There are 3 points of focus which this ministry maintains;
1) The preeminence of Jesus Christ,
2) The authority and sufficiency of the Word of God, and
3) The presentation of authentic Biblical faith, it is this last subject that we shall now address.
Faith is one of those virtues that seems so obvious, and therefore so simple that everyone believes they fully understand it.
However, while simple enough for a new baby in Christ to conceive, it is complicated enough to spend a life-time in examination.
My Personal Story
As a new believer (Almost 40 years ago) I spent the first year after my conversion following the faith movement referred to as the “Word Faith” (or “Word of Faith”) movement, as taught by Dad (Kenneth Erwin) Hagin, and Kenneth Copeland.
Their scriptural references concerning faith seem to be sound; however the extremes of there interpretation didn’t set well with me at first.
It was also they’re connection with TBN ministries that never seemed right with me, leaving a sour feeling in my stomach – there was something wrong with Paul and Jan Crouch, and definitely Morris Cerullo, and most of the other overly emotional pundits which chimed in on their message.
Once I started to study the Greek New Testament, and gain understanding into the language; some of their claims fell apart one by one.
I immediately started advising my Christian friends to avoid these individuals in that they were perverting the gospel message concerning faith one degree at a time.
Since then such famous fraudulent escapades as Peter Popoff’s ill-moral and deceitful activities have come forth (See Endnote #1), and now these individuals have shown their true colors claiming that Jesus was not the Son of God, but became the son of God on the cross.
And that salvation is not based upon the atoning work of Christ death on the cross and resurrection, but that salvation is based upon the technical flow wherein Satan who tortured Christ in hell, violated the covenant with God and imprisoned an innocent soul.
It doesn’t take long to find the holes in this heresy now, yet you don’t ever hear this stuff in their public presentations when they’re raising money for their dishonest gain (“I have personally heard their heresy, and much more”), it is only whenever you really start to search out their teachings, and hear what they say to closed audiences (Audiences wherein they displayed a real commitment by their attendance to these charlatans who were aware that their listeners were avid followers, and therefore would receive these false teachings), that their heresy is displayed.
Why This Distortion About Faith
Yet, the point is that faith is a big deal, it is the only virtue that pleases God, to the extent that without it you can’t please God.
This explains the Devils attack by using these types of heretics to distort the message, and therefore pollute the impact of faith and how it should affect the believer’s life.
This is the reason for our ministries name, “Faith Bible Ministries,” as we attempt to present genuine Biblical faith, based solely on God’s Word.
Biblical faith is not believing that God will give me what I desire, as much as as it is trusting that God is taking care of me – right now where I’m at, even in the valley of the shadow of death.
Faith is not a tool we are to use to get something from God.
There is a place for petition of God, where we seek His aid – this is important; but pales in comparison to faith being a reliance upon Him and His Will for our lives – HIS CHOICES ARE BETTER THAN OURS – THIS IS WHY WE CAN TRUST HIM, EVEN WHEN IT HURTS – “… THY WILL BE DONE” ~ Matthew 26:42 says it best:
“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
And when it comes to prayer, how are we to pray:
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread [this is our place of petition]. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)
Which has been the primary definition of what faith is according to these heretics (See Endnote #2 – it is long and detailed, covering a lot).
Faith Is a Relationship
Faith is the basis of every relationship you when I will ever have, and most importantly it is the foundation of our relationship with God.
One of the reasons faith is so important is because if you cannot trust what a person says, or what they do; how can you have a relationship with them.
This is God’s message to us, that He is trustworthy and faithful; especially whenever the circumstances are terrifying and seem to deny this truth.
He has not promised to deliver us out of the “Valley of the shadow of death” as stated in Psalms 23:4:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
God promises be with us as we go through it.
This is why He is trustworthy, because He never forsakes us, and takes great care of us, even when we are hurting, and when our moral eyes (This is why we are to walk by faith – “For we walk by faith, not by sight” ~ 2 Cor. 5:7) cannot see Him, and would deny that He is close.
Humility Is the Only Correct Presupposition
It goes without saying that faith is necessity for salvation, yet faith does not create salvation. Faith, according to God’s grace is how we obtain salvation in response to God’s Word and all that it says – salvation is a gift.
However, we must constantly remember that everything we have access to in life is a gift of God, from the air that we breathe, moment by moment, to the food that sustains life for our body, to the clothes we wear, to the houses we live in, to the enjoyment that revitalizes our soul; everything is a gift from God.
Ecclesiastics 3:13, states:
“And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”
And James 1:17, states:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
It is with this in mind that we approach God in an attitude of gratitude concerning all the gifts given to us in our lives.
Paul instructs us in Colossians 3:15 that due to trusting in God (Living in faith), we can allow peace to rule our hearts (In unity) and be thankful.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Therefore, gratitude based on thankfulness produces humility, and humility is the only correct mindset for the child of God, in respect to how God chooses to supervise the affairs of men, and therefore orchestrate our lives.
While faith is the activating behavior that is necessary for us to maintain a relationship with God, and is our responsibility; yet it is in humility that we understand that we do not barter with God, trading faith for salvation or anything else that God gives us.
