Monday, July 23, 2018

Hebrews 11 – Faith


For those familiar with Hebrews 11, it is a testament to great people and events of faith: "by faith...Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Passover, the Red Sea crossing, the walls of Jericho falling, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. An amazing list of people and events!

It really seems to give us hope and a push for us to have that kind of faith. But are these verses really telling us to be men and women of great faith too? NO! Because the conclusion to this list is actually the start of Hebrews 12:

Hebrews 12:1-2
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of 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.

Hebrews 12 shows us that even though there is such a "great cloud of witnesses" of faith, they compared not to the Faith of Jesus, "the author and finisher of Faith". Hebrews 11 is a build-up to Christ Jesus who mastered and finished Faith once-and-for-all. Being not a requirement that we have our own faith, but a requirement that we "look unto Jesus" Christ as our Faith. Not being 'Faith IN Christ', but 'Faith OF Christ'! Grace and Faith are Their Gifts to us!

Ephesians 2:4-10
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by (God's) grace are ye saved, through (Christ's) faith; and that not of yourselves: they are gifts from God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The need for having our own faith was eliminated at the Cross through the total and 100% complete Faith Christ Jesus had to accomplish all He did and was required of Him. He erred not in Faith: "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God". And from His place in Heaven, sent the Holy Ghost (John 16) to be with us and live in us; from which Faith now abides from as a fruit.

Galatians 5:22-25
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

We are not required to have our own faith, but to live in the Spirit from His fruit, which includes Faith.

Faith is not something I put forth to demonstrate to God. Faith is a fruit. Faith is a natural response from the Spirit from believing; living by the fruit that is faith.

All we are required to do is believe (renewing our minds from unbelief and hardness of heart) to live in the fruit of Faith. We are not told to come to Christ or to God the Father in/by faith, only that we believe:

Mark 16:14-18
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Acts 8:26b-37
the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Acts 16:30-31
And (the jailer) brought them (Paul and Silas) out, and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shalt be saved, and your house [if they too believe]."

We come to and accept Christ Jesus through belief, not faith. And just as we received Christ Jesus by believing, so must we continue to walk in Him, continuing to believe:

Colossians 2:6-12
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [by believing], so walk ye in him [in belief]: rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith [established in His Faith], as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through [the unbelief of] philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 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.

So what is the purpose of faith if we are not required to have it of ourselves? Faith is a provision! It is the Holy Ghost living out of us to live the Kingdom of God.

Romans 14:17
for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (religion / ritual); but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Anything not of Faith is a sin (Romans 14:23b)—meaning anything not done from the Faith of Jesus (what He accomplished through the Cross) is sin. The context of Romans 14 and Ephesians 2 being that if it is anything done by our own works (religious rituals or traditions--as Colossians 2 reiterates), then it is denying the completed work (faith) of Jesus and the Cross. Anything therefore that denies the completed work (faith) of Jesus and the Cross is sin.

So if it has to do with our own mustering of faith, then it denies Christ's faith--thus, our own faith is a sin against Christ's Faith and completed work.

This is why we don't get healed though our faith in Him, but healed by His already completed achievement through His Faith--by HIS stripes we were healed (1 Peter 2:24)—not by our faith in His stripes, but by HIS stripes achieved by Him having the Faith to endure them and take those sicknesses upon Himself for us!

Likewise, His Faith reconciled the world to the Father as a Gift.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
For the love of Christ constrains us; because we have made this absolute declaration: that if One (Jesus Christ) died for all, then were all dead. And that since He died for all, that they which are alive should now not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them; and rose again. Insomuch, that henceforth, know we no person (no one) after the flesh. Yes, though we perceived Christ according to the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Wherefore, whoever is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are (every single thing is) of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the entire world (all people) unto himself, not imputing (not taking into consideration) their trespasses (sins and misdeeds) unto them; and hath committed unto us this word: that all are reconciled. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did encourage you by us. So pray in Christ’s behalf, as one reconciled to God! Because He made Jesus Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ.

Romans 5:10,18
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Even righteousness is a Gift to all humans:

Romans 3:21-24
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

It’s always about Him—His Grace, His Faith, His Gifts. For just as God's Grace is a Gift, so is reconciliation, righteousness, and Faith. Faith being a fruit-gift and an armour-gift:

Ephesians 6:13-18a
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.

We aren't told to take up our faith as a shield, but His faith--for it is His armour, not our own armour. If I had to rely on my own faith, it would fail everytime. This is the condemnation trap people get into: that they always seem to struggle to find or have "more faith" for their life, calling, ministry, healing, etc.

