths we believe, for "faith is the evidence of things that appear not"; it must, then, be referred to the fact that these truths come to us on Divine infallible testimony. And though faith is so essentially of "the unseen" it may be that the peculiar function of the light of faith, which we have seen to be so necessary, is in some sort to afford us, not indeed vision, but an instinctive appreciation of the truths which are declared to be revealed.
In every act of faith this unhesitating assent of the intellect is due to the motion of the will as its efficient cause, and the same must be said of the theological virtue of faith when we consider it as a habit or as a moral virtue, for, there is no virtue, properly so called, in the intellect except in so far as it is subject to the will. Thus the habitual promptitude of the will in moving the intellect to assent to the truths of faith is not only the efficient cause of the intellect's assent, but is precisely what gives to this assent its virtuous, and consequently meritorious, character.
This promptitude of the will can only come from its unswerving tendency to the Supreme Good. And at the risk of repetition we must again draw attention to the distinction between faith as a purely intellectual habit, which as such is dry and barren, and faith resident, indeed, in the intellect, but motived by charity or love of God, Who is our beginning, our ultimate end, and our supernatural reward. "Every true motion of the will proceeds from true love".
To believe in God? -- It is to love Him by believing, to go to Him by trusting, and to be incorporated in His members. This, then, is the faith which God demands of us; and He finds not what He may demand except where He has given what He may find. This then is what is meant by "living" faith.
Again, faith being a virtue. You ought not to see in order to believe, you ought to believe in order to see. Our intellect therefore is of use to understand whatever things it believes, and faith is of use to believe whatever it understands; and in order that these same things may be more and more understood, the thinking faculty [mens] is of use in the intellect. But this is not brought about as by our own natural powers but by the gift and the aid of God." Further, the habit of faith may be stronger in one person than in another, "whether because of the greater certitude and firmness in the faith which one has more than another, or because of his greater promptitude in assenting, or because of his greater devotion to the truths of faith, or because of his greater confidence".
We are sometimes asked whether we are really certain of the things we believe, and we rightly answer in the affirmative; but strictly speaking, certitude can be looked at from two standpoints: if we look at its cause, we have in faith the highest form of certitude, for its cause is the Essential Truth; but if we look at the certitude which arises from the extent to which the intellect grasps a truth, then in faith we have not such perfect certitude as we have of demonstrable truths, since the truths believed are beyond the intellect's comprehension.
Many receive their faith in their infancy, to others it comes later in life, and its genesis is often misunderstood. Without encroaching upon the article REVELATION, we may describe the genesis of faith in the adult mind somewhat as follows: Man being endowed with reason, reasonable investigation must precede faith; now we can prove by reason the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the origin and destiny of man; but from these facts there follows the necessity of religion, and true religion must be the true worship of the true God not according to our ideas, but according to what He Himself has revealed. But can God reveal Himself to us? And, granting that He can, where is this revelation to be found? The Bible is said to contain it; does investigation confirm the Bible's claim? We will take but one point: the Old Testament looks forward, as we have already seen, to One Who is to come and Who is God; the New Testament shows us One Who claimed to be the fulfilment of the prophecies and to be God; this claim He confirmed by His life, death, and resurrection by His teaching, miracles, and prophecies. He further claimed to have founded a Church which should enshrine His revelation and should be the infallible guide for all who wished to carry out His will and save their souls.
For Divine faith is supernatural both in the principle which elicits the acts and in the objects or truths upon which it falls. The principle which elicits assent to a truth which is beyond the grasp of the human mind must be that same mind illumined by a light superior to the light of reason, viz. the light of faith, and since, even with this light of faith, the intellect remains human, and the truth to be believed remains still obscure, the final assent of the intellect must come from the will assisted by Divine grace, as seen above. But both this Divine light and this Divine grace are pure gifts of God, and are consequently only bestowed at His good pleasure. It is here that the heroism of faith comes in; our reason will lead us to the door of faith but there it leaves us; and God asks of us that earnest wish to believe for the sake of the reward -- "I am thy reward exceeding great" -- which will allow us to repress the misgivings of the intellect and say, "I believe, Lord, help Thou my unbelief," and know that where reason fails, faith builds up.