It is in the humble understanding that even this faith that we are to exercise, is yet a blessing of God, because it is the Holy Spirit that opens our eyes that we can see according to God’s Will as opposed to the fallen nature which focuses on unbelief (The man centered preoccupation of self-delusion and self-reliance referred to as pride, which is antithetical to humility).
This is what Paul states in Ephesians 2:8-9, when he says:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
This is why humility is such an essential ingredient in our Christian walk as we exercise faith in God. Yet the basis of our faith is the knowledge that God is supreme and in control of everything in our life, not just the things that we recognize as good.
If God does not have ultimate and complete authority and power over the Earth, how can we trust Him.
This is why those that believe and attempt to define God according to his perfect will and permissive will; in their attempt to rationalize why bad things happen over our universe that a good God rules, is really quite incorrect, in that it is a humanistic attempt to justify how God could use ungodly man, and sinful behaviors.
Remember Joseph’s words to his brother regarding their treachery upon him, their sin. He said “...you meant it for evil but God meant it for good...” (Literal – Genesis 50:20)
The reason there is sin in the universe is because of love. It is due to God’s love that He does not destroy sin, which would mandate that he destroys all of humanity; even those that are identified as believers.
For even the believer after conversion still commits sin, rather it is referred to as medium, or insignificant; all sin is “missing the mark,” which is the literally meaning of the word Hamartia (G266), which is the Greek word translated into the English word: “sin” (see: Romans 3:9; 5:12, 13, 20; 6:1, 2; 7:7).
Which is why Paul says in Romans 3:10:
“There is none righteous, no, not one”
In the Greek this phrase makes it absolutely clear that there is not a single exception concerning anyone in humanity; rather in the fallen state or even believers that seem so righteous and without sin – “all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23), the word for all is without exception, including believers. “Have sinned,” is in the 2nd aorist and and active voice, which solidifies the point that there are no exceptions.
Which again is another reason to draw us to God in gratitude and humility understanding His sovereign power, and choice to allow us to exist, even though we are all sinners. As the analogy states, he is the potter we are the clay (Romans 9:21).
A Fresh Look
The old adage “familiarity (frequency) breeds contempt,” is especially dangerous for the Christian in many ways, but perhaps the greatest harm comes in addressing this issue of faith.
We hear this word so often that are ears become dull, and we think that we have mastered this most simplistic of all doctrines of the Bible, however, humility mandates we periodically examine our perspective in validating its alignment in accordance with God’s Word.
It is in re-examining faith; in reaffirming the nuts and bolts, the makeup, and complexion, the apparently elementary composition of what faith is that we need to constantly pursue, so as to ensure that we use faith wisely and correctly.
The lesson of the wise surveyor laying railroad tracks must be kept in mind. In laying down railroad tracks the prudent surveyor must constantly take readings of where he is, where he wants to go; yet he must also maintain his equipment, guaranteeing that his line of sight (perspective) is correct according to the design of the equipment in order to lay the rails correctly, perfectly parallel. Because it only takes an error of one degree to eventually inhibit his ability to go forward.
It is our responsibility as believers, to periodically scrutinize our perception, especially concerning the issue of faith and affirm that it is in accordance with God’s Word, and therefore determine that we see according to God’s perspective, and therein assure that we utilize this tool according to His design, laying our assumptions aside, and validating the lessons of our teachers according to God’s Word. What we undertake is so important that we must do it thoroughly.
Therefore, the first issue is the necessity or requirement of faith – our need of it, and the correct direction it is to take. Hebrews 11:6, states:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
This verse just doesn’t merely say that you have to use faith to believe that God is there, but that He rewards those that diligently seek Him, mandating that there must be a seeking of Him – yet diligently, and trust that He will reward that seeking – however, the belief that this reward is material is misplaced, our reward is spiritual.
How many people just assume that God is there, and they tell you the when you’re going through something bad, its okay; God will take care of it and bring a positive outcome, not allowing for devastation or tribulation.
Yet, this is an assumption, they presume upon God those conclusions they believe that are in their own best interest.
However, whereas sometimes the best outcome is the training that is obtained in trials and tribulation – the same as the correction that a child receives in order to learn responsibility, and gain the ability to connect negative behaviors with negative conclusions.
Many times it can be noticed that when these same people are in trials, their perspective is different. This is where mercy and love needs to be displayed to those in trials. This is where humility comes into view. God understands and even expects that we are going to be stressed during the trial, this is normal and human.
He even understands the questions that we entertain in our in our thoughts while going through situations that make no sense to us. Look at Job, we see a man that is righteous, and faithful to God, yet he undergoes terrible calamity.
He knows that God is righteous even though it doesn’t make sense that he’s going through this terrible testing. Yet, even in the midst of this terrible trial he trusted in God. Job 1:22, states:
“In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
How unfortunate that many of the “name it and claim it” heretics attempt to find some sin that Job did in order to rationalize why evil things occurred to him. Job contradicts their heresy that God only wants you to go through good things; therefore they must libel him in some way.
However, even when ever those around Him open the door for criticism of God, as seen in Job 2:10, what does he say:
“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
What we see here is a man who God had blessed in many ways, yet he displays an attitude of humility and gratitude which is even displayed in His acceptance of the most tragic of losses. Job trusted God; he exercised a living faith in God. This is the earmark of a man who diligently seeks God.
