Introduction (Edited – This was published unedited, sorry)
As we have articulated many times, biblical faith (See Footnote #1) has more to do with trusting that God is in total control of the believer’s life, rather than the assumption that faith is mainly a tool for getting what is desired.
There is always a place for petition with God, which is precious and important in the relationship the believer has with His Father, yet this is not the primary function of faith.
Faith is a Relationship
Faith is the most important ingredient in any and every relationship that a human being will ever have. This is because faith is the foundation of every relationship a human being will ever have. Faith is not an option, faith is a necessity in order to maintain any relationship.
Many equate the difference between faith and trust (See Footnote #2), in that faith is a noun and trust is a verb, yet in the Greek the verb form of faith is generally translated believe. This is due to the fact that in the 16th century, just prior to the creation of the King James English Bible, the verb form of faith, “faithe” or “faitheth“; fell out of use, and was subsequently replaced by the word believe, which at the time was somewhat synonymous (See Footnote #3).
The problem arises and that the word believe came to mean a mental assent only, a cognitive function without the necessity of action. Wherein the Greek word for faith has always transcended mere mental assent (Remember James 2:19 – “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. “; mental assent does not mandate action, as seen in the demons that factually believe God and his power, yet refuse to submit based on either), which is mingled with confidence which holds the rigidity of conviction wherein actions and behaviors are created and displayed based upon an unmovable assurance (See Footnote #3).
The Attributes of Man
Of all the attributes that Adam received concerning the image-ness of God, wherein after his fallen state man has corrupted; faith is the only virtue that maintains its integrity, wherein the sinfulness of man has corrupted all other virtues by default.
Attributes as they were meant in holiness (For attributes of God – See Footnote # 4):
Love (Positive regard for others – sacrificial)
Belief (Mental assent / cognitive function)
Faith (Mental assent, combined with confidence that creates a behavior producing actions)
Hope (A confidence in God, salvation, and the return of Jesus Christ)
Fortitude (Never giving up – tenacity)
Wisdom (The application of the righteous knowledge – prudence)
Temperance (Moderation and balance in lifestyle and behavior)
Anger (Righteous indignation regarding evil)
Justice (God’s view of equity and holiness regarding that which is righteous)
All of these attributes / virtues (This list is not meant to be comprehensive, and there is a definite distinction between the attributes of God and His creation, man’s attributes) which has been incorporated within man, which reflect his creator, God.
All of which have become corrupted due to man’s fallen state, though opportunity for their virtuous function is always available.
Yet it is faith – the ability to trust another person (Human), being (Divine or other), or thing which has maintained the greatest ability regarding its function, though it too has been abused and misused ad nauseam as typified in man’s other attributes.
However, it is the purity of man’s conviction to trust to the extent that he can so easily be abused and even deceived that displays a sense of nobility wherein few human beings can function without trust in others and maintain a healthy soul.
We refer to these individuals who cannot trust (Exercise faith) as sociopathic and psychopaths; unable to maintain healthy loving relationships of caring concern for others, void of sympathy (The ability to appreciate the pain of another without having experienced the situation yourself), empathy (The ability to appreciate the pain of another having experienced the situation yourself), or simple compassion.
It is in coming to understand the complexity and necessity of biblical faith that the child of God not only must understand, but must also hold without reservation the conviction that God is in control of everything in their life (His ability), and that His interest for His child is only for their good (His integrity); no matter how devastating the situation, no matter how commanding the display which opposes these facts.
Hence the words of the apostle Paul which bear this out as found in Romans 8:28, which states:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.“
The Grammar of the Verse
The most important words of this verse are the first three words: “and we know“
“and” connects this verse with a prior verses dealing with Christ making intercession for the saints according to God’s Will, as well as our hope in Christ, the deadness of our flesh, and the futility of fallen man.
Yet, perhaps the thing that brings me the greatest joy about this verse as it is a conclusion, in regard to verse one, which states:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.“ (Romans 8:1)
The reason why we know that all things work together to them that love the Lord, is because there is no condemnation in them – they are declared innocent, as opposed to condemned.
How unfortunate that the translators could not believe that this statement did not need qualifications, in the fact that they added this last section to the verse: “who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” These words did not appear in the original text, but was added by the translators, therefore it is not inspired of God.
God did not place a condition on those that are in Jesus Christ, who place their faith in Him as the propitiation for their sins as we read before in Romans 10:8-10.
The reason why we can take such comfort in this concluding verse; holding in faith that all things will work together for good unto us, is because Christ died for us, and made us sons and daughters of the Most High God.
This is the reason that we know that God is always taking care of us, no matter what the situation looks like from the outside.