When this act of submission has been made, the light of faith floods the soul and is even reflected back upon those very motives which had to be so laboriously studied in our search after the truth; and even those preliminary truths which precede all investigation e.g. the very existence of God, become now the object of our faith.
"I praise the fruit of good works, but their root I discern in faith." From what has been said touching the absolutely supernatural character of the gift of faith. If we are to believe present-day Rationalists and Agnostics, faith, as we define it, is unreasonable. An Agnostic declines to accept it because he considers that the things proposed for his acceptance are preposterous, and because he regards the motives assigned for our belief as wholly inadequate. "Present me with a reasonable faith based on reliable evidence, and I will joyfully embrace it. Until that time I have no choice but to remain an Agnostic" (Medicus in the Do we Believe? Controversy, p. 214).
Similarly, Francis Newman says: "Paul was satisfied with a kind of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus which fell exceedingly short of the demands of modern logic, it is absurd in us to believe, barely because they believed" (Phases of Faith, p. 186). Yet the supernatural truths of faith, however they may transcend our reason, cannot be opposed to it, for truth cannot be opposed to truth, and the same Deity Who bestowed on us the light of reason by which we assent to first principles is Himself the cause of those principles, which are but a reflection of His own Divine truth. When He chooses to manifest to us further truths concerning Himself, the fact that these latter are beyond the grasp of the natural light which He has bestowed upon us will not prove them to be contrary to our reason. Even so pronounced a rationalist as Sir Oliver Lodge says: "I maintain that it is hopelessly unscientific to imagine it possible that man is the highest intelligent existence" (Hibbert Journal, July, 1906, p. 727).
Agnostics, again, take refuge in the unknowableness of truths beyond reason, but their argument is fallacious, for surely knowledge has its degrees. I may not fully comprehend a truth in all its bearings, but I can know a great deal about it; I may not have demonstrative knowledge of it, but that is no reason why I should reject that knowledge which comes from faith. To listen to many Agnostics one would imagine that appeal to authority as a criterion was unscientific, though perhaps nowhere is authority appealed to so unscientifically as by modern scientists and modern critics. But, as St. Augustine says, "If God's providence govern human affairs we must not despair or doubt but that He hath ordained some certain authority, upon which staying ourselves as upon a certain ground or step, we may be lifted up to God"
Naturalism, which is only another name for Materialism, rejects faith because there is no place for it in the naturalistic scheme; yet the condemnation of this false philosophy by St. Paul and by the author of the Book of Wisdom is emphatic (cf. Rom., i, 18-23; Wis., xiii, 1-19). Materialists fail to see in nature what the greatest minds have always discovered in it, viz., "ratio cujusdam artis; scilicet divinae, indita rebus, qua ipsae res moventur ad finem determinatum" -- "the manifestation of a Divine plan whereby all things are directed towards their appointed end" (St. Thomas, Lect. xiv, in II Phys.). Similarly, the vagaries of Humanism blind men to the fact of man's essentially finite character and hence preclude all idea of faith in the infinite and the supernatural (cf. "Naturalism and Humanism" in Hibbert Journal).
"He that believeth and is baptized", said Christ, "shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark, xvi, 16); and St. Paul sums up this solemn declaration by saying: "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb., xi, 6). The absolute necessity of faith is evident from the following considerations: God is our beginning and our end and has supreme dominion over us, we owe Him, consequently, due service which we express by the term religion. Now true religion is the true worship of the true God. But it is not for man to fashion a worship according to his own ideals; none but God can declare to us in what true worship consists, and this declaration constitutes the body of revealed truths, whether natural or supernatural. To these, if we would attain the end for which we came into the world, we are bound to give the assent of faith. It is clear, moreover, that no one can profess indifference in a matter of such vital importance.