Faith is a mindset of diligently seeks God; and believing that God rewards those that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:16 is less clear in the English translation, but what it is not saying, is that those that diligently seek God receive a rewarded for doing so.
Seeking a reward, for the sake of the reward is the mindset of the “name it and claim it” abusers, and not the intention of this verse.
The idea here is that the individual understands that seeking God diligently, attempting to please Him in one’s behavior creates a relationship with God that is beneficial and rewarding; and this is done by exercising faith.
Yet, when many people read this passage, what they focus in on it is the idea of “reward,” with the reward being primary, and God secondary. What they see is the idea of an exchange, they exchange faith that God will give them what they ask for, for the thing they desire.
It becomes bartering, rather than trusting. Yet, this is not what faith is. Faith is believing and trusting in God to the point that if God takes everything away, it is because God has something better in mind. Look at the faith statement of Job as recorded in Job 15:13:
“Though he slay me, yet will I put my trust in Him…”
You see faith isn’t about the reward, faith is about trusting God that anything He does in our lives is meant for good on some level, even if that good is received on the other side of death’s door, even when God has taken the very last thing that any man owns, His own life.
This is what faith is, accepting God’s sovereign Will, no matter how painful it may be. Many believers have lived very agonizing lives, never receiving the things they sought on Earth; yet rewarded in heaven with eternal life, and an inheritance based upon the diligence of their faith in Him.
How much greater is their faith, not having received the results of it here on Earth, as is stated in Hebrews 11:39:
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise”
This counter’s the claim of the “name it and claim it” heretics. It is in this unseen nature of the thing desired, that faith exists. And whereas we have petition before God, and may exercise faith that God will grant our request, our faith ultimately is in God’s choice rather than give it or not.
Faith must always be contingent upon what is not seen; the needs we have on the Earth (in general); yet in particular the security of our eternal salvation. We always look at faith in the immediate, the things that we need on Earth; and while there is this aspect to faith, it is minimal at best.
Faith ultimately addresses the hope that we have in God concerning our eternal souls, and God’s ability to keep that which we have given to Him, as Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:12:
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
On this earthly plane it is in understanding that faith is contingent upon something that does not exist at the time, something unseen.
And once we receive the answer (if it is yes) for what was desired, then faith is gone concerning that situation. Faith concerning anything petitioned can only be exercised while the thing is absent, and still hoped for, as Hebrews 11:1, states:
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen“
Therefore, exercising faith concerning what is immediate; consists of longing for something that is not presently in view and that we do not have.
This necessitates need, or want. We don’t need faith to pay our bills if we are a millionaire, we don’t need faith for healing if we are healthy. Yet, to further clarify this issue, we only need look at what David said and Psalm 56:3:
“What time I am afraid I will trust in the Lord”
What we see here is urgency, not just need, but extreme need. In spite of the heresy of the “name it and claim it” abusers, we don’t need Cadillac’s, or bigger houses. This displays how easy it is to get off track when we leave the elementary understanding of what faith is.
Fear is not the opposite of faith; faith is what you do when you have fear.
Fear is the opportunity to express faith – yet what you focus on during a time of extreme fear, is fear’s opposite, which is love.
Therefore, when we are in our greatest fear we should dwell upon the love of God for us as His children, which will produce faith (This is why the biblical perspective concerning eternal security is so important to the believer).
Faith is not a tool to get what we want, it is trusting God for what He has already given us, and will give us.
Faith necessitates a need, and usually an urgent one. Also, what you will notice that in spite of what others have umbilical stated, faith is not the opposite of fear.
Fear is not a sin; in fact fear is the perfect atmosphere to indulge in faith.
However, this does not mean that we allow fear to destroy our faith, or are witness, or to become controlling. We go on in spite of the fear, we maintain faith in response to fear. As Psalms 23:4, says, we go through the valleys…
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear [anxiety that controls]no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
We don’t camp out in the valleys (pity parties), we go through them. Psalms 84:5-6, says:
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart [diligently seeks God] are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca [Hebrew that means: “weeping”] make it a well [they turn the trial into a blessing by trusting God in faith]; the rain also filleth the pools [God adds blessings to their faith].
Now that we know what faith is, how do we use it? Many years ago the acronym of the ABC‘s of faith was created, and has been used and reused to the benefit of many believers, it stands for the fact that faith is:
Action based upon Belief, sustained by Confidence.
Faith is an Action
Faith is always a behavior, something displayed, something that is done – an action; different than mere belief. Belief is a cognitive function only, meaning that belief is a mental process that does not demand action, therefore it is impossible to exercise faith without action.
In the New Testament the Greek word for faith can be found 241 times in the noun form (Greek: pístis), which we translate into the English word “faith”; and 240 times in the verb form (Greek: peítho), which we translate into the English word “believe,” and believe is a synonym for belief which again is mere mental assent, a process of the mind.
However, this word believe is also used as a synonym for the word faith though they are not exactly the same – why this apparent contradiction.
