The Mystery of Faith
“…it was needful for me to write unto you,
and exhort you that ye should earnestly
contend for the faith”
During these days of uncertainty and chaos it would be tempting to retreat into our own isolated worlds. The confines of “social distancing” and the fear of reaching out to those around us make it easy to excuse ourselves from life. Now more than ever it is imperative that we remain alive in Christ; to walk in the eternal truth of the Word of God. That Word is fulfilled by His Spirit moving through us by the Love of God. Love casts out all fear and in Him we find the resources to walk as He walked.
There has never been a time when sharing the love and mercies of God was convenient in this world. Every generation has had its battles. Every generation has had to contend for the faith of God in their time. May we be faithful in our day to minister unto Him in the faces of those around us.
“Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred,
or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick,
or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?”
“Forget yourself and live for others,
for It is more blessed to give than to receive”
– A.B. Simpson
“Use the faith God has already given you. You have faith, or you could not be a Christian. Use your little faith and it will increase by use. Plant a few grains of it, and you will find it will grow and multiply. George Müller said that when he began his ministry it was as hard to believe for a pound as it was forty years later to believe for a thousand pounds. He was like the Thessalonians to whom Paul wrote, “Your faith groweth exceedingly”
Do not be satisfied with prayer and desire, but DO!“
– Mrs.Charles E. Cowman
“Genuine faith must go beyond the mere intellectual assent concerning biblical doctrines. People must let the implications of these doctrines radically affect their hearts so that they respond positively to God with the obedience and works of faith”
– Daniel Fuller
“His lord said unto him,
Well done, good and faithful servant;
thou hast been faithful over a few things,
I will make thee ruler over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
(From the Parable of the Talents)
When the time came for the master to reckon with his servants, he did not say “well believed”; He spoke the words “well done”. True servants of God are not idle, nor slack concerning the gracious bestowal of talents. They invest their lives into God’s investment in them. They are faithful in the things entrusted to them. In this passage the one who was slack concerning God’s investment was reproved and cast into outer darkness. The talents were given to HIS SERVANTS and as such the Lord expected a work and a labour into that which was given. These were His people upon whom such privileges were bestowed. They were not given on the basis of individual merit, but according to each one’s ability. Men and women who declare they are not able to walk in such things declare God to be unjust in His estimation of their ability.
“His lord answered and said unto him,
thou wicked and slothful servant…”
Whose Lord? The servant’s Lord. Let us make no mistake as to the meaning of this Parable. It is a false and foolish gospel that has robbed God of His rightful place as Lord in our lives. Let us turn from this deceit and embrace the responsibility and the great reward that awaits those who are found faithful to our Lord and Saviour.
In this Parable Jesus declares:
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh,
and reckoneth with them”
Rest assured His coming is nigh unto us. Can we not hear with the ears of faith?
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh
shall find so doing”
Again, the word does not say blessed is that servant that he shall find “so believing”! His Day is upon us and we are to be faithful in so doing and admonishing others to the same.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…”
Do we not hear the exhortation to stir one another unto “love and good WORKS”? Can we not feel the day approaching? It is a slothful people who do not exhort one another unto “love and good works”. Read the context of the above scripture; it is willful sin not to be doing this as we assemble together.
The lethargy and false comfort preached in our day blinds His Own to their responsibility to the talents given.
(Please read 2 Corinthians 5:9-11)
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be”
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the Lord’s work,
because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”
1 Corinthians 15:58
“For true evangelical faith is of such a nature that it cannot lie dormant; but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love; it dies unto flesh and blood; destroys all forbidden lusts and desires; cordially seeks, serves and fears God; clothes the naked; feeds the hungry; consoles the afflicted; shelters the miserable; aids and consoles all the oppressed; returns good for evil; serves those that injure it; prays for those that persecute it; teaches, admonishes and reproves with the Word of the Lord; seeks that which is lost; binds up that which is wounded; heals that which is diseased and saves that which is sound. The persecution, suffering and anxiety which befalls it for the sake of the truth of the Lord, is to it a glorious joy and consolation.”
– Menno Simons
“Now to him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us…”
Ephesians 3:20 (WEB)
Faith is not belief. Faith is not a commodity or the product of a self-generated religious philosophy. Faith is the “substance” of things hoped for. It is the actual “evidence” of spiritual realities. It is not empty, make believe or unsubstantial. Faith is rooted in God Himself. It is the divine enablement to reach into the very heavens where God dwells and appropriate divine realities. The ability to expect the greater things of God is proportional to the “power that is at work in us”. Within the life of every believer there is to be a power at work; a power received and held within the heart of His own. Obedience is the revelation of that power at work within our lives. It is God moving within us to fulfill His purposes for us.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God
of things not seen as yet, moved with fear”
Noah was moved by faith; the impetus to do was the offspring of that faith. Faith is the mover. There is a relentless press of faith to do God’s work in those in whom that power is at work. The degree of its expression in our lives is revealed by obedience and the works which faith alone can produce. Where there is no living faith, the works of faith will be missing. Faith is the power of God at work within the life of the believer. The life which one lives is their true statement of faith. It is not merely something we believe; it is revealed in the life we live and the things we do.
In our day the faith of many rests in the words and wisdom of men and not in the power of God.
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,
but in the power of God”
1 Corinthians 2:5
Faith in the wisdom of men is powerless and lifeless; it leaves its adherents looking to someone or something outside of themselves. It is a faith which lacks the reality of present day living. The faith that stands in the power of God knows that the secret of its fulfillment lies in our obedience to His Will.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out
into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
“It is impossible to separate works from faith- yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire”
“I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, “The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?'”
– Charles Spurgeon
“And he died for all,
in order that those who live
should no longer live for themselves”
2 Corinthians 5:15
The proof that we are living for Him and not ourselves is revealed in our daily life. The risen Christ becomes the purpose and the intent of our everyday existence. Only those who are truly alive in Him know the fire and the intensity of this pressing to spend themselves for Him.
Many may claim such a purpose but within the confines of daily living there is a discernable lack of that unrelenting determination to please Him in all that they do. Life is to no longer be lived within the tedious rote of religious endeavors; it is to be filled with the adventure of His joy welling up from within as we discover the riches of His will in the now of our today. There is much taught about the “now” life but there must be the works to support our confessions of faith. The real need of His people is not an understanding and acknowledgment of a teaching but the pressing into good works to show our faith.
“But someone will say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Show me your faith apart from your works,
and I will show you my faith by my works.”
True life is one whereby the faith and works of Christ are realized. It is the divine life flowing through the fragile earthen vessel which honors and glorifies the Father. A life devoid of works is a life devoid of love and faith. Neither of these can remain static or inactive within the heart of “those who live”.
“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
The Son ever lives to glorify and please His Father. If He is alive and ruling within, we will know this power and grace at work in us.
“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit…”