The attitude of many outside the Church is now one of absolute indifference, faith is regarded as an emotion, as a peculiarly subjective disposition which is regulated by no known psychological laws. Thus Taine speaks of faith as "a living fountain which has come into existence in the lowest depths of the soul under the impulse and the warmth of the immanent instincts". Indifferentism in all its phases allows any man freedom to embrace and profess whatever form of religion his reason approves of. Christ's prayer for the unity of His Church the highest form of unity conceivable, "that they all may be one as thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee" (John, xvii, 21), has been brought into effect by the unifying force of a bond of a faith such as that which we have analysed.
All Christians have been taught to be "careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, one body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all" (Eph., iv, 3-6). The objective unity of the Church becomes readily intelligible when we reflect upon the nature of the bond of union which faith offers us. For our faith comes to us from the one unchanging Church, "the pillar and ground of truth", and our assent to it comes as a light in our minds and a motive power in our wills from the one unchanging God Who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Hence, for all who possess it, this faith constitutes an absolute and unchanging bond of union.
The teachings of this faith develop, of course, with the needs of the ages, but the faith itself remains unchanged. Modern views are entirely destructive of such unity of belief because their root principle is the supremacy of the individual judgment. Certain writers do indeed endeavour to overcome the resulting conflict of views by upholding the supremacy of universal human reason as a criterion of truth; but, "One cannot really begin to appreciate the value of united Christian testimony until one is able to stand apart from it, so to speak, and ask whether it rings true to the reason and moral sense."
The Book of Hebrews, a letter commonly attributed to the Apostle Paul is a wonderful place to read about FAITH. In Hebrews 4:2 Paul is talking about entering into Rest by FAITH. The Spiritual Rest Paul speaks about is an example a Sabbath Rest for the People of God. Paul continues, "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they have was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with FAITH." (Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.)
In Hebrews 6:1 Paul gives an exhortation to Spiritual Progress and to continue in Faithfulness. He states: "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of FAITH in God " (Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,)
After Paul teaches on perseverance, diligence and the certainty of Gods Promises in chapter 6, Paul says: We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through FAITH and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.)
In Hebrews 10-19-23, Paul writes about the Sacrifices of the Law being insufficient. Rituals, Burnt Offerings, Sacrifices are replaced by a Spiritual Cleansing. Paul is telling the people that to be cleansed of our sins and guilt once and for all, we must turn away from the old sacrificial system that the Law required be made, because God does not want them. God wants his people to do His Will, not the Will of Man. He teaches; "We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all." The new Covenant, (the Law of the Heart) is what God wants. Those that do the will of God shall led by the Spirit of Grace. We can see, starting with verse 19, that Paul taught us great deal about to persevering: "Therefore, brothers since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.) (Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
In Hebrews 10:38, Paul warns the people about being a coward and he lets the people know how God feels about people that afraid to make a stand for Christ and his teachings. He says: "But my righteous one will live by FAITH. And if he shrinks back, I will not be please with him." (Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.)
Hebrews 11:1-39 We can see Paul is giving a sort of Roll Call of the heroes of FAITH AND HE TEACHES ABOUT THE REAL SUBSTANCE AND MEANING OF FAITH. (Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.) (Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.)
Paul reminds us in Hebrews 11:4, of an example of FAITH in the story of Abel. Abel, the younger son of Adam, was a shepherd by calling. He offered to God a lamb from his flock, which was accepted. It was not the kind of offering, but the character of the offerer that God respected. As brought by Abel, the offering showed the surrender of the heart to God. It expressed the consciousness in the offerer of entire dependence upon God in FAITH for daily blessing and the desire for the continuance of Gods favor. Cains character was different from Abels, his younger brother. Cain, an agriculturist by calling brought the fruits of the ground as an offering to God but, the heart of Cain was not right, and his offering was rejected. The his character was revealed. He showed anger and refused the exhortation to strive against sin and at the prompting of envy and jealousy slew Abel. (Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.)