Why the Word Believe Then
In the King James Bible, this occurs mainly in the book of John. The reason why the word believe is utilized in the book of John as the verb form of faith, is that in the late fifteenth century, just prior to the production of the KJB, there was a verb form of the word faith, known as faithe, which fell out of usage in the English.
Therefore, the word believe was substituted for the verb form of faith, yet the English word “believe” changed in its meaning to depict a word which only describes a mental process and not a behavior.
With the root word for believe changing from its meaning which paralleled faith, to a completely different word, and no verb form of faith available, the understanding of faith has suffered, with the two words being used interchangeably.
Yet, it is in understanding that belief alone is not enough (“even the Devils [demons] also believe” ~ James 2:19). Biblical belief is in or on Christ, NOT merely believing that Jesus lived, died, or even did miracles.
A Noun That Functions like a Verb
It is also in understanding that the noun (we remember from school that a noun is a person place or thing, whereas a verb is always an action – which is why faith must always be a verb, or act like one) form of faith, almost exclusively displays a pattern of behavior or repetitive actions.
There are many words in the English which are nouns that also function the same as a verb, being an action, such as:
Ache, Act, Answer, attack, Back, Blame, Bomb, Bother, Break, Burn, Call, Care, Cause, Challenge, Change, Check, Charge, Comb, Copy, Damage, Dress, Full, Guess, Heat, Last, Laugh, Look, Mistake, Number, Park, Pay, Play, Practice, Promise, Reason, Rent, Reply, Rule, Saw, Season, Shop, Show, Smell, Study, Talk, Taste, Wish; but to name of view.
And of the few occurrences where the word faith is utilized as a noun and not representative of a behavior or action; it is used with the definite article the, such as a reference to the faith, concerning the system of Christian theology, or the Christian movement as a whole.
People might ask if you kept the faith, after a time of the persecution. Or they would refer to the Christian faith, in reference to a religious movement.
Whether the verb form of faith, or the noun form of faith is utilized; almost exclusively it refers to an action, a behavior, and is always indicative of movement.
Faith either moves towards the object that it places its trust in, or away from it (Greek: “apisits“ ~ in Greek, an “a” in front of a word means, means the word is the opposite of its normal use – apisits means non-faith, becoming more non-faith, becoming less and less), yet is never stagnant.
The Law of First Mention and Repetition
According to “The Law of First Mention,” the word faith was first used in symbolizing a man leaning on a staff, placing all of his weight on the staff during a time of need, due to sickness or weakness.
It was also used concerning baby chicks running to the protection of the mother hen during a time of trouble, such as during a storm.
It is also in comparing all of the diverse passages which utilize the word faith that greater understanding is achieved in understanding all the shades of nuance which represent this word, perhaps the most important word in the life of a believer.
If a concordance is utilized to look up all the different applications concerning the word faith, the above concepts are further validated and greater understanding is gained.
Faith is a Relationship
Faith is primarily indicative of a relationship, a relationship of trust. We attempt to utilize faith concerning individual desires (connotatively), yet biblical faith is more specifically seated in relationships (denotatively).
Faith can never be separated from the object of which trust is placed, due to its nature which mandates the development of a relationship.
This is why faith, or to use a word more appropriate to our current vernacular, the word trust; this is why trust is the most important element of any relationship.
For example, within a marriage, there are times that the feeling of love is missing, there are times that affection and fondness are absent, there are times when communication is nonexistent; yet these can all be re-energized or repaired.
However, when trust is violated, the relationship suffers in ways that are more long-lasting than most other violations. The most extreme example is when sexual infidelity takes place in a marriage (all things are possible in God, and relationships can recover), there are very few that survive, and usually never the same.
Normally, when sexual infidelity occurs the relationship is changed forever because it is the ultimate betrayal.
This is why God in the Old Testament commonly refers to the betrayal of Israel in their idolatry as adultery, and whoredom; because the betrayal of violating faith is this severe.
Faith is Believing
Faith is believing, and believing is a cognitive function of the mind. Faith cannot take place in the emotions. This is why Romans 10:17, states:
“faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”
Faith mandates the ability to think and process information. Faith is never blind, faith is based upon reasoning and intellect, and that reasoning, and intellect is founded in God’s Word.
Faith is achieved when God’s Word is read and understood, and makes sense and is logical and is therefore believed.
Modern science states that faith is superstitious, or based upon feelings; this displays their lack of understanding of God’s Word. Yet, unfortunately, because so many people misunderstand faith and abuse what they call faith (is not, because it is based on feelings, not God’s Word), they foster this misrepresentation of biblical faith. Faith is always to be based upon logical sequential conclusions, conclusions that what God has said is true, and that He is to be trusted.
God’s Type of Rationality
Faith is logical, not superstitious. For example, we read the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and we learn that of the 10 plagues, each plague was an assault upon a false god of the Egyptians and this builds faith because God makes sense, because He connects the violation with the punishment.
God is a logical God, yet His logic is so much above ours, that if we try to define Him according to what we call logic, we get into trouble. God’s logic is trusting in Him, in what He has said in His Word, God’s logic is based upon God’s Will.
This is not the same as human logic which is based upon our perception of rationality, when we as fallen creatures have no ability to connect with God’s logic.
