Belief and Faith

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

I Know Your Works

I Know Your Works

“I know thy works…”
Rev. 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, 3:15

This is God’s declaration to His Church. This word is spoken to every church in the Book of Revelation and is based upon what God sees. Somehow, with the passage of time, the marriage of faith and works became separated. Through erroneous teaching, they became disassociated in many Christian circles. Faith became a noun; what men believed became their “faith”. Faith became a statement rather than a life. We have come to a very low point when faith now represents our doctrinal persuasion instead of the expression of the living Christ. In Jesus’ world faith was something He saw and heard. The Gospels are full of His response to their faith.

“And, behold, they brought to him
a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed:
and Jesus seeing their faith…”
Matthew 9:2

James tells us it is impossible to have and hold true faith without the corresponding expressions of works. John tells us that Jesus’ works bore witness to who He was. Everything living in God’s creation shows forth works that correspond to the nature within. Jesus spoke to the Jews in His day, “If you were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39).

“Jesus answered them,
I told you, and ye believed not:
the works that I do in my Father’s name,
they bear witness of me”
John 10:25

Within the household of faith, many profess great and wondrous things concerning our beliefs but the works and expressions of our lives reveal something far less. The purpose of God in sending His Spirit of Truth into the hearts of men and women is to make our profession harmonious with our walk. To be people of the truth means that the things we say we do. The ministration of truth into our hearts is to make us true to the end that our words and our works bear witness of Him. James enjoins us…

So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

The enormity of the call of God to us! We are to become true, we are to be liberated from the religious lie of speaking one thing while living another. We are (by means of the living truth and through the power of the blood) to become the verity of the Life of Jesus. Jesus spoke to us concerning the works of faith…

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me,
the works that I do shall he do also;
and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go unto my Father”
John 14:12

Jesus declared that those who believed on Him would do His Works and greater. How is it the church can be so full of believers yet we see very little in terms of authentic, powerful, “greater works” which are to be the testimony of the life and faith of Jesus within our hearts?

It is here in this great contradiction of life where we are afforded the wonderful opportunity to consider our ways, to allow the truth of where we are to permeate our hearts and to pierce our very souls. The response of repentance and brokenness to Him is in itself the very beginnings of a new work of faith within our hearts. Only His Life and Nature can produce the works of the Son. “He that has the Son has Life”. Works are the revelation of the nature of any living thing. What it is determines what it does; a simple statement yet filled with eternal ramifications (1 John3:7-10) . People who are bitter are filled with bitter expressions. The works of men who are self-seeking will result in the eventual revelation of their motives. Those who profess great things without the corresponding works reveal the horror and deception of a vain religion.

“But wilt thou know, O vain man,
that faith without works is dead”
James 2:20

It is a day for us to consider our ways. It is time for us to contemplate the words of our lives in contrast to the works of our lives. Truth by its very nature must reveal that which is untrue. It is in the ministration of this that men turn and recognize the essential need of a Saviour. Men and women love the promises of God, we love to hear about our position in heavenly places and that we have been translated from death to life in Christ. We are satisfied with the hearing of these things all the while ignoring the validity of these things in our lives. This is the womb of deception. There is no greater deception than that of a religious self-induced one. People who are at ease with the hearing but devoid of the doing deceive themselves.

“But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only,
deceiving your own selves…”
James 1:22

The verity of His Life in us is revealed in genuine and demonstrative love for His People. The innate cry for relationship with each one is the mere echo of His heart. The lack of concern over His Body in the earth is the piercing revelation of how far we have strayed from the Truth. The sole purpose of truth is to bring us to the Love of God beating within our hearts. We have no room to glory in revelations and the understanding of God’s Word if our works betray us.

“But as touching brotherly love
ye need not that I write unto you:
for ye yourselves are taught of God
to love one another
1 Thessalonians 4:9

Who are those who are taught of God? Those who love their brothers and sisters! It takes very little scrutiny of our lives to conclude how little we know Him. Love is the revelation of the measure of truth which we hold in our hearts.

Faith without Works is Dead
Religion without Love is Vain

“Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the Lord.
Let us lift up our heart with our hands
unto God in the heavens.
We have transgressed and have rebelled…”
Lamentations 3:40-42

God’s greatest gift to His people is the gift and wonder of repentance. The divine enablement to turn from our ways to walk and live in His. His mercy never ceases and His grace is new to us as we respond from our hearts in truth. Repentance brings us to new and wondrous places in God, it frees us from the weights of wrong thinking, wrong speaking and wrong doing. It is because of His mercies we can rise up and become in thought, word and deed expressions of a love “that surpasses knowledge”. A Love which is beyond all human ability and a love which is nothing less than the very life of Jesus living and reigning within our very hearts. Even so Lord come and find your resting place in us. Amen.

Brian Troxel