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The Predecessor of the Spirit

As you may or may not know, the familiar phrase “a man after my own heart” originates in the Bible.  God says: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who shall fulfill all my will.”  This basically means David was a man who God found appealing and who corresponded with the desires of His heart.  

 

As we will see, regarding Saul, Israel’s first king and David’s immediate predecessor, God could have truly said to Israel:I have found Saul the son of Kish, a man after YOUR own heart… In the book of 1 Samuel chapter 8, we learn how Saul became king.  At the time, Samuel was the prophet/judge in Israel and Israel prospered under his faithful leadership.  As he aged, his corrupt sons were set to take his place.  The people of Israel fearfully cried out for a human king, saying: “…that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:20 NKJV).  God declared that this request was tantamount to rejecting Him as their King.  He said he would give them a their king, but warned that this wouldn’t turn out as nice as they imagined.  God may grant His people’s selfish cries, but the results may be terrible.

 

In Saul, God gave Israel exactly what they wanted.  Look at the first description of him: “a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. (1 Samuel 9:2 KJV).  The word “goodly” in Hebrew basically means “good” in the widest sense:  handsome, appealing, pleasant, strong, etc. 

 

For our generation, Saul represents the rule of the soul over the kingdom of God, which Jesus said is within man, under the title of Christianity.  The religion of Christianity is based on the desires and reasoning of the carnal, fearful human soul.  Like Saul, this kingdom appears very “goodly” – impressive in appearance, offering security, and winning victories over the enemies of God’s people. But all of this proves to be hollow or temporary, because at the core is religious, human desire, understanding, tradition and fear.  

 

Consider that the beginning of Saul’s reign foreshadowed that of the religion of Christianity.  In both, God’s people desired to be governed by something easily accessible and familiar, like the physical governments of the world.  There was also a wish for this tangible system to judge them and arrange an army to fight their battles for them (clergy, anyone?)  Saul remained king long after God had rejected him for choosing his own way over God’s.  I believe also that Christianity has been rejected by God but has continued to reign over His people for a season. 

 

Israel then and the church now make a grave mistake by looking back (using the reasoning of their minds) on the impressive beginning and victories of Saul/Christianity as evidence these kingdoms continue to be legitimate before God.  After Saul chose his own way over God’s, here is what God said to Saul through Samuel: Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23, 16:1 KJV). No matter how much religious good one is doing in the eyes of self or others, even in the name of Jesus, God sees stubbornness against change and rebellion against His desires as grave evils.

 

The kingdom of David, which immediately followed Saul’s, represents an inward rulership of God’s people by His spirit; a kingdom where God is trusted, sought, waited for, known, obeyed, and loved.  The establishment of David’s kingdom was declared long before he became king, but from a young age he was mighty and victorious and it was evident that God was with him. Right now, “David’s” rulership of the spirit is gaining strength and growing, while Saul’s is weakening, shrinking and headed for destruction.  This truly spiritual leadership which David represents is humbly and patiently waiting to be established king in “Israel” (the hearts of God’s people) in God’s time and in God’s way, being content in Him.

  

The religion of Christianity has become infiltrated by corruption, selfishness and blindness, from the souls of men over many generations, and has been rejected by God.  Let go!  Humble yourself!  Follow the prompting of the spirit of God on your heart right now!  Abandon totally all of your own religious ways, desires, understandings, and interpretations of scripture.  Trust God’s spirit and with all you have, ask God to teach you Himself (1 John 2:27).  It’s new, foreign, largely uncharted, but it’s the only way.  God bless you.

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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Love’s Pursuit and Promise

“He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will disclose myself to him.” -Jesus

For some reason (I think fear), Christianity seems obsessed with behavior, particularly with avoiding what it sees as bad behavior.  Is this reflective of the desires of God’s heart?  Is God’s ultimate goal to have a world of well-behaved people?  I say it’s not nearly that shallow.  I think what God is after is love.  I want to look closer at what love is and how Jesus said it fits into relationship with he and his Father. 

In John 14, Jesus says that if someone loves him, they will keep his commandments (v. 15) and his word (v.23).  This basically means they will pursue relationship with him (his word) and honor him as Lord (his commandments).  He also says that the one who keeps (present-tense) his commandments loves him.  The word “keep” in Greek has the idea of guarding, attending to, and preserving.  So it’s not merely doing his word, it’s cherishing it.  You can try to obey Jesus’ statements in the Bible without loving him.  But you can’t “keep” his word in the true sense of seeking and cherishing it without love.  

I see a cycle: love produces a cherishing of his commandments/word, and cherishing his commandments/word demonstrates love.  This cycle is energized by love and produces love.  Love is the foundational requirement, the qualification for truly knowing Jesus, because Jesus reveals himself only to those who love him,  as the verse at the top shows.  If he doesn’t reveal himself, you can’t know him.

