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

Pure Religion

Pure Religion

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world”
James 1:27

The verity of our faith in God reveals itself in the doings of His love and His Life through us. The  Greek word translated to visit means “to look upon in order to help or to benefit”. The truth of Christ within flows out into the world around us effortlessly. Love strains not, it does not work up works, its life is easily demonstrated for within itself is the nature to give of itself. Christ is the fountain from which His works flow.

The Father revealed His Love in giving His Son, the Son revealed the love by the giving of Himself and so will the fountain of Him within us give by the same law of love. Faith without works, love without giving, and light without fellowship are the impossibilities of those who hold in truth the Life of the Son within.

Pure Religion is known by the expression of Christ in us and through us.

Life Shines
Love Gives

__________

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

BT

 

 

Freedom and Law

Freedom and Law

freedom and law

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom
John Locke

Lawlessness is the atmosphere of Satan himself. Chaos, destruction and mayhem is the short-lived expression of men without reason, hearts without feeling and actions without purpose. It is the justice of God to decree that every form of evil has within its own expression the deeds of its own destruction.

The followers of Mao were imprisoned and murdered by the very mobs they once were a part of. The Brown Shirts of Hitler brought their own destruction upon them by the very evil they perpetuated. There are many other examples of this one truth; one simply needs to read the annals of all civilizations to comprehend the days in which we live. History declares the sure end of all who walk in the ways of darkness. The sad testimony of history is that it ever rises to repeat its own sorrows.

Yet in the midst of all the darkness the power of the incomprehensible love of God is ever within reach to all who would come.

“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

BT

 

Faith to Overcome

Faith to Overcome

Overcoming Faith

“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”
Romans 4:19-21

Different translations of this verse read both “he considered not” and “he considered” his own body in his estimation of God’s promise. According to the original, both are accurate. In Abraham’s estimation of his situation, he “considered not” his own vitality. He did not take into account his age or Sarah’s condition in light of the immensity of God’s promise. He did not ignore his situation, nor did he “pretend” to not see his helpless state. The original language indicates that he “considered” full well the impotency of both he and Sarah and YET continued to believe, to move, and to obey the God in whom he had placed his trust.

Faith is not blind; it is not a religious exercise in futility. Faith is the ability to fully consider our situation and, in the face of overwhelming odds, believe God! Faith launches men and women into the impossible, the unfathomable and the insurmountable because it does not take into account our own resources. We find a trust to cross rivers, to face lions, to travel on in desert places knowing that He who has called us is faithful.

Do not see the obstacles, the limitations, the flaws in your own being as impediments to God’s glorious power. Do not allow the history of the past to prevent the opportunities of the present from becoming your future victories.

“Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth…”
1 John 5:5

True believing produces an overcoming. It is not static; it is not in word only. The overcoming is as actual as the faith which produces it. Overcoming found in the lives of those who no longer consider themselves, but who by faith rise up and trust the One who cannot lie. Obedience is the highest expression of faith. To step into the waters of the raging sea one must believe that He is able. To refuse to pay tribute to the kings of this world while facing the fiery furnace one must have faith. The call of God is not to the wise, the strong or the noble; it is to those who in their weakness find Him strong.

The present situation in which we find ourselves is an opportunity to give Him glory. In Darkness falling, in evil arising, in health issues, in all of the peculiar challenges of our own life: “Let God Arise!

The smallest candle cannot be extinguished
by the darkness which surrounds it.

__________________

“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

See Trust In the Lord

Brian Troxel

Light of the World

Light of the World

“And the light shineth in darkness”
John 1:5

This Light was nothing less than the indomitable Life of Jesus illuminating the dark world in which He walked; a Light of such magnitude that the whole earth was lit with His glory. It was a Life clothed in humility in stark contrast to Roman arrogance and power. It was a Life of purity in the face of the darkness and corruption of the religion of the Jews. It was the breath of heaven bringing hope and power to those who were bound. He was in fact the fulness of the Godhead and the pure manifestation of the Father.

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness
of the Godhead bodily”
Colossians 2:9

He would declare without compromise “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father”. The enormity of this truth ought to stagger the human race. The disclosure in this declaration is so grand, so high and so vast that without the power of a living faith no man could grasp its significance. The One who uttered this incomprehensible truth came to inject the very Life of God into the human race in order to raise up those who would walk, speak and, with the same purity of heart, minister that Love to all. In other words, to fully manifest the Glory of the Father in the Face of Jesus Christ. He came with one purpose: to be that living seed which would fall into the ground and die in order to be sown into the hearts of men, and that that same resurrection Life would raise up those who would bear His likeness in this darkened world of men.

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

To the natural mind His purposes in Christ are a fable and considered too high to be attainable. Without the power of a living faith, “reasonable” expectations, ministered by faithless teachers, produce nothing but vain religion. The Living Faith of Christ empowers His Own to “unattainable” heights of His Life. They are not staggered by their own limited resources of self. They refuse to comply with faithless expectations and unholy living; they recognize compromise and apathy as enemies.

“They profess that they know God;
but in works they deny him…”
Titus 1:16

Those who have His Life (present tense) shine His Light into this present world. They cannot profess one thing while in fact living another. His Life is the Light of Men. It is in the shining forth of His Light into the world whereby we reveal the truth of who we are. The measure of the Light that shines from each of us is the revelation of the depth of our living and walking in Him. May we again be struck anew with the force of the call of God to each of us:

“…as He is, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

This Holy truth cannot be taught. It can only be manifested through the power of relationship. To be “as He is” requires a moment by moment dwelling in Him just as the branch simply bears fruit by being One with the Vine from whom the power and life-force flows.

Relationship with Christ is the solitary hope of man. It is one thing to talk about abiding in Him but the undeniable evidence is a growing dependency upon Him.

“He that saith he abideth in him
ought himself also so to walk,
even as he walked”
1 John 2:6

Talking the talk without walking the walk is folly and deception. Faith without the evidence is the lie of religion. It is the result of feeding from the Tree of Knowledge rather than the Tree of Life. “As He is” is the call to each of us and knowing this leaves us no choice but to grow into an ever-deepening relationship with Him who is The Life.

“He that loveth his brother
abideth in the light…”
1 John 2:10

This pulse of Christ Jesus within makes it impossible not to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. To love is to care. The true Love of God is a fire and the spring from which flows admonition and exhortation. We cannot remain silent in the face of compromise; we care too much to see them settle for anything less than God’s purpose. One cannot read the epistles and not feel the burning which stirred within. Their lives were engulfed in the fire of God. If there was ever a time to admonish and exhort one another unto the Life and the Works of God, it is today! Love will never be silent in the face of apathy!

“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”
Hebrews 10:25

What is to be the temper and the purpose of gathering together? To exhort one another and so much more as we see the Day approaching. What are we to exhort one another unto?

“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works”
Hebrews 10:24

There is a deceptive gospel which separates Faith from Works. It is the lie and horror of religion to make people feel comfortable in a state in which their faith lays no claim upon their life. It comforts the soul without emancipating it.

Jesus declared:

“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

“And the light shineth in darkness”
John 1:5

Are you?

Σ

“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”
Hebrews 10:24-26

* Consider the context of this verse… “for if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth”. What truth? The exhorting and provoking one another unto love and good works. May we take heed to the Word of God as we see the Day approaching!

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Francis of Assisi

Quote for Today

“All the darkness in the world
cannot extinguish the light of a single candle”
Francis of Assisi

“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

Thought for Today – Living for Him

Thought for Today

Living for Him

“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.”
James 2:18

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”
Matthew 5:16

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…”
John 15:8

Brian Troxel