Biblical Faith (02/12/2016)
One of the major areas wherein this ministry spends an excess amount of time concerns the subject of Biblical faith, which has more to do with establishing a relationship of trust in God, then understood by many as simply a tool of petition (And there is always a place for petition).
This explains why it is impossible to please God without faith, as stated in Hebrews 11:6,
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Not only because we come to God based on faith that He exist, but that those that seek Him, He rewards in a relationship where He takes care of us. God desires those that exercise faith as a free will action in placing their trust in God, which grants us access to God’s grace to become His children through faith, which is the greatest reward man could ever receive.
There is no other value or personal character trait which pleases God, but faith; at least not in this special way according to God’s Word.
The place we gain Biblical faith is God’s Word, as stated in Romans 10:17,
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“
1 Peter 1:23 says
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
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; which 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, which when crossed-referenced within itself present 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 (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1) 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, and it is thus worthy of our complete trust, all pointing to Jesus the Christ as the Creator and Saviour of the world, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the center of God the Father’s kingdom, preeminent in ALL things, GOD.
Indeed it is God who inspired and orchestrated this book, not written by man, but written through men, 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).
Unfortunately, many Christians have been taught to focus on faith as a tool to acquire the things sought, rather than understanding that faith is a relationship with God, to trust whatever He has allowed or guided to be in our lives, and that God is trustworthy and in total control of all of our lives, no matter what it appears to be from the human vantage point.
Of all the qualities that our current generation LACKS, perspective (Discernment) and fidelity (Latin for “Faith,” as in: trusting God no matter what, and being trustworthy) are perhaps the greatest, hence the reason that this subject needs to be studied in great depth regaining a biblical understanding of faith, which many in this generation have seemed to have lost.
Job said in presenting his case: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (See Footnote #1).
And as the greatest example of faith said the night before He would be executed, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42 ~ KJV)
“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’ [“Faithè,” “faitheth,”] dropped out of English usage toward the end of the sixteenth century.“ (Holman Bible Dictionary)
1. Warren Wiersbe states concerning Job:
In order to do justice to Warren’s remarks concerning Job 13:15, I presented his complete discourse concerning this section of his review of the book of Job. What I desire to present is what is seen in subsection D with this same maroon font concerning the passage in question.
I. Job’s Accusers
Job’s three friends came to comfort him, but they ended up criticizing him! Each of them used the same argument in one way or another: (1) God blesses the righteous and afflicts the wicked; (2) God has afflicted Job; (3) therefore, Job must be wicked. Of course, their thinking seemed logical, but it was not spiritual. Mortal human beings are far too ignorant to understand fully the ways of God. For us to fit God into our own little “theological boxes” is to limit Him and make Him less than God. We must keep in mind that these friends did not have the full revelation that we have in the NT, showing more fully that suffering is not always caused by sin, and that, through our faith in Christ, we can turn suffering into glory. It is a dangerous thing for believers to “explain the ways of God” to other believers if they do not understand God’s Word and God’s ways.
In his first speech, Eliphaz argues that Job is a sinner (Job_4:7-11). He bases his thinking on a special vision he once experienced (Job_4:12-21), so we might say that Eliphaz argues from personal experience — the hard “facts of life.” Bildad picks up the argument in Job_8:1-7 and very bluntly states that God does not do things unjustly. In Job_8:8-10, Bildad argues from tradition, and then quotes a series of “old sayings” to support his argument. Zophar rebukes Job in Job_11:1-20 and tells him he needs to repent and get right with God! All three “friends” make the same mistakes: (1) they fail to enter into Job’s sorrows and sympathize with him; (2) they have a rigid concept of God and His works, one that is not fully true; and (3) they are too dogmatic and proud to listen to Job and honestly examine their own beliefs.
The problem of human suffering is too deep and complex for the simple answers the three friends gave. Jesus never sinned, yet He suffered more than any person! Neither Job nor his friends knew about the conference in heaven, that God was using Job as “Exhibit A” before Satan and the angels to prove that people will trust God even when they do not understand what God is doing. The friends called Job a “hypocrite” (Job_8:13; Job_15:34; Job_20:5; Job_34:30); God called him “a perfect and an upright man” (Job_1:8; Job_2:3). Job would not bargain with God just to regain his material prosperity, for his greatest asset was his personal integrity.
In Job_2:3 God makes it clear that He had no cause for afflicting Job, that Job was not a hypocrite or a sinner. This is why God rejected the speech of Elihu (Job_38:1-2) and the speeches of the three men (Job_42:7).
While the three friends argued that Job’s suffering was a punishment for sin, Elihu had a different idea (chaps. 32-37): God sends suffering to chasten us and teach us (Job_33:9-20; Job_35:10-16). Elihu shows a higher view of God, and in his speeches he beautifully points out the power and wisdom of God; read Job_37:1-24 especially. But he fails to help Job, and God Himself rebukes Elihu for his “dark counsel” (Job_38:1-2).