Faith is Sustained by Confidence
Whereas belief is a cognitive function, confidence is the accumulated beliefs according to the repetition that the source is deemed credible and trustworthy. When someone or something habitually does the same thing, then confidence is the outcome.
Confidence must be based upon God and His Word, which includes the history of what He has done, a portrayal of who He is, and what He has to say; all based upon His Word.
Confidence is gained because we see God’s ingenious interweaving within His Word, where time after time He reveals Himself, sometimes hidden, sometimes not; yet always consistent in who He is, and how He behaves. Confidence is based upon a track record of God’s dependability as seen in His Word, and in our lives (Confidence as found in God’s Word – Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 10:35; Eph. 3:12; 1 John 5:14).
We must realize that faith without God’s Word; is faith without confidence.
And actions based upon faith without confidence is superstition,
and not biblical faith.
This is why the Bible very plainly tells us what is to be our source concerning faith, it is God’s Word; as opposed to the human assumption that experience alone is the basis of faith.
Experience is the basis of faith, but experience based upon God’s Word, and not human experience as related to the outside world.
This is why Paul says in Romans 10:17, states:
“faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”
We Cannot Separate Belief, and therefore Faith from the Bible
For it is within the Bible that we:
Observe prophecies fulfilled which create credibility,
find knowledge which is beyond comprehension,
and gain wisdom which exceeds human capabilities.
Biblical faith is found in God’s word because of the consistency of witnessing miracle after miracle exhibited in God’s word, with the end result being that truly this book could not have been authored by man, but must have been offered by He who can see the ending from the beginning – God Himself, wherein this book deserves our greatest attention as God’s revelation to man. Biblical faith is to be primarily based upon an interaction with God’s word, as is declared in Romans 10:17, which states:
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“
The Source of Biblical Faith
Biblical faith is created and grown wherein as a person reads the Bible, and the Holy Spirit opens their spiritual eyes to perceive that which is laid out, it is a logical reasonable process of coming to the conclusion that this book could not have been written by mortal man (2 Timothy 3:16), because:
1) There are prophecies given in Old Testament, that are fulfilled in the New Testament.
2) There are prophecies given within the Bible as a whole, which are fulfilled since it’s closing.
3) There are scientific and natural insights presented in the Bible, which were once considered completely false; in time, science has caught up with the Bible proving that it was correct in the first place, and that it is beyond human insight.
4) There is deep wisdom that is written between its pages, which are far beyond the capacity of a human being to create.
5) There are internal evidences found in the Bible when it is crossed-referenced within itself in such a way that it is obvious that 40 different men could not have utilized the exact same type of “Figures of Speech,” including: typology, such as seen in metaphor, similes, models; along with prophetic symbols as seen in even the use of numbers, colors, events, material and substances, dates, mathematics, names, roles, and even people’s personality and lives; all done to portray a shadow of things to come rather in heaven, or in the particular case of Jesus, the fulfillment of the Messiah; as witnessed in His First and Second coming – as well as Last Days events – all done in such a way that the only explanation is that God orchestrated the creation of this Book.
All leading to the conclusion that this book was not written by man, but by a God that is outside of our time domain, who can see the ending from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10); who is all-powerful, and in total control of His creation (Isaiah 45:5-7), and therefore worthy of our complete trust and faith in what He has said and what He will do (Isaiah 46; Jeremiah 29:11).
Faith is to be based upon what God has said in His Word, as opposed to solely our own experience, which many times can simply be superstition. It is when our experience lines up with what God has said in His Word that our experiential experience builds faith.
It is when what God has said in spite of the circumstances is what we observed in our day by day life, that we exercise and gain greater faith in God.
Many times believers take God’s Word out of context and attempt to build their faith on those misperceptions. An example can be seen in the “name it and claim it movement,” where individuals claim a physical healings that God has not promised in His Word. They will take Scriptures like, 3 John 1:2, which states:
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Those that abuse faith by using this passage to state that it is God’s Will that believers be in good health, insisting upon physical healing; display a reckless abandoned that even the English grammar defies.
First, this is a pastor writing a personal letter to a personal friend, Gaius; using personal pronouns to an individual, indicating it is his wish, his desire; literally in the Greek it is his prayer to God, that this friend who had went through many trials and tribulations might at last prosper and be in good health; even as Gaius, who had been through terrible tribulation had prospered spiritually having trusted God in spite of the circumstance.
This is not a statement from God, it is a desire presented to God whereof the passive request is seen in the use of the word “mayest,” even though the verbs are active, and a reality.
The verbs are a reflection of the author’s desire, not a declaration concerning what is desired becoming a reality. John would never display the type of arrogance to presume to make a judgment or declaration in the place of God, declaring that someone would become prosperous – John never displays this type of arrogance or presumption anywhere in his writings.
The historical record is set concerning this individual and the conditions surrounding this letter to him. This actually makes the reverse case concerning the assumption of healing wherein this passage is distorted.
For those that would take passages like this out of context, isolating them from prior passages, as well as later passages concerning their exact meaning in context, one has to only turn to 1 John 5:14, for a simple rebuttal to this heresy.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
This passage plainly states that we have confidence that God will hear us concerning our petitions if it is according to His Will – this is the end of the subject – period – you cannot state that using passages such as 3 John 1:2, that it is God’s will that we all be healed in prosper and be in good health. God will not be manipulated according to his word to do man’s will, that’s not what biblical faith is all about.