“we know” is more necessary than any other aspect of this verse, due to the fact that God mandates that we know – which is a synonym for faith.
If the Believer does not know, and therefore cannot stand in the surety that God is taking care of him, then faith is nonexistent.
Faith is based upon trusting God, that He is loving and merciful to His children.
It is in trusting the goodness of God that even when bad things happen, God who is all-powerful has allowed it because good will come out of it.
This is saving faith, that of knowing; not speculating, but knowing God is faithful.
“all things“, not some things, but everything – no exception!
“(He) work together“ (verb) partner with each other, cooperate fully.
“All things work together“ (synergeo): Present Tense: A continuous action; active voice: The subject (God) produces the action.
“for good“ Thayer: “good constitution or nature, useful, salutary Good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, excellent, distinguished upright, honourable“
One thing we need to realize is that our present cultural mindset wherein immediate gratification is so prevalent can blur our understanding of what is “good”is, based upon what is current.
A good example is the hundreds of thousands of Christians that were burned at the stake within less than 100 years of the ascension of Christ. It was not good to be burnt alive, or eaten by wild animals.
Yet when they walked through the doorway of death into the presence of our Lord, what was good was that they have a martyr’s crown, a very special reward for having displayed faith more than any other act possible – that of dying for our Lord in faith, and in most cases the most savage of deaths.
The good that this Scripture speaks about is their reward in heaven, not their pain on the earth.
We need to maintain a biblical mindset understanding that the good may not be immediate, but that it will occur.
“to them that love God“ Thayer: Greek verb: “agapao,”To love: to be sold out completely, to sacrificially put another 1st, to hold preeminent in all things.” This refers to the children of God that love their Father, and He who gave His life for them, their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is a synonym of a born-again believer.
“them who are” Is in the present tense indicating that it is a continuous action that never stops. When you become born-again, wherein you become one of “them who are,” you never stop being born-again – you never stop being one of “them who are.”
“to them who are the called“ (The definite article refers to specific individuals, Born-Again Believers as individuals – not a class of individuals) those chosen by God, that have responded in faith, who become adopted children of God according to His mercy and grace.
The definite article being used indicates specific individuals, NOT a general group as stated in Arminian theology (And NO I am not a Calvinist – I follow Jesus Christ and what is in His Word, The Holy Bible).
“the Called“ (kletos): “to be summoned to,” “divinely selected and appointed“ (Rom. 1:6; Rom. 8:30). Example: the saga of Joseph (Gen. 50:20). Again this refers to specific individuals, not groups of people.
his purpose” this gets back to the issue of faith and trusting that God has specific purposes within the life of the believer that is worthy of complete confidence.
The word “his” is in italics because it is not in the original manuscripts, but is implied by the context.
The idea is that God is perfect and His will is perfect, and there is therefore no other purpose in all of creation other than God’s purpose.
Sin in its most specific description is anything opposed to God’s Will, which would therefore be evil.
The Greek word for sin is Haratima, which means: “missing the mark.”
There is only one right way of doing anything, only one purpose in all of existence that is good, anything except for this perfect Will of God, is “missing the mark” and therefore is sin.
Faith in God necessitates the belief that God’s purpose is good for His children.
The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’
is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:
the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’
1. Biblical Faith
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).
2. Trust vs. Faith
While notorious “faith heretics” attempt to define faith as confidence, and trust as commitment; the Greek New Testament has no such interpretation. The word trust is interchangeably used with the word faith, hope, persuasion, confidence, and assurance (Mainly as a verb, though also as a noun feminine, and pronoun). Others have attempted to state that faith is a religious trust, and a loyalty aspect as found within the meaning of the word (Wherein the etymology, as well as the usage prove this to be true), whereas trust is more (secular) specific to relationships, yet again the Greek New Testament which utilizes koine Greek finds no such distinction.
3. Holman Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible publishers, Nashville Tennessee, 1991, page 469 (Please, see for yourself).
“Trusting commitment of one person to another, particularly of a person to God. Faith is the central concept of Christianity. One may be called a Christian only if one has faith.“
Our English word ‘faith’ comes from the Latin fides, as developed through the Old French words fei and feid. In Middle English (1150-1475) ‘faith’ was replaced by a word that eventually evolved into ‘belief.’
Faith came to mean ‘loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty.’
Faith was fidelity. ‘Belief’ came to be distinguished from faith as an intellectual process having to do with the acceptance of a proposition.
The verb form of ‘faith’ dropped out of English usage toward the end of the sixteenth century.“ (Holman Bible Dictionary)
4. Attributes of God
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