I believe an essential component of love could be called “selfless pursuit.”  Love in a relationship is shown in pursuit of the other in every good sense, without any selfish focus. If you love and cherish something, you will seek it and think of it constantly.  Thrill seekers love adrenaline rushes, pursuing and thinking of them constantly.  According to Jesus, those who love him will similarly seek to hear and keep his words, because they love him and he is their Lord.  

Jesus knew that it would be difficult to learn to hear his voice and to keep his words, so he warned us ahead of time that it would be very hard and costly in many ways.  But he gave us a wonderful promise in John 14:23: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”  For those who love Jesus and his Father, that is worth any price.  

Examine yourself, as I am examining myself.  If we don’t cherish and seek to obey Jesus’ words, we don’t love him.  And if we don’t love him, we won’t be seeking him.  What a profound idea, which I probably barely scratched the surface of! 

God bless you.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Living in Spirit Means Quenching the Soul

We all can think of things we’ve read without any contemplation or understanding.  I think for many, a prime example for this from the Bible are verses which mention things pertaining to “spirit.”  For years, read about “spirit” and without much thought just took it as a vague concept that concerned God or people a lot more holy than I.  While I still don’t have full understanding, I do realize that the spiritual realm is the realm of God Himself and that to know God requires one to be able to relate to him there.

I’ve written about this before, but the spiritual realm is deeper than the oh-so familiar realm of the soul – the realm of human feelings, will, and thought.  For most people, including highly religious people, their entire sphere of life and awareness is in the realm of the soul.  This is worthless in God’s eyes.  Religion often mislabels as spiritual things that are in reality just “good” things of the soul, such as unusual or profound feelings, deep or new doctrines, or various other experiences.  These things are all sourced in the human soul.  This is why after the experiences are over and the novelty is worn off, there is no lasting change.  The soul in and of itself is unstable and ever-changing.

I want to look at one idea that is fairly common in the Christian sphere; the notion of “walking in the spirit.”  Galatians 5:16 says: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  Many of us have read that, but I’d guess much fewer of us have taken the time to genuinely meditate, study, and seek God for what that truly means.  Without understanding, which is given by the spirit of God, information is useless.  

I want to look more specifically at Galatians 5:25, which states: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”  Paul is saying that living and walking by the spirit are connected; if we are to do the first, we must do the second also.  I believe this verse literally means: “If we are to live in the realm of the spirit, we must follow and conform to the spirit’s direction moment by moment.”  Our comfort-loving flesh wants things to be automatic and easy.  But nothing in the Kingdom of God is automatic.  We must daily fight and struggle to follow and conform to the leading of the spirit, if we are to be those who live in the spirit, as Jesus did.  He set us that example for us to follow.  

What must we fight and struggle against?  Christianity would have us believe it’s our bad behavior, our “sins” that make us unspiritual and that we must fight.  But that has nothing to do with it.  Primarily, our struggle is against our own soul, which is influenced by our flesh and our various religious indoctrinations.  These are the things that oppose the walk in the spirit which is our inheritance. 

How does our soul oppose the spirit?  To be able to follow the spirit, it’s obvious we have to be sensitive to and aware of the spiritual realm.  But the spiritual realm is deeper and very different from the soulical.  It often doesn’t make sense to our soul, which is based on reason and logic.  To access the spiritual realm, we must be willing to learn to quench the dominance of our soul by silencing the chatter of our minds, stilling or choosing to ignore the raging of our own thoughts, reasonings and feelings.  When the human soul is subdued, we can begin to be aware of what the Spirit of God is revealing to us, Spirit-to-spirit.  If we don’t, then the human soul’s various doctrines, gathered over the years from unspiritual men, and the cacophony of our own thoughts and feelings will dominate our awareness, and we’ll remain carnal and soulish – little different from the world other than being better-behaved. 

Quenching our soul is somewhat akin to turning down a loud stereo in order to hear and focus on the underlying voice of a loved one, which is quieter but more important.  Food for thought, I hope.  God bless you.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Worship

The word “worship” is basically a shortened version of “worth-ship.”  It’s ascribing to something a state of worth.  I believe humans delight in what we worship (find worth in), and worship what we delight in.  I think it is therefore very important to consider what we delight in.  If we find our “delight” in sports, sex, work, hobbies, knowledge, or whatever else, we are essentially “worshiping” that thing. 

I’m far from an “ascetic” who avoids all pleasure.  To enjoy the things God has given us is good.  But I do not want to “delight” in anything other than God, because to “delight” in them is to have an attitude that they have worth in and of themselves.  This is to give to them what should only belong to God, because He is the originator and supplier of all good things to all men.  Scripture says God gives good things to both the “just and the unjust.”  It tells us that every good and perfect gift is from God, and that God gives us “all things” for our enjoyment.  (1 Timothy 6:17): 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”  God gives things to enjoy that aren’t available or unavailable according to the amount of money one has.  Money is the “uncertain riches” that Paul mentions. 