We see in Hebrews 11:5, Pauls reference to Enochs FAITH. Enoch, a descendant of Jared, and progenitor of Methuselah lived 365 years, and walked with God. He is the only one of the line of whom is not said that he died. "He was not; for God took him (Gen.5:18-24) He was translated, and did not see death (Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.)
What should we do if we want more FAITH? Paul said, "he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarded of those seeking him." Moses had FAITH like that. He "looked intently toward the payment of the reward" and "continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:6 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.)
Noah was a just man and, like Enoch, walked with God. (Gen. 6:9) I was an age of religious indifference, when even the sons of God had become worldly and in contracting marriage chose by outward appearance rather than by the disposition of the heart (Gen. 6:2) Noah was commanded by God to build an Ark, gather his family, food, and pairs of each animal.. Because Noah trusted in what he believed to be Gods voice, had FAITH, and followed Gods command, he and his family survived the flood. (Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Lets look at the FAITH of Abraham (originally called Abram) who lived more than 4,000 years ago. His FAITH is still highly regarded in three major religions - Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. God appeared to Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia and told him to Go out of his land and from his relatives and go to the land God would show him. (Genesis 12:1-3) While he was in UR he received Gods promise that he would father a seed (child) that would be a blessing to people of all nations. (God promised to give the land to Abrahams see (Genesis 12:7 Nehemiah 9:7, 8) and Gods blessings came to Abraham and his family for their obedience. Even though much of what God promised Abraham was to be fulfilled after his death and he never owned any part of Canaan (except for the cave of Machpelah that he purchased for his burial place), he still had FAITH in Gods promises. Above all, he had FAITH in a future "city having real foundations, the builder and maker of the city is GOD." (Hebrews 11:10)
God spoke and the 75 year old Abraham and his 65 year old wife, Sarah, followed Gods instructions and believed and trusted God keep his promises to give them a child, even in their old age. He left the comfort of his home, family and friends and "By FAITH Abraham and his family resided as aliens in the land of promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents". (Genesis 12:4)
When Abraham moved to Canaan, he and his family had to rely on God 100%. They were alone in a strange land with only Gods protection and support. Things were often difficult for Abraham and his household in Canaan. They went through a severe famine that drove them out of Canaan down to Egypt. The ruler of Egypt and the ruler of Gerar (near Gaza) tried to take Abrahams wife, Sarah, for themselves. (Genesis 12:10-20; 20:1-18) There were conflicts between the herders of Abrahams livestock and the herders of Lots livestock, and it caused a separation between the two households. After Lot got caught up in a war between the king of distant Elam and his allies and the kings of five cities on the Low Plain of Siddim, Abraham fearlessly pursued the foreign kings and recovered Lot his household and his goods. (Genesis 14:1-16)
The courageous FAITH in God Abraham displayed when he chased after Lots captors is an excellent example of what kind of FAITH God desires from his children. We need never doubt, whatever situation we face, if we have FAITH in God, and His direction, the final outcome will be to His glory, and to our long term benefit. Despite the challenges and sacrifices, there is no better way.
Talk about having patience. Gods promise was not fulfilled to Abraham for almost 25 years after he first heard the promise. He was a 100 year old man and his wife Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to a baby boy, Isaac. Abrahams example reminds us that FAITH is not should not be just for a short term. Paul likened FAITH to endurance when he wrote: "You have need of endurance, in order that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the fulfillment of the promise . We are not the sort that shrink back to destruction, but the sort that have FAITH to preserving alive of the soul." (Hebrews 10:36-39)
Some have waited a lifetime for Gods promises and some still may have to wait a little longer for Gods time to keep the promises. If we just continue to stand fast and embrace our FAITH, we will receive our reward in Gods due time, which is the best time to get it.
