Pearl Drop 14-01
One of the fundamentals that I have been re-evaluating is the issue of faith. What I am about to say is not new but a new perspective for me, you could say fresh light has dawned! I am sure others & maybe yourself, have had such an understanding already. However this strategic view of faith is an increasing factor in the reformation that is taking place in the church today.
Faith. For me and for many people who have been involved in the institution of church for many years have a tendency to think of faith as being something we initiate. We are instructed to have faith in God, to believe in him. We talk about my faith, we tell so called unbelievers to ‘trust God’ to have faith in him. But what do we really, mean, what are we really saying, what are we communicating when we use these phrases?
These phrases related to the God of the Bible who I was taught about and accepted who had certain characteristics. The all powerful, the all knowing, the omniscient, a God of love, of grace, justice, mercy, wrath, etc. All are correct notions or doctrines that scripture teach us. They are fundamentally what we believe about Him. We also have this notion, in the back of our minds, that He is out there in the distance, not so much separated from us, but, not in easy reach, which leads to the tendency for us to have to do something’ to bridge the gap, to get near, to put more effort into our prayer, worship, quiet times, reading and study of scripture. None of which are bad in themselves, but when used as the fuel to try to get near, we often are left feeling disappointed. When these tools are used to ‘get God’ to intervene in ours or others difficult circumstances we have to come up with excuses in our minds, as to why are prayers don’t seem to prevail very well! For many the tendency is to give up….it’s all to hard this God thing!!
There is little basis here for close relationship or intimacy which is what we really crave. It is what we are designed for and there are many people outside the walls of ‘the church’ who are adequately satisfied in this area, without any conscious seeking after God whoever he maybe!
Faith is not something we can initiate with regard to the God of the Bible. What I described above relates to belief.
I believe in David Cameron our current UK Prime Minister. I believe he is a genuine person, who has certain characteristics, and who I can as a citizen of the UK, communicate with at a distance, hoping he will respond, not because he knows me, but in his role as Prime Minister. For some people they believe he exists, and maybe a genuine and nice guy, but don’t believe in him because they do not see in their day to day life any of the improvements he said he would make for the citizens of this country.
I also believe my doctor exists. I can visit him or her as often as I can get an appointment. Because of his rigorous training and qualifications I trust he has undergone, I have faith in what he says about me based on the diagnosis he has made. Therefore I will act on any recommendations he gives me to make me better.
The crucial difference between believing in Cameron and believing in my doctor is based on what the doctor believes about me. As I listen and absorb what he says about me and my medical disposition faith is communicated to me, so I leave his surgery with a confident expectation that what he says I must do or what medicine I must take will have the desired affect in my body and I will get better.
Faith then is something that is communicated to me, not something I initiate. Faith also has the dynamic of producing hope which in Biblical terms means a confident expectation. That what is communicated about me is true and the desired results will manifest.
Faith is a gift. Eph.2:8 ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.’
Faith is the result of the confident expectation communicated to me which I will see come to pass.
AV. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Ampl. Now faith is the assurance the title deed of things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality. (faith perceives as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.)
Mirror Word: Persuasion confirms confident expectation and proves the unseen world to be more real than the seen. Faith celebrates as certain what hope visualises as future.
Therefore the basis of faith is what God believes to be true about me. This faith is what is communicated through the gospel. If it is not then like Paul, we can say another gospel has been peddled. This is what I shall be re-evaluating over the coming months.