“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
The first truth the Holy Spirit restored to the Body of Christ during the Protestant reformation. Seems perfectly fitting for Him to do so right. What would be the first thing you would restore but the very means for the salvation of mankind. The beauty of those words are eternal. The moment we first met our Savior was because of the faith we had in Him, His work and His love for us. We turned our heart towards the Father and asked to be forgiven thanking Him for what His Son had done for us. Faith in Jesus Christ is our entry into the Kingdom of God. There is no other way to the Father, but through the Son.
The early Church was built on something. Any guess what that may have been? The Torah, maybe? Nope. It was built on the same thing that brought us our salvation. Faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s read some scripture. I have a thing I like to do and that is putting up a lot of scripture. Good in building up our faith in Christ.
“But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.”
“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
“And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.”
The Church was built on Faith in Jesus Christ. They “preacheth the faith”, healed “ through faith in his name”, some were “ full of faith”, some became “ obedient to the faith”, “and exhorting them to continue in the faith”, “ the churches were established in the faith”, What is this faith?
Our life in Christ begins with faith in Him and his sacrifice on the cross and continues in Him until time ends and eternity begins. Then however long forever is; it will continue on.
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”
“Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,”
Our faith at regeneration is a small faith most of the time. Even if it is a bit larger; it still has the capacity to grow. I am not sure there is an end to how large our faith can become. The absolute beauty of those that have an active faith in the Lord is staggering. It is heart enlarging to see believers trust in Jesus Christ. Give Him everything, bear a cross for Him and love Him even without ever seeing Him. I could burst with joy seeing these things.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness”
Our faith in Jesus Christ is counted for righteousness. Just to believe we have boldness in Christ, our sins forgiven, our conscience washed in His blood and made to sit at the right hand of the Father in Christ. Faith in Jesus is a mighty powerful thing.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Where does faith come from? It comes by hearing God speak to us. When I was converted I had a conviction of sin and knew that I needed Jesus Christ. I believed what He had done for me and sought forgiveness. How did that faith come? It came by a Christian telling me about Jesus Christ and God bearing witness through the words of that man. God spoke to me through a man. I heard the Word. Are we not a nation of priests and prophets after all? A priest enters into the presence of the Lord for the brethren, and a prophet speaks God’s Word to others.
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Don’t base your faith on men and their wisdom, but base it off of Him and Him alone.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
How are we to live the Christian life? We bear our cross and die to self. Having faith in the resurrection life in Christ. Paul had done this so well that his self life was gone. He lived by the life of Christ. Don’t assume this is you. There is much death and obedience to the Spirit to become this quality of believer; much hardship and pains, humiliations and heartache to be able to say what he said here.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”
What is misplaced faith? Its faith in anything else other than Jesus Christ.
25 years ago I had a crisis in faith. Well, it was much worse than that actually. I was 17 years young in the Lord and attended every Church service available. Soaked up all the teaching I could, read avidly and fiercely loved the Lord. The thing about knowing the Lord and desiring to be taught by the Spirit is He leads you out of deceptions. You just can’t walk in the light and not see things out of the corner of your eye. When you believe something so strongly it is really hard to see what is happening around you. I loved the Lord and I loved His Church. ALOT. But something was wrong.
I began seeing things, but choose to ignore them. For example the lack of devotion to Jesus Christ. The position money played. The lives of believers outside the gathering. The worship team taking jobs playing rock music at parties. The list goes on and on. The last one was the crisis for me. I realized the Church didn’t love the Lord. Keep in mind this was 25 years ago. It was not near as bad as it is now.
Needless to say I lost my faith. It was too big of a blow for it to survive. In time the Lord in the tender way He does; called me back. My faith was restored and stronger than ever. Placed upon the Rock instead of the sand. I began attending Church as a spectator. I just had to be near the brethren, even if they didn’t have much faith. The weekend worship was fruitful. I was able to worship My Lord in an assembly of professing believers.
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very
strong. When they are presented with evidence that
works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be
accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely
uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance.
And because it is so important to protect the core
belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny
anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
We as Christians are very apt to this very thing. We have faith that is fleshly. It’s a belief that is arrived at from our own understanding. Carnal faith.
As married man for some odd reason I had the oddest feeling that something is wrong. My wife’s timing home from work was off. Odd excuses for seemingly normal situations. After a few months you kind of wake up and start to put it all together, but even then you just simply don’t believe what you know in your heart.
It is impossibly hard to believe what you know to be true regardless of the preponderance of evidence presented. Why? Because we have placed faith in a something that is susceptible to faithlessness. There is a possibility that given a certain set of circumstances the object of your faith could fail. When it happens there is a period of time that your mind just cannot believe what is transpiring.
As a Christian we so desire to have faith. The Lord has redeemed us and given us new life. We know beyond any doubt He is real and so by inference everything to do with Him is a well. Our faith is brand new and fragile.
What happens to new believers in Christ. The Church begins to show us how to be a Christian. What is usually the outcome of that? We are taught that we must attend all the services, the pastor is the teacher of scripture, and the scripture needs to be studied every day. As a new believer all these are very, very good. We are in the Body of Christ, learning from someone that has a better understanding of scripture and Life in Christ than we do, and we are reading the scripture often. Hopefully everyday.
Slowly our new Life begins to be dampened by the lack of believers walking with Christ. Our faith spreads out from Jesus alone and attaches to the pastor, Church and scriptures. Then after 10 or 15 years of this we either fall away or renounce our faith entirely. Some with fleshly devotion join bible college and become pastors etc. You all know exactly what I am saying. Most everyone has been, or is currently involved with those professing Christ, but look nothing like Him.
This is so gloomy I can’t even stand writing it. I have seen it so many times. A freshly newborn babe in Christ. On Fire for Jesus Christ. Denying self without reserve. Walking in holiness. Taught by the Spirit and completely in Love with Jesus Christ.
Get sucked up into placing their faith in something other than Jesus Christ.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Keep your faith in Christ alone. The Church will let you down. The pastor will let you down. Your understanding of scripture will let you down. Keep your faith solidly rooted in Christ Jesus our Lord. Love the brethren. Pray for those in a position over you and always seek the Spirit’s teaching of scripture.
Much love in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,