Three things that strengthened Abrahams FAITH are:
1) He loved God with all his heart and demonstrated his love belief that God is by paying heed to what God had spoken to him. He was different from the Jewish people of Jeremiahs day, who believed in God but did not completely trust in Gods words. (Jeremiah 44:15-19)
2) Abrahams FAITH was closely related to his hope. "Base on Hope he had FAITH, that he might become father of many nations." (Romans 4:18) We should never forget that God is the rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. The Apostle Paul said: "We are working hard and exerting ourselves, because we have rested our hope on a living God." (1st Timothy 4:10) If we truly believe in God and put our trust in Him, our whole life course will be a demonstration of our FAITH, just as it was with Abraham.
3) Abraham spoke with God and it strengthened his FAITH. FAITH building prayer is vital when doubt and fear attack our FAITH. God was able to reassure Abraham about his concerns about himself and his wife getting old and restore his FAITH in prayer. Abraham was worried about not being able to have a child because of their old age. Gods reassurance resulted in Abraham putting his "FAITH in God; and he proceeded to count it to him as righteousness." God even provided a sign to confirm his reassuring words. (Genesis 15:1-18) People who obey God in full FAITH, can trust in God to strengthen their FAITH. (Matthew 21:22; Jude 20,21) Yes, God will bless those that believe and trust in Him just as He "blessed Abraham in everything." (Genesis 24:1) Abrahams FAITH was so strong and his relationship with God was so close that God called him "My Friend." (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23)
(Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.) (Hebrews 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise) (Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.)
Paul explains in Hebrews 11:13, The FAITH of the Patriarchs. These Spiritual Pilgrims planted seeds (examples) of righteousness, spiritual vision, and obedience, Each one had something in common. They embraced Gods promises and lived their FAITH. (Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.)
Abrahams FAITH was distinguished from the belief of the great majority of his contemporaries. Abrahams FAITH was tested to exhibit and develop Abrahams FAITH. God commanded him to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham had to go rise above every human emotion, his wife, and everything he went through waiting for his son and then God had him lay his son on the alter, and offer him up as a sacrifice. This showed God his willingness, and readiness to give God all he possessed, and demonstrate his obedience to Gods commands. Abrahams FAITH was tested and he believed and trusted that God could raise his son from the dead if needs be. The angle of the lord stopped the sacrifice and explained that God did not want this type of sacrifice in the end of the story. I am sure Isaac learned from this to. (Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,)
Esau was Isaacs favorite, the elder son of Isaacs two sons. Jacob was Isaacs wife , Rebekahs favorite. Isaac blessed his children by teaching them about his FAITH. He taught them what he believed, heard from God, and trusted to be the absolute truth. (Hebrews 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.)
Jacob, the deceiver, transformed into Israel, the Prince of God. No other Bible character represents more clearly the conflict between the lower and higher natures, but he emerges in Gods triumphant FAITH. Jacob had his name changed by God to Israel (Genesis 35:9-10). Jacob had a the twin brother by the name of Esau (Jacob was born after Esau therefore he was considered the younger brother). Jacob, now "Israel", blessed his son Josephs sons by FAITH. In his weakness he leaned on his staff, a "friend of God" and did the will of God. (Genesis chapter 48.) (Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.)
By FAITH, Joseph, a youthful dreamer whose dreams came true, spoke about the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt when he was nearing his lifes end. He gave instructions to bring his bones into the promised land. ( Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.)
