Faith: Holding onto the Faithfulness of God
God came to Abraham (Gen 12). God made a covenant, requiring nothing of Abraham (unconditional). In that covenant, God graciously made promises. God’s promises expressed what God would do to bless Abraham (Gen 15).
The natural man could never accept what God promised to this man, but God made Abraham to be spiritual (1 Cor 2:10–16). God did this by giving Abraham His Spirit. Therefore, Abraham did not stagger at the promise of God; rather, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom 4:3).
God is faithful and true (Rom 3:4; Rev 19:11). He keeps His covenant promises to His chosen people. The Bible records the promises of God and the fulfillment of many of them. Therefore, the more knowledge one has of the Bible, the stronger is one’s faith.
We trust in the Word of God and accept it as the Word of truth (1 Thess 2:3). When a Christian receives faith as a gift of God (Phil 1:29), he is set apart from those who have no faith (2 Thess 3:2). He receives faith by hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of Christ, the Bible — brought to him by the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:26; 16:13; Rom 10:14–17).
Receiving the gift of God causes one to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18), who is the express image, the icon of God (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15). Keeping our eyes on Jesus is the key to faith apprehending grace upon grace (Heb 12:2). Jesus is the author of the Christian’s faith, not the Christian herself. She was appointed to life in God’s Son (Acts 13:48), and she apprehends the Christ life by learning the promises of God and knowing they are true and for her. The Spirit testifies with her spirit that she is a child of God (Rom 8:16).
The Christian knows God is true (Rom 3:4) because the Spirit of truth indwells him (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 4:6; 2 Tim 1:14). It is the Spirit who works faith in the Christian, who holds onto the faithfulness of God, by being held herself in the arms of Jesus. When Jesus promises to never leave, nor forsake His beloved (Heb 13:5), she trusts Him. It is the Spirit who bears witness with our spirit that God’s promises are sure (1 Jn 5:6).
It is the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God who backs His Word with His divine character. The Christian learns the attributes of God from the Spirit and the Word. Like Abraham, she looks at who is making the promise and what He is promising. She is fully persuaded that God is willing and able to do everything He has said He will do (2 Tim 1:12).
God is working all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11). His will is revealed in His Word. It is God’s will and work to bring glory to Himself (Jn 17:5). The Spirit makes the Christian faithful to God, a fruit produced to glorify God (Gal 5:22).
The chosen branch is grafted into the true Vine (Jn 15), and the life of the Spirit brings forth fruit that remains (Jn 15:16). Fruit-like faith is displayed in the believer’s faithfulness. This is especially true when the wild winds of adversity whip with the trials and temptation! Faith is tested and proven to be of God. Faith endures. Faith perseveres because it is all of grace.
Unbelief is an affront to God because it always trusts in something other than Christ. Unbelievers trust in themselves, their own choices and decisions which always leads to idolatry. The unbeliever refuses to believe the Bible, as God’s revelation of how He is saving His elect people from their sins (Mt 1:21; Eph 1:7).
The one with no faith in Christ will scoff at the promise of wrath to come on the Day of Judgment (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7; 1 Thess 1:10). They loathe the doctrines of reprobation, hell, and God’s forthcoming destruction of the heaven and earth (2 Pet 3:10–12). Unbelievers call God a liar. Unbelief insults God. All men are responsible for their unbelief, even as God is fully responsible for one having faith.
Faith may be weak at times, but even weak faith is real faith. Weak faith is still inclined to look to Jesus for help, “I believe, Lord, help me in my unbelief.” The man of faith refuses to give heed to impossible circumstances. Abraham shirked the impossibility of his and Sarah’s age. He knew God was able. He looked at the promise and the promise Maker. He was certain God could and would do all His holy will, as it pertained to the patriarch having innumerable offspring through one elect seed.
Believers do not initiate faith, putting themselves in risky, unwarranted situations. If God, however, wills for the testing of faith by fire, the believer will hold onto the faithfulness of God, as Hudson Taylor spoke and did while in the will of God at China.
Natural man is lacking knowledge of God. In his ignorance, he even suppresses the truth of God (Rom 1:18). In contrast, the spiritual man watches and waits for God. His focus is entirely on God. Knowing God, by setting his heart to study God’s Word (Ezra 7:10), is the way faith receives all things from God.
The more faith is exercised, the more faith one possesses. He is increasing in faith, strength against strength. All of faith is by God’s grace (Eph 2:8–9), and this is why the Christian never boasts of his faith. Instead, he boasts in the Lord, for He knows his faith is from God, through God, and to God…all for the glory of God.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 15, 2022