What is Faith?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

WHAT IS FAITH?

PART ONE

“Now faith is the essence of things being hoped
the evidence of things not having been seen”
HEBREWS 11:1 (LITV)

In the book of Hebrews we have this brief description of what faith is in terms of expression. When God seeks to lay out to His Own what faith is He is not the least bit interested in an intellectual definition. He speaks of faith as evidence and expression. He reveals faith by what it produces in terms of reality. We read this of FAITH:

For by this (FAITH) the elders OBTAINED WITNESS (Evidence of pleasing God)
By FAITH Abel OFFERED
By FAITH Enoch was TRANSLATED
By FAITH Noah PREPARED (built) an Ark
By FAITH Abraham OBEYED
By FAITH Sarah RECEIVED POWER to conceive

When God in His Word seeks to impart to us what faith is He can set before us no other description than what faith produced in the lives of those who have gone on before. The true test of faith is not what we believe; it is revealed in what we do and in what we become. True FAITH is the EVIDENCING of the Life of the Son of God in our lives. Faith is the ability to APPROPRIATE the LIFE of the SON into the world in which we live. Faith without works is an impossibility. For in the holding of faith, a true and living faith, there must always be an accompanying evidence of its authenticity in the life of the true follower of Christ. Believing a thing is simply an intellectual acknowledgement of a prescribed doctrine or teaching but having the faith of God can never be without a living expression of that inward power.

We live in a time when faith is held as a teaching, a holding to some form of doctrine or belief; a religious persuasion. This kind of “faith” is an intellectual commodity rather than a life changing expression of the power of God. The deception of such a notion is clearly communicated by James…

“But become doers of the WORD,
and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves”
James 1:22

The “deception” James speaks of here is the deadliest and most subtle of all deceptions for the real purpose of faith is to empower us to the DOING of that LIVING WORD. Jesus is that Word made flesh and the intent of Him sending faith into our hearts is to see that same living WORD become flesh in the substance and reality of our lives.

“Who through faith…
wrought righteousness,
obtained promises”
HEBREWS 11:33

Brian Troxel

Hearken, Hearken, Hearken Part Five

“HEARKEN”

PART FIVE
(Part FIVE of a Five Part Series)
ISAIAH 51

To Those who Know Righteousness

“Hearken unto me,
ye that know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear ye not the reproach of men,
neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment,
and the worm shall eat them like wool:
but my righteousness shall be for ever,
and my salvation from generation to generation”
ISAIAH 51:7-8

The Hebrew Word used here for “Hearken” is the same as the one used in Isaiah 51:1 for it is unto a people whose walk is pleasing unto God. This is a people who “know righteousness”. This Word is addressed to those who know the reality of a righteousness which is empowered and made real by FAITH; for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is alive within their hearts. They know the battle of Faith, that victory over sin is through the wonder of faith, and that by faith are they held in the beauty of His Life. It is to such that we see the gracious WORD of God encouraging and strengthening them to not be fearful of the reproaches of men, their reviling and scorn. It is a word to empower them; to consider the temporary state of their persecutors; the substance and eternal nature of their salvation in Him. We are reminded of our Lord and Saviour who for the JOY set before Him endured…

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.
For consider him
that endured such contradiction
of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds”
Hebrews 12:2-3

The power of this Word in our day is intended by Him to be a strong one of encouragement and exhortation to LOOK and CONSIDER HIM in the things that are to come upon us. In so intently seeking HIM we will be found living in the HOPE of the Joy set before us. We will find the same divine enablement to despise the shame and suffering. It is in the unction of this living hope that we find the same graces of spirit, the same peace and comfort of heart, and the same spirit of Glory to reveal in those moments HIS LIFE and Resurrection! How good is our God to send forth His Word to us now, before the storm breaks forth upon us, that we may be comforted, empowered, free from fear and hidden with Christ in God. He invites us to flee to Him, to enter into the very bosom of His LIFE even as Noah entered into the ark.

“…as it was in the days of Noah,
so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank,
they married wives,
they were given in marriage,

until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
and the flood came, and destroyed them all”
Luke 17:26-27

Ω

“And so,
after he had patiently endured,
he obtained the promise”
Hebrews 6:15

Brian Troxel

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN

“Give me this mountain”

“…yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain…”
JOSHUA 14: 11 – 12

Faith is not only a substance and the real evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) it is also a spiritual reality and a precious fruit of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). Faith is not determined by age or the weaknesses that are common to man. We see here the testimony of Joshua who, at the age of eighty-five, is undaunted by the promises of God. The mountain he asked for was inhabited by the giant Arba and the Anakims which were the giants of the land of whom Goliath was a descendant. His eyes were fixed upon the promises of God, not himself.

Because that living faith burned within his heart it had NOT diminished with the passing of time; he was able to declare…

“Now therefore give me this mountain…”

The eternal purposes of God do not rest upon our physical strength or abilities; they are carried along by the operation of His faith within the recesses of our hearts. Joshua still had to invade that land and fight the giants but his strength was the product of a living faith and not the other way around. So must we in our day continue to “contend for the faith”. Faith that is living and true, that is present tense and at this moment “strengthened for war…to go out and to come in”. Wherever there is true faith there is a continual war in the spirit both to hold onto what is ours in Christ and to see total victory over the strongholds within.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
II CORINTHIANS 10:4

And again…

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee,
that thou by them mightest war a good warfare”
I TIMOTHY 1:18

Many of Joshua’s fellow Israelites did not live to enter the Promised Land because of the issue of faith; so it is in our day (I Corinthians 10:6-12 and Hebrews 4:6). May the Lord stir our hearts to hold faith, walk in faith and live a life that pleases HIM. May we be found strong to finish the race for HIS Glory.