FAITH played an important part in Mosess life. He was born a Hebrew in Egypt and the law required all male Hebrew children be cast in the Nile River to drown and this brought Moses into imminent peril of his life. In Hebrews 11:23, We can see, by FAITH Mosess mother hid the child three months, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. His mother hid him as long as she could, and when she could not hide him any longer, she place him within an ark of bulrushes, which had been daubed with bitumen and pitch to render it water-tight, and put it among the flags on the rivers bank then posted a young girl by the name of Miriam to watch for the results. When the Pharaohs daughter bathed in the river, the baby Moses was found. She was moved by pity and adopted him. He was raised and instructed in all the wisdom of Egypt to be a future leader of the Egyptians. Gods spoke to Mosess heart and opened his eyes to the oppression of the Hebrews. Hebrews 11:24 tells us; by FAITH Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He killed an Egyptian that was oppressing a Hebrew, we are told in Hebrews 11:27, and by FAITH he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king or his anger: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Because he believed and trusted God he followed what he knew to be Gods Will in FAITH. Hebrews 11:28 says; Through FAITH he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. The power of FAITH is clearly demonstrated at the Red Sea. In Hebrews 11:29 we read; By FAITH they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. Moses was totally dependent on God. He had the Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and even the Hebrews were full of fear, doubting, and coming down on him. He faced forty years in the wilderness, got God mad at him, and still kept the FAITH.
We can see a great example of FAITH in the story of "the Walls of Jericho." Jericho was known as a city strongly fortified. The Israelites were at war with the people in Jericho. The Israelites were told by divine command to march around the city for six consecutive days, with the ark of the covenant in their midst and seven priests blowing trumpets in front of the ark. This was like holding Gods Promise (the ark and covenant) up to the people of Jericho and the horns were announcing (bringing attention) to it. They people of Jericho did not get it or refused to believe it, and on the seventh day they compassed the city seven times; and on the seventh circuit they made a loud blast with their horns, in unison, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. (Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.)
Hebrews 11:31 says: By faith the prostitute, Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.) She was not killed with those who were disobedient. She did Gods Will by FAITH even in the face of a death sentence, if caught.
Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets through FAITH conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised. By FAITH they shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword, and had weaknesses turned to strength (Hebrews 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.)
These were all commended for their FAITH, but God delayed their blessings. (Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise) God is more concerned about our Spiritual progress and helping man to throw off everything that would hinder their walk in FAITH. The promises made by God were kept by God, in Gods Time. We can learn a lot from these stories about great FAITH.
Paul talks about Christs inspiring example as the finisher of our FAITH in Hebrews 12:2. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He said we should fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our FAITH.
In Hebrews 13:7 Paul tell us to remember all those great leaders, who spoke the word of God and consider the outcome of their chosen way of life and do the same as they did by FAITH. (Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.)
It is thought that James, the brother of Jesus Christ, wrote the Book Of James. The writer starts with teaching about the value of trials and temptations. He said; Consider it pure joy whenever we are faced with trials, because we know that the testing of your FAITH develops perseverance. We learn to persevere when we let go and let God help us through the trials and temptations. To do this we must trust God and be patient. (James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.) If we ask, we must believe and not doubt. Ask, Trust, Have Patience, And Give The Praise And Glory To God For What Has Done. God is the source of all wisdom. If we need wisdom, peace of mind, or courage, is essential that we have unwavering FAITH (James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)
In James 2:1, James is saying his brothers are not of the same FAITH as he is, and they do not respect all people. He talks about the sin of social partiality, and he teaches that favoritism is in conflict with Gods Will. Favoring the rich, despising the poor, and invidious distinctions are evil. Mans equality as Spiritual Heirs of Gods Kingdom is spoken of here; James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. He goes on to say; Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (James 2:5)
If someone claims to have FAITH, and that they are living their FAITH and they see someone without clothes and daily food and do nothing to help these people with their physical needs, what good is it? FAITH without action is worthless. You can tell if someone has the FAITH by what they do. James was a big teacher on FAITH. If FAITH dose no good, what good is it? (James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?) (James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.) (James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.) (James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?) In verse 19, we can read that James said that believing was not that same as FAITH. He said even the evil spirits believe. FAITH is easily seen by the evidence of that which is demonstrated in ones actions. What we say and what we do will reveal if we have FAITH, and love God. Simply, God loves to see us, embrace our hopes, in love, and put our FAITH into action.