We do see Christ calling out His disciples on having a "lack of faith"; but that was pre-cross. Just as Hebrews 11 shows us the personal faith of all those Old Testament people and event, the disciples started out Old Testament. Once the Cross was completed and Holy Spirit in them, there was never a moment where they had "little faith". For their faith was not their own, but the Lord's out from them to accomplish all they did. And that faith came through them just believing in what Christ fully accomplished, relying on the Holy Spirit in and through them.



It is Not About "Little" or "Lack" of Faith (Misinterpretation)


Romans 10:17
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

When He speaks a Word to us, for us to see that Word through, Faith is generated in us as a gifted fruit of the Holy Ghost. it is the provision that sees us through what God has told us to do. It is not a "more or less" provision, it is THE provision. We are all given THE measure of Faith that is the fulfilled Faith of Christ Jesus. It is the providing ability to maintain the consistent walk and direction that is given by the Lord.

But too often we condemn ourselves in our walk of faith when we aren't getting the results we anticipate or are promised through what Christ accomplished for us. And often this condemnation makes us think that we "don't have enough faith"....and why wouldn't we when we read:

Matthew 13:58 NIV
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Mark 6:6 NIV
He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

Mark 16:14 NIV
Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

Romans 3:3 NIV
What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?

But the sad reality here in these verses though, are that it is not actually talking about faith (or the lack thereof); NO, it is talking about unbelief!

These poor translations have given faith a bad name--and condemned many, many, people when something goes as unexpected. Even being criticized by others for "not having enough faith" or that they "need to have more faith".

But really...how do we get "more faith"? We can't! Yet what we can do is "help our unbelief". This is what the original writings actually refer to. Let's look at those verses in a more accurate translation:

Matthew 13:58 AKJV
And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Mark 6:6 AKJV
And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Mark 16:14 AKJV
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Romans 3:3 AKJV
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

This is the exact same Greek word "apistia" (G570) used for this passage about the dad and sick child:

Mark 9:17-26 AKJV
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless [unbelieving] generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him.

The dad of the child correctly says "help my unbelief"--in that he wants Jesus to help him overcome any unbelief he has. Because as he noted, he does believe, but just also has unbelief that is affecting matters. Which when the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn't do it, He told them that they needed to remove their unbelief through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

Now one thing you will notice near the start of verses above, Jesus accuses them of being a "faithless generation". Yet, even the AKJV/KJV missed on this translation of the Greek word "apistos" (G571); which like "apistia" (G570) is related to belief, not faith. It is translated as such in a few occasions, but not all. Thus, what Jesus said was:

Mark 9:19
Jesus answered him, and said, "Oh, unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me."

Which contextually relates to the belief/unbelief in those verses that follow. For which we aren't instructed on how to have more faith, but are instructed not to have unbelief...and moreso, how to remove unbelief: through fasting and prayer. So it thus becomes not a "lack of faith", but having unbelief that needs removal.

And since Christ, we have all been given His one measure of Faith. So don't doubt (unbelief) this given measure--it flows out from within you as His Gift of fruit from the Holy Ghost. He already has given you all you need to carry out His Word to you. Rest in that knowing you already have the faith needed to accomplish His Will for your own personal life and walk with the Lord!

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Faith is no longer an issue--just belief and unbelief. When we believe, faith flows as a fruit and is our shield against the devil. For when we stand on the truth of what Christ accomplished through His Faith and the completion of the Cross, nothing the devil throws at us can knock us down or impede our authority in Christ!

So let go of it being 'your' faith, and just rely on the believing in Christ's Faith--not to get it done, but that He already did it for us. Everything from Christ was gifted out 2000 years ago, "it is finished". So don't try to get, open up and receive what’s been done for you through belief! God’s Grace. Christ’s Faith.

Galatians 3:11-14
But that no man is justified by the law (self-works) in the sight of God, it is evident: for, “The just shall live by faith.” And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law (though His Faith), being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through (His) faith.

Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

From Christ’s Faith to His Faith through us. Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by His faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 4:25, 5:1).

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.

Ephesians 3:12
In whom we have boldness and access (to God) with confidence by the faith of Him (Jesus Christ).

For the life of faith we live is not our own, but His Faith! This is His rest for us; His work done for us; and it is Him that gets the Glory, not us and our ‘work’ that would be self-glory.

1 Corinthians 13:13
Now abide in His Faith, His Hope, and His Agape Love; but the greatest of these to abide in is His Agape Love.

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