“Finally, my brethren,
be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might”
EPHESIANS 6:10

Brian Troxel

TEMPTATION

TEMPTATION

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
James 1:12

Temptation is neither a sin nor a sign of carnality. It is the everyday reality for all men. The issue is not temptation but the response to it within our heart that matters. It is through enduring and resisting temptation that the victory of the Crown of Life is received. Where there is no battle there can be no crown. The crown of life spoken of here is given to those who by the mercy of our Lord and Saviour have fought the fierce battles that wage in the secret places of our hearts and minds, often while no one is watching. They have known the utter weakness of the flesh, the deceitfulness of their own heart and the pressure that comes to bear upon them in their walk of faith. Left to ourselves the outcome would be certain and the end of the matter sure.

“But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
I CORINTHIANS 15:57

The Glory of this life of Faith in Christ Jesus is that we are not left to ourselves in the matter of overcoming sin. We are not orphans that are left to our own resources in this matter, nor are we to labour under the rigorous requirements of the Law by our own strength! We have available to us the wonder and the glory of “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” It is through HIM that we are made “more than conquerors”. In Him we are not only freed from the power of Sin but are indeed made alive that we can walk in the very Spirit of His Life and provision. Such things are not known by simply taking thought. These virtues of His Life are won in the arena of this life. It is the Crown of His life that we receive as we overcome and endure the hardships of temptation and trial. It is in these places that we learn the secrets of dependence and victory; the sufficiency of His Grace in contrast to our weakness; the discovery that “love endures ALL things”; that He is “…able to keep us from stumbling”.

These victories are to be known in the life of every believer. We not only have His rich provision for the victory but even in the midst of defeats and discouragements we have the assurance of forgiveness and mercy to rise up from every one of them and press the battle until the victory has been received.

“For a righteous man may fall seven times
and rises again”
PROVERBS 24:16

The life of the Christian is more than forgiveness, more than mere religious sayings and nice sermons; it is a life of pursuit, of victory and of overcoming as He overcame. It is in growing in Him, learning of Him and discovering the absolute necessity of abiding in Him that we find the wonder of His provision and mercy.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world even your faith.”
I JOHN 5:4

Brian Troxel

STRENGTHENED BY FAITH

Strengthened by Faith

“…through faith in His name, has made this man strong,
whom you see and know”
ACTS 3:26

Faith comes to make men strong. It takes the lame, the deaf and the blind and makes them whole. It causes the weak things of this world to confound the strong. It finds the lost and wandering and fills them with His purpose. The excerpt of scripture above is from Peter’s sermon in the Temple after the healing of a man who was lame from birth. When Peter and John were confronted by the leaders of their day Peter spoke with great boldness and effect.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,
and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men,
they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them,
that they had been with Jesus”
ACTS 4:13

Faith, living faith, true and powerful faith, takes ordinary men and women and makes them strong. Throughout the scriptures we read “BY FAITH…” The religious leaders of that day “TOOK KNOWLEDGE” that these men “HAD BEEN WITH JESUS”! Is the world around us acknowledging that we have been with Jesus? If not, why? Where is the disconnect? Where are those who are weary and troubled by the sterile, safe, ambiguous Christian expression in our land? Where are those who are tired of words, explanations and books describing our doctrinal position in Christ rather than defining what we are to BE in CHRIST? How can we believe that we have no part to play in HIS WILL in the earth when the scriptures are full of accounts of those who risked their lives for the Glory of HIS NAME? How can we read the book of THE ACTS of the Apostles and not see the great contradiction between then and now? Countless Christians are weak and impotent simply because they KNOW NOT WHO HAS CALLED THEM AND WHAT HE HAS CALLED THEM UNTO. Our Christian experience is much more than a “human choice” to accept Him into our lives. We are the result of THE ETERNAL CALL OF GOD unto a specific purpose which we will only discover through the obedient walk of faith in our lives!

“But you are a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
that ye should SHOW forth the praises of him
who hath CALLED you out of darkness into his marvellous light”
1 PETER 2:9

“That ye would walk worthy of God,
who hath CALLED you unto his kingdom and glory”
1 THESSALONIANS 2:12

This thing called faith should cause us “to WALK worthy of God” in this world; not TALK worthy, but WALK and BE expressions of HIS GLORY. When will those around us take notice that we have been with Jesus? When our walk begins to match our talk. When the name by which we identify ourselves is none other than the name of Jesus rather than one of countless denominations. Let the words of Paul convict us…

“Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul;
and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
IS CHRIST DIVIDED?
was Paul crucified for you?
or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
1 CORINTHIANS 1:12 – 13

Read the context of such things and let them sink deeply into our hearts. Let us return to the living truth from whence TRUE AND POWERFUL EXPRESSIONS OF FAITH ARISE IN POWER AND LIFE. Wherever there are powerful ministrations of truth there will be powerful expressions of FAITH; Faith to make men strong, Faith to make men free and Faith to bring HIS LIFE and GLORY into this world.

Ω

“Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources,
and thus they attempt very little and they always fail.
All giants have been weak men who did great things for God
because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them”
James Hudson Taylor

Brian Troxel