James reminds us of the example of Abrahams FAITH. Abraham was considered righteous for offering up his son Isaac on the alter. It was the custom and belief in Canaan, were he resided at that time, to offer up to God the first born in sacrifice. Abraham knew he must follow the law of the land and he did what he thought was right, he obeyed the law. The angle of God told him that God did not want that type of sacrifice. His willingness and faithfulness was demonstrated by his open-mindedness, willingness, and his FAITH in action. His FAITH was perfected through this we are told in (James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?)
In verse 24, James says; You see that person is justified (to prove qualified as surety, in line or flush) by what he does and not by FAITH alone. (This does not mean he is saved by FAITH or works. We are saved by the Grace of God) (James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.) (James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.)
Here is a promise of a miracle. The prayers of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Gods divine power is beyond our human comprehension. A prayer in FAITH can heal the sick, and make them well. If they did something against Gods will, they will be forgiven. (James 5:15 says: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.)
The apostle Peter, wrote a book and the central theme of it is victory over suffering. In our FAITH, we can be sure we are kept safe by the power of Gods Protective Grace which endures all things. Through FAITH we are shielded by Gods power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.)
Peter tells us FAITH is more precious than gold. The refining of Gold by fire as an example to teach us more about FAITH in 1 Peter 1:7 When gold is purified it is heated up and all the impurities rise to the top. The impurities are skimmed off and the gold is set. The same can be said about FAITH. When the heat is on and the trial and tribulations rise, in FAITH, we perceiver the heat, skim off the impurities and get rid of them, and we come though it all tried, tested, and pure FAITH. It is also done so our FAITH can be proved genuine (1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ)
Though we did not see Jesus Christ, we love him. We shall receive an inexpressible and glorious joy as the goal of our FAITH. (1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.)
Through Jesus Christ we believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so our FAITH and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.) Jesus wanted to bring glory to God and through his example show us what Gods Will was for our lives. We are to have sincere love for one another, deeply, from the heart.
Peter is telling us to be humble and to resist the tempter in 1 Peter 5:9. We are to cast off our anxiety, be self controlled and alert because of all the evil activity, and spiritual enemies carrying out Satans work. Soberness, watchfulness, and steadfastness in FAITH, knowing we are not the only one in this world that goes through trials, and when we do go through them, we are to be humble and resist the temptations. (1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.)
Peter wrote in his second book, 2 Peter 1:1, his FAITH was precious. (2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ)
Through Gods precious promises, we may participate in the divine nature of God and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Peter goes on further to say in 2 Peter 1:5, For this reason make every effort to add to your FAITH. Add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to your FAITH. (2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;)
Many visible things such as "the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes" strongly appeal to our imperfect flesh and can weaken our FAITH. But, we can see in, 1 John 5:4. "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
The author of Jude 1:3, in defense of the FAITH said; contend for the faith that was entrusted to the saints. He said to watch out for teachers who change the grace of God into a license for immorality (Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.)
In the authors call to persevere and unite when men try to divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and human logic and are not led by the Spirit. We must build our FAITH and pray in the Holy Spirit, and be merciful to those who doubt. (Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,)
The Apostle John, while writing to the Church of Pergamum, in the book of Revelations, said that he understood what they were going through for the FAITH. even though it was so bad there that he said Satan had his throne there, they did on renounce their FAITH. (Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.)
The Apostle John, while writing to the Church of Thyatira, in the book of Revelations, said he was aware of all their deeds of love and FAITH. (Revelation 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.)
The Apostle John wrote in Revelation 13:10, that the Beast makes war with the saints, the saints are told those that make them captives, will be captives and those that kill will be killed. Finally we can see those that kept the commandments of God, and their FAITH in the teachings of Jesus Christ rewarded for what they had patiently waited for in FAITH. (Revelation 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.) (Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.)