Faith is not about getting what we asked for;
faith is about trusting that God is in control of what we get.
As we read through the Scripture we see a repetition, that even though there are 40 different authors (scribes), from all different types of occupations, backgrounds, and locations; writing over hundreds of years (over 1600); there is a consistency that is remarkable, and beyond the capability of human design.
A consistency concerning who God is and the way God deals with men; He can be trusted.
Confidence is the normal fruit that is born when what is experienced is deemed to be truth, and the truth of God’s Word is what the believer is to unearth as he reads page after page of the Bible. There are over 333 different titles given to the Messiah which present a description that is beyond human ability to fulfill.
These prophecies, written hundreds if not thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, box God into a corner concern what he has said about who Jesus would be as seen in prophecy. The statistical probability of Jesus fulfilling just 8 of those prophecies is 1:1028. This number is so large that it is hard to comprehend.
The old the example of how large this number is can be found if you take enough silver dollars to fill up the state of Texas, 2 feet high; then take 1 silver dollar and paint one side of it and place it anywhere you desired within the state, which was 2 feet high and silver dollars.
This is the code once and then she would have to have to fulfill only 8 of over 300 prophecies specifically made concerning the Messiah, hundreds of years before Jesus birth.
We are not to merely read God’s Word, we are to study it; to examine it; and therein will we gain faith according to God’s word. Confidence is built according to a track record, and they track record that the believer has 2 built confidence in God, is God’s Word, the Bible.
Faith is never to be blind, or superstitious; but be based upon logical and rational tanking process in handling Gods Word.
Follow God, Not Human Reason
God expects man to approach him using his intelligence, not in spite of it. It is in processing him permission that we come to faith, it is by thinking upon God’s word and approaching it rationally that faith grows. God is not haphazard or illogical, yet there are times that He expects man to follow Him in spike of man’s own relevant logic.
The point is, God has given us a rational mind, to follow a rational God, yet this same God at times works outside or beyond human rationality. But if we follow long enough, we see that a track record of trust is built because of the consistency and trustworthiness of God and where He leads, and what he has said in His Word.
Confidence is the Logical Conclusion of Reading God’s Word. God utilizes logic, even though God expects man to defy his own preconceived reason and follow God’s logic as opposed to his own. Christianity is not ill-logical, or nonsensical.
Yet, Walk by Faith
God has declared that we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), yet this was stated to believers, those that had already placed their faith in God. This was not concerning their initial salvation which said are ready received, this was concerning their lifestyle after conversion.
It was their sight, or to be more accurate, their sense of hearing (Romans 10:17) needed to be utilized so that faith could be gained, initiating a relationship of trust.
Therefore, having become believers because of faith in God, Paul is telling them (and us), that they should proceed in faith according to God’s Word, and no longer according to their own perception (based upon their senses) in how they live their lives.
Walking was synonymous with one’s lifestyle, and it is in our daily lives that we are to walk according to faith, and not of the logic of the world, or even based upon our own intellect.
Logically speaking, having had the Holy Spirit open our eyes, have you noticed how ridiculous the world appears as they exercise their own form of logic, with their evil hearts of disbelief, guiding them deeper into self-centeredness and debauchery.
The world says “seeing, I will believe,” where the Bible says, “believe, that you shall see” (John 3:3;11:40), yet this faith is always built upon the presupposition of God’s Word, which is according to God’s track record (recorded in His Word), and not a blind reckless emotional presumption.
It is impossible to separate action from faith, it is impossible to separate confidence from faith, because faith is based upon these prerequisites.
From the observation of the world, we see a man’s action, which betrays a belief system that determines His worldview, and therefore we define the essence of that man’s heart.
This is what faith is, it is when a person believes something so much that it changes the course of their life (this is the definition of the word “repentance,” that of changing a person’s mind, wherein their actions are changed, where the direction of their life goes in the opposite direction of humanity. Repentance is turning from our way to God’s way, which is a synonym for faith), this is what faith is.
Faith is a way of walking in life, not simply a religious experience. This is what’s behind Peter’s statement, as recorded in 1 Peter 3:15:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”
This is true witnessing (Greek: “martus or martur ” translated into the English word: “martyr.” Which to us should be “dying to self, and living for Christ”), it’s not going door to door, it’s not handing out tracts, it’s not preaching on street corners (These are easy and need little commitment); it’s living your life in such a way that others approach you and want to know the reason you have hope (Now this is hard!). And to answer their questions in meekness (“Power under Control”) and fear (“Holy Reverence”) for God, displaying the humility that you have, based upon your trust in Him, and the appreciation for what He has done for you.
Faith is a way of living.
1. A few years ago the news show: “60 Minutes,” as well as some professionals in the field, investigated some of the common practices of supposed “Faith Healers” and exposed some of their deceptions.
The most famous of these, Peter Popoff who while stating that God was telling him information about a participant in the audience, was being given instructions through an earpiece from his wife who is stationed at a computer reading from a card that the attendee had filled out prior to the service.
