“Lord, I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low by You. Let me have all things, let me have nothing, I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. Amen.”
– John Wesley
“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience”
1 Timothy 3:9
Paul is writing to “his own son in the faith” in the Spirit of God’s love and wisdom. He is instructing Timothy about THE faith. Many in our land speak of “a” faith which is nebulous, indistinct and relatively impotent. “The” faith is powerful and filled with the living vitality of God to bring men and women into a definite expressions. THE faith defines those who hold it and clarifies and individualizes their expression. An indistinct expression of Christ within a life will always be the result of “a” faith which produces nothing powerful or particular to the individual. The typical faith of our day renders an impotent expression; living and serving God from the resources of self rather than from the matchless resources which are ours through THE Faith of Christ.
Contentment with a nominal expression of the living Christ is the bane of religion. It is the product of a faith held within the intellect but never touching the heart strings of the individual. It has no fire, no purpose and no sense of the heartbeat of the living God. It is a faith in word only, void of the works of faith through which men and women are accosted by the certainty and substance of God. It ventures nothing, costs nothing and in God’s eyes is worth nothing. It is THE faith that pressed Peter out of the boat; it is THE faith that produced expressions of power within the lives of holy men and women of God in Hebrews 11. Without THE faith it is impossible to please God; with it, impossible to remain inactive and unaffected by its wonder. Within the scope of THE faith it is impossible to live an uneventful and ineffectual life. The Faith OF Christ must produce the workings of Christ within the hearts of His own. Contentment apart from godliness is the malady of Christian religion. The purpose of THE faith is to reveal the life and heart of its author.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”
Paul pleaded with the people of God at Corinth to examine whether they were IN THE FAITH!
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be IN THE faith; prove your own selves…”
2 Corinthians 13:5
“You hear the word, and believe it in theory, while you deny it in practice. I say to you, that “you deceive yourselves”
– Charles Finney
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Authenticity in a believer is substantiated by the life it produces. Paul is remembering the evident character of the believers in Thessalonica. He is gripped by the substance of their walk and life in Christ! The Apostle is bound by the Spirit of God in him to the authentic expression of Christ in them. Life ever calls out to life, deep calls out to deep as we are inextricably joined to the verity of His life in another. This is the power of the true Body of Christ. The call to relationship, fellowship and active love is the binding agent of all who live and walk in Him. If the Spirit of Christ is ruling within, our heart will be drawn to true relationship with others in Christ. When carnality rules, people are content with exclusive*, powerless and shallow relationships in their lives. In contrast, the threefold cords of love to be found in the true Body of Christ are set forth here with clarity and precision.
Work of Faith
Faith, in order to be living, active and pertinent in the lives of His own, will always be expressive of the person, the glory and the substance of the Living Christ. If there are no works of faith it is because the faith of the individual is dead; it is a faith in word only. It is a faith in a doctrine or a teaching which has no life or power. It is stagnant and sterile. One cannot be vitally connected to the Living Christ and live a non-effectual life in this dark world. The Greek Word used here for “work” is where we get the English word “energy”. There is vitality and power associated with a true and living faith within the lives of His own. The Work of Faith is simply the doing which springs forth or originates from the power of His Faith in our lives (Galatians 2:20).
Labour of Love
The Greek Word used here for “labour” is literally translated “the beating of the breast”. It is a burden which can only be known by the love of God beating within our hearts over the condition of others. It is the very Love of God producing prayers, intercessions and words of encouragement and admonition. It is a labour to see the Kingdom of God arise in the earth and especially in the household of faith. Those who do not have the love of God beating within their hearts will not know this travail of Spirit over the condition of God’s people in this Day.
Patience of Hope
The word “patience” is much better translated “endurance”. Endurance speaks of faithfulness, consistency and self-sacrifice. It communicates a life which is committed to the goal or purpose of God regardless of the obstacles and the apathy of others; it holds true to the mark set before it. The beauty of this grace is born out of a complete abandonment to the promises of God. It is a life which does not falter for it holds the character of God as its surety of recompense. It disciplines the heart to the works of faith and the labour of Love. It is the anchor from which the other graces of faith and love remain constant. The word declares that hope is the “anchor of the soul” to which the wandering tendencies of the human heart is held firm to the end.
This threefold cord is the true revelation of the living Christ ruling and reigning within the lives of His own.
“…a threefold cord is not easily broken”
*Note: Exclusive relationships are closed, secular and carnal. They are the product of the blindness of the religious endeavors of men who seek the preeminence for themselves and the need for association with others to bolster the assurance of their walk with God. People who only find fellowship within the man-made boundaries of teachings, organizations, ministries and associations have become insensitive to the love of God in Christ.