II. Job’s Arguments
After each man spoke, Job replied, except in the case of Elihu, where God Himself stepped in to answer. Job’s argument went something like this: (1) I believe God is just and powerful as you do; (2) But I am not a hypocrite — I know of no sin between me and God; (3) I would argue my case with God but I cannot find Him; (4) Nevertheless, I will trust Him, for He will vindicate me either in this life or in the life to come. It took a great deal of faith for Job to argue this way in the light of his circumstances. No wonder Jas_5:11 points to the endurance of Job.
The three friends argued that God always afflicts the wicked, but Job pointed out to them that the wicked seem to be prospering! In Job_18:1-21 Bildad pictures the awful doom of the wicked like a light going out (Job_18:5-6), a bird being trapped (Job_18:7-10), a criminal being chased (Job_18:11-13), a tent torn down (Job_18:14-15), and a tree dried up (Job_18:16-17). Then in Job_20:1-29, Zophar argues that the seeming prosperity of the wicked is only brief. Job rejects their arguments in Job_21:1-34 and points out the obvious health and wealth of the wicked. In Job_24:1-25 Job asks, “Why doesn’t God intervene and do something about sin?” He lists the sins of the wicked, and in Job_31:1-40, he recounts his own godly life. The three friends are silenced because they know Job’s arguments are right. Elihu’s wordy speech adds little to the solution of the problem.
III. Job’s Appeals
The most important verses in this section are those that state Job’s heart appeals to God and to his friends.
A. He appeals for sympathy
His friends did not show love and understanding; to them Job was a theological problem, not a suffering saint (see Joh_9:1-3). In Job_6:1-30 Job states he has lost his taste for life (Job_6:6-7) and wants to die (Job_6:8-13). He compares his friends to a brook that dries up just when thirsty travelers need water (Job_6:14-20). Job_7:1-21 gives us several pictures of life with its trials and its brevity: a warfare (Job_7:1, where “appointed time” means “warfare”); a slavery (Job_7:1-5); a swift weaver’s shuttle (Job_7:6); the wind (Job_7:7-8); a cloud (Job_7:9-10; and see Jas_4:13-17). In Job_9:25 he compares life to a swift messenger (“post,” see Est_8:9-14), and in Job_9:26 to a swift ship.
B. He appeals for a chance to confront God
In Job_9:1-35 Job complains that he has no way to present his case before God, because he cannot find Him. Note in Job_9:33 his appeal for a “daysman” or umpire to stand between him and God. “How should a man be just with God?” (Job_9:2) means, “How can a man ever plead his case with God?” Thank God for the Mediator, Jesus Christ, who represents us before God! See 1Ti_2:5; 1Jn_2:1-2; and Zec_3:1-10. See Job_16:19-22; Job_23:3.
C. He appeals to his basic integrity
In each of his speeches, Job denies that he is secretly a sinner. He knows his own heart and he confesses that his friends have cruelly misjudged him. At the end of the book, when God reveals Himself to Job, the man does bow in dust and ashes and confess his worthlessness (Job_40:3-5; Job_42:1-6); but this was not a confession of sins. Rather, it was a humbling of himself before God as he realized his own ignorance and worthlessness in the presence of the Almighty. God never does accuse Job of sin. He accuses him of not realizing the greatness of God and of trying to fit God into the confines of a little argument, but He does not judge him for the sins that his friends accused him of committing. See Job_31:1-40 for Job’s defense of his godly life.
D. He appeals to his faith in God
This is what created the problem: Job trusted God, yet God seemed to have abandoned Job. Had Job once denied God or cursed God, the problem would have been solved, for the friends would have known that God was punishing Job for his unbelief. But Job had faith. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!” (Job_13:15) “I know that I shall be justified [vindicated, proved true]” (Job_13:18). So great was Job’s faith that he states that God will vindicate him in the resurrection in the next life, if not in this life (Job_19:25-29; Job_14:1-14). Job knew that God would work out some purpose, but he thought God should tell him what He was doing (see Job_23:1-17). Of course, if Job had known about the conference in heaven between God and Satan, there would have been no need for faith.
E. He appeals to die
From his first complaint in Job_3:1-26 to the end of the argument, Job asks to die. Read Job_6:8-12 and Job_7:15-21. Do not be too critical of Job for wishing to die. He was suffering great physical affliction; friends and neighbors were abusing him (Job_30:1-31); and it seemed that God had abandoned him. Moses, Elijah, and Jonah fell into the same error.
The ways of God are above and beyond the mind of mortal men and women. Even Bildad admitted, “Lo, these are parts of His way,” literally, “these are but the outskirts of His ways, the hem of His garment.” God is greater than man’s theology. When we cannot understand, we can worship and trust Him.