There was no mistaking the open deception that this charlatan was committing upon believers. Among many of the cons that were perpetrated by this and many other supposed “Faith Healers” were the following.
Up until an hour before the event, ministry members would be stationed in front of the events center greeting individuals who would come early, filling out supposed prayer request which were actually tools to document information that would later be used as if the healing evangelist would hear this personal information from God himself.
The evangelist was aware that individuals that came early were susceptible to their cons, and they would utilize this vulnerability to their own ends. Ministry members would offer wheelchairs to those that had problems walking, then wheel them up to the very front of the auditorium in front of the seated congregation. The evangelist would go forward, have a word from the Lord, then approach one of these individuals and state, “rise and be healed,” at which point they would grab the individual in the wheelchair by the hand and coax them to stand up.
What appeared to be a miracle to the audience was simply an elaborate sham, and due to the susceptibility of the individuals, they would never speak up and openly challenge the presentation. If anything else it would later be marked up to a misunderstanding. These types of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” feed off the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of innocent believers and perpetrate their fraud within the Christian community.
2. Faith & False Teachers – False teachers wrongly direct the faith of their followers towards the wrong things. Attention is drawn to the getting from God, rather than the trusting of God; upon gaining gifts, as compared to concentrating on the Giver; and therefore centering upon the creature, rather than the Creator.
This is where the “Word Faith (“name it and claim it”) purveyors misguide believers by simply manipulating the focus of attention upon people in need, while sounding scripturally relevant and displaying themselves as deliverers in the process.
These prestidigitators distort Scripture in a manner that appears logical according to the English translation of the Bible, when they utilize the different ways that an English word can be understood; as compared to considering what the original languages state within their proper context.
They take words or sentences and isolate them out of their original context and meaning, and place them in terms that make sense according to the rationality that they set forth.
They’re trickery and chicanery is on par with that of their master, the father of lies (John 8:44), the one behind the doctrine of demons (1 Timothy 4:1), the one who has been a liar from the very beginning, so they follow in his footsteps, presenting themselves as priests (priests by definitions are arbitrators / representatives between man and God, which is why the priesthood was dissolved after Christ died on the cross and became our only priest between us and God by presenting himself as a substitute for our sins [Hebrews 2:17; 10:12-14], when the veil of the Holy of Holies was rent in two [Matthew 27:51], whereby man could now come into God’s presence because of Jesus [Hebrews 10:19-20]) and prophets of the King of Righteousness, and even as Angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Therefore, it is wise to utilize Jesus’ teaching concerning these false teachers, paying special attention to the symbolisms He uses in understanding how to identify them.
Jesus’ Allusion Concerning Sheep & Wolves – Jesus, in speaking about these false prophets used the allusion (an indirect reference to something or somebody by using symbolism) of them coming to the people as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” in order to take advantage of them.
We understand that Jesus used the allusion of sheep in describing people, which we should look at first in gaining greater understanding of what Jesus was communicating.
First, we should examine Jesus’ allusion regarding sheep in describing God’s people (Israel) and Believers (the church); as compared to goats symbolizing nonbelievers.
We in America have a hard time understanding Jesus’ analogy concerning sheep as an object lesson, because many times we raise sheep for their meat as compared to the shepherds of Judea which raise sheep mainly for their wool.We have a tendency to use dogs that drive sheep from behind, biting at their limbs, using force and intimidation; yet this is unlike the shepherds in Israel, who walk in front of their sheep, leading them, setting the example before them to follow concerning where to go, constantly speaking to them.With the sheep following the shepherd because of his care and concern for them, which facilitates their faith and trust in him.It was common for the Shepherd to sing as they led their sheep so that the sheep became accustomed to their voice, it was also common for the shepherds to sing the Psalms of Israel.
What is interesting about the Lord speaking of false teachers as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15) is one of the obvious characteristics of wolves is that they declare their pecking order, their power; by how they hold up their tail. The leader will hold his tail almost straight up, with his lieutenants, sergeants, and corporals progressively holding their tails lower.
The tail standing straight up displays complete dominance, power, authority and supremacy. The wolves’ leadership is according to this type of violent dominance, where intimidation and power establish their authority.
With the height of holding their tails as a means of identification of their authority, this is somewhat analogous to the stripes or bars on a soldier’s sleeve or collar which indemnify his rank or authority. Dogs determine who they will fight in order to establish their dominance according to where the tail is held, this is how they survive in their “dog eat dog world.”
Also, the display of submission is seen when they lower their tail and even wrap it under your belly, with the final act of submission being when a dog lies on its back, exposing its jugular and belly to a more dominant dog.
The reason this is the ultimate sign of submission is that if a dog is bitten, creating a tear in its belly, when it stands up its intestines fall out, as compared to being bitten on his back which might eventually heal, with other dogs licking it and cleaning it, unlike the wound of the belly.
Jesus’ Guidelines for Leaders
A week before Jesus was crucified, Matthew 20:25, records:
“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister [servant]; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant”
The point that Jesus was making was that church leadership would not be as it is in the world, centered upon displays of dominance, power, authority and supremacy, but according to sacrificially serving the followers, which is completely antithetical to how the world leads, which is also analogous with how wolves lead their pack.
