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Belief and Faith

“We having the same spirit of faith…”
2 Corinthians 4:13

In the original Greek, there is very little difference between these two words; belief means “to have faith”, a living faith that draws from God. But very often today the Gospel has been reduced to what a person believes. Salvation is presented as words rather than power. Belief has become a doctrinal concept where the power of God is no longer taken into consideration. We hear “just believe,” as in assenting to a phrase and a concept; it matters little whether or not the “belief” is accompanied by change. Somehow words will ensure our relationship with God is good regardless of any transformation or not. It becomes no different than the offerings of any other religion where you pray multiple times a day the same repetitive prayer, or follow certain rules and procedures, or travel to some special location at least once in your life, or any number of empty mantras.

Belief (in our day) is what a person understands and mentally ascents to; faith is the power to walk in those beliefs. Faith is the dynamic of God in us demonstrating His Life. Belief is simply the framework of an individual’s concept of God.

“You believe that God is One. You do well;
even the demons believe and shudder.”
James 2:19

James follows this statement with:

But are you willing to know, O vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead?”
James 2:20

The penetrating question of the Spirit of God is: “Are you willing to know, oh vain man…”? Many in this hour are not willing to know the truth. They hide behind what they believe to justify a dead and impotent faith. The demons believe and tremble, but it is not possible for them, nor for those whose faith is dead, to do the works of God. It takes the inspiration of Faith to know the victory of Christ and the power to walk righteously. Belief allows one to be deceived as to the verity of the condition of their faith. The powers of darkness rejoice in those with no ability to touch the power of a living faith.

The Apostolic ministrations often exhorted the people of God to examine themselves whether they be “IN THE FAITH”.

“Examine yourselves,
whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…”
2 Corinthians 13:5

Paul is not asking what we believe; he is pointedly asking, “are you IN the faith”. Is the faith of God moving you, pressing you, and causing you to walk in obedience? The writer of Hebrews wanted to present to the people of God what faith IS. A simple reading of Hebrews chapter 11 defined faith by what people did, not by what they believed.

It is the error of false teaching that a large part of the church today reduces faith to a statement. People and organizations often seek to define and validate themselves by these statements of faith rather than understanding that what they DO is their statement of faith. A faith that produces nothing is worth nothing. A faith that is not costly to walk in, which does not bring repentance and growth in our personal lives, is the bane of religion.

It is not what we believe, it is how we conduct ourselves. Faith produces a life that will cause others to glorify our Heavenly Father. Jesus says to the multitude:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

Notice the connection Jesus makes between light and works. His Light shines forth from His Works in and through us. Those who carry Him in their lives cannot be bereft of works.

The great deception of our day is that if I believe right, I am therefore right with God. The true ministration of the Sword of the Spirit will bring to us the burning question, “are you willing to know”?

“But are you willing to know, O vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead?”
James 2:20

It is imperative that we desire the truth of God for ourselves. Our works, our daily walk, and our internal thought life are the revelation of our faith. John pleads with the people of God to not be deceived.

“Little children, let no one lead you astray;
he who is doing righteousness is righteous,
even as He is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

God is very clear concerning righteousness; he who is DOING righteousness is righteous. Doing righteousness is revealed in our walking in forgiveness, casting down vain imaginations, freeing ourselves from jealously, envy and lust. Giving of our time, our resources and the secret prayer life where we find grace to bless those who despise us, exclude us from their company, and walk free from the temptations of all this world has to offer.

“But are you willing to know, O vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead?”

May we allow the penetrating work of the Holy Spirit to keep us in the living relationship by the power of a faith where the love of God produces the works of God in our lives.

Note: There are many scriptures that use the word “belief” in reference to salvation; for example:

“For with the heart man believeth
unto righteousness…”
Romans 10;10

The phrase “unto righteousness” is key. It is not by a powerless belief that salvation is secured; it is a belief that brings the heart unto righteousness. How we have misinterpreted these verses as if a mental assent is all that is required. Religion rests in words, God’s power is revealed in transformed lives.

My life as a hopeless addict. associated with gangs and living on the streets, needed far more than words, something beyond confessions and teachings. His coming to me personally, imparting to my miserable existence the breath and wonder of His own LIFE transformed me in that instant, and by his grace continues to change me. I will forever be indebted to the One who found me and saved me. That is the Gospel!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth INTO (the true Greek meaning) Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”
John 3:16

The end result of believing INTO Him is “everlasting LIFE”!

amazing grace!

Brian Troxel

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