Therefore, if you ever look across a valley to a Hill where sheep are grazing, and you see a sheep with his tail sticking straight up, displaying his dominance, power, authority and supremacy; watch closely because you are witnessing a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
The point is false teachers and prophets will lead by dominance, power, authority and supremacy. False teachers and prophets may use Biblical words, may exhibit false humility, may speak with lofty expressions concerning love and self-sacrifice; yet it is their dominance and power which will be seen in their pride and arrogance that will indemnify them every time.
Please do not misunderstand, each one of us deals with pride on a daily basis, many godly ministers and teachers have issues concerning control or pride. An awful lot of us who aspire to the title of leader, minister, or pastor; constantly address the pride of life (1 John 2:16), yet, this is not to be confused with the type of manipulation that occurs with false prophets and teachers that must be in total control in order to maintain their income levels and their future profits at the expense of their followers.
The acid test is the pride that is exhibited when they are questioned, or threatened concerning an inability to use God’s Word to validate their assertion, how do they stand up according to God’s Word.
Or do they twist God’s Word taking scriptures out of context in order to make their OWN point, demanding that they are anointed of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, if anyone that would dare question them. Do they seek to shackle their follower’s hands, or to wash their feet?
False Teachers & Manipulation – These false teachers are preoccupied with faith as a tool of manipulation, revealing a singular perspective which is self-centered as opposed to Christ-centered.
And instead of teaching believers to trust God for life’s necessities, and to trust God even when these necessities don’t seem to be met; these false teachers misleadingly teach that God’s acceptance of a person is seen in distinct proportion to their external condition.
That prosperity and blessings are a sign of God’s glory, as it is a sign of Gods acceptance and pleasure in them. They immaturely take advantage of people’s needs and wants in order to espouse a God that is enticing to the flesh rather than the spirit.
Their ideology is seen as consistent with the mindset of a 2-year-old concerning their confusion in regards to what is good being synonymous with what is easy and comfortable. They errantly teach others to conclude that trials and tribulations are a sign of God’s disapproval, rather than according to the Scripture that teaches that in the life of the believer, trials (synonymous with temptations & tribulations) are a tool necessary for spiritual growth.
It is this toddler type of spiritual discretion which motivates their every deed in order to hide the truth which is so obvious in God’s Word, which is that hard times and difficult situations are not a sign of God’s rejection, but are tools to aid in spiritual growth.
This is such a fundamental truth that God has built this into nature, where mature parenting is not giving a child everything they desire, and allowing them to undergo trials in order to build maturity in handling trials. This is axiomatic in God’s Word as well, from Job to Jesus.
Do these false teachers realize that this ideology subtly brings the accusation that Jesus, who lived a life of poverty and pain, according to their own perspective, would be guilty of sin Himself?
They teach that bad things happen to believers because of sin or disbelief (which validates the presupposition that bad things happen to bad people) therefore, what sin was Jesus guilty of to live a life of poverty and need, wherein according to them, poverty and disease are curses?
“What did Jesus do wrong?;” must be the underlying question concerning Jesus; according to their own premise and teaching. Their retort to this type of underlying premise is that God rejected Jesus because He bore the sins of the world, yet Jesus did not bear the sins of the world until He was hung upon the cross (which according to 2 Corinthians 5:21, is when Christ was made “to be sin for us”), so what does this say about Jesus’ life prior to the cross. Or as they say, “Jesus became poor so that we could become rich.”
It is this type of human logic, that focuses upon the wants of the flesh, rather than needs of the spirit. Jesus was born into poverty in fulfilling God’s typology of the “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 53:1-12), displaying God’s power not according to human will or wisdom; but in spite of it. Jesus was not born as a worldly King.
If the believer thoroughly examines the doctrine of these heretical supposed “Faith Preachers” (their egomaniacal perversion of this title displays the pride which so aptly resembles the Wolf which Jesus alludes to), it becomes apparent that they’ve robbed Jesus of His preeminence at the cost of their own elevation. It is the righteousness of Jesus that they impugn with their heresies.
It is these types of idolaters that demand that God prove Himself in the things that are seen, as opposed to trusting God for what is unseen. They will be judged with the religious hypocrites that stood at the foot of Jesus, which Mark 15:31-32 states concerning:
“Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
It is these same types of individuals that fail to understand the implication of Jesus’ rhetorically statement: “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
Yet, we know that Jesus was not posing an accusation or question to God, but that this statement was meant for those that stood at His feet to point them to Psalms 22, which was a prophecy about the Messiah that He was fulfilling at that moment, and was meant to cause them to question why God would allow a righteous man to be executed as seen in the Centurion’s words (an infidel and pagan according to the High Priest and Pharisees; incapable of spiritual insight, damned for hell) who stated: “certainly this was a righteous man,”
This should have raised the question for those within earshot, “for what cause would a just God judge as guilty an innocent and righteous man?”
For any Orthodox Jew, this should’ve brought to mind the messianic Scriptures concerning the suffering servant (Isaiah 52 & 53), who while innocent (of any sin of His own) and righteous (as only God could be Righteous) would be judged guilty – for the sins of others placed upon Him.
“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’
is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:
the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”