If we find ourselves pursuing and “delighting” in something in and of itself, without any thanks to God or thought of Him, we should be careful and remember He is the only giver of any and every good thing.  Even the things wicked men find pleasurable, God has given in their proper form, but they have been perverted.  I hope that we will delight ourselves in our Father, the unchanging God, and find Him in the deep place of the spirit.  If we do, we have a promise: (Psalm 37:4) “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

When your delight is in God, the “desires of your heart” are for Him and the things that are pure.  Therefore He will give you what you desire, because your heart is pure of lesser desires.  Scripture goes on to say:

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday…”

God bless you.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Laodicea Summarized

(Revelation 3, ESV):  14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.  15“I know your works (labor): you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

It’s critical to keep in mind that Laodicea, who Jesus speaks to, is a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ.   Laodicea means “a just/righteous people,” from the Greek words laos (a people) and dikaios (right or just).  As we will see, Laodicea’s righteousness was only in their own eyes.    

Interestingly, Jesus tells them exactly why he sees them as “lukewarm.”  (Revelation 3): 17 Because you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing…”  Laodicea is seen as lukewarm and nauseating, because they say in their heart that their condition is one of wealth and they need nothing.  Again, this is a congregation of believers which God recognizes.  I believe Laodicea says in their heart they are “rich” by believing in Christ, have “abundance” by doing good works, and “lack nothing” because they are saved and assured of going to heaven.  This is lukewarmnessJesus literally says in reality they are:  “undergoing a testing, pitiful, thoroughly destitute, blind, and naked.”   He then gives them counsel to repair their utterly destitute state.  The theme of his counsel is toward repentance from tainted understandings.

Jesus first counsel is to get “gold refined by fire.”  Here and everywhere else, he is speaking spiritually.  This “gold” represents that which in the kingdom of God is precious and leads to increasing wealth.  In scripture, gold is compared with wisdom.  Wisdom and understanding are the “gold” of God’s kingdom.  The fire that refines (purifies) this gold is the judgments of God.  I believe this primarily takes place within our heart, the core of our thoughts and beliefs.  When we undergo this fire, things based on men’s false wisdom are either consumed or made visible and then separated.  What remains is the precious “gold” of everything in our heart which is based on wisdom from God.  I believe many well-established religious ways of thinking and acting will be burned up in this fire.  We can only access God’s mind and heart by Spirit-to-spirit revelation.

The second thing Jesus says to buy is “white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…”  Garments cover naked flesh.  In the spiritual, our “flesh” reprents our SELF, the “me, myself, and I” part that always cries out to be catered to.  Self can be very religious, but it always opposes God.  It must be crucified and covered.  I believe the “white garments” here represent the righteousness and purity of Jesus Christ Himself.  As self is daily put to death, then one can receive this white garment.  God recognizes nothing else.  Many things we see as “good” have been tainted by self and God sees them as ”wood, hay and stubble” to be burned or disgusting, “filthy rags.”  Self is the filth that stains our spiritual covering.

Finally, Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy “eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.”  In  Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus spoke of the singular eye” (spiritual perception) which gives light within, which can be “clear” or “bad.”   The word “clear” is the Greek word haplous, essentially meaning an unmixed, sound whole.  Jesus is saying that one’s spiritual perception (eye) needs to be without any mixture of the false teaching of men or unclean spirits, which Jesus calls darkness.  An “eye” that has this mixture is called “bad” and results in total darkness.  Jesus warns if the “light” (truth and understanding) we claim to have is actually “darkness” (deception and confusion), then this is the most extreme darkness there is.  This is why the Laodicean attitude of “no need” while in darkness is so dangerous.

“Eye-salve” is the Greek word kollourion, which comes from a base word meaning “glue.” “Anoint” likely just means to “rub in.”  Our natural understanding is the “eye” Jesus said in Matthew 6:23 is bad and results in total darkness.  The “eye-salve” Jesus offers will glue shut this bad eye and cover it with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  1 John 2:27 says: “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…”  To perceive spiritually based on the “sight” of this anointing is the “clear” eye that Jesus says will produce a body full of light (truth).  But first, the “eye-salve” must be applied to glue shut or negate everything else.  If this is not done, then the natural, carnal understanding/perception will remain the “light” within, which Jesus calls the most extreme darkness.  God forbid.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Jesus’ Advice to Laodicea

(Revelation 3:18-19)  “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.  (19)  ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.

(1 John 2:27):  “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

 It’s critical to keep in mind that Laodicea, who Jesus speaks to, is a “church,” a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ.  As I discussed last time, Laodicea means “righteous people,” referring to their self-perceived righteousness.  These “christians” believe in their heart they are “rich” by believing in Christ, have “abundance” by their good works, and have “need of nothing” because they are saved and on their way to heaven.  However, Jesus exposes their true condition as deplorable, pitiful, and bankrupt.  Keep in the forefront of your mind that Jesus is speaking of their spiritual condition.  It’s a grave and common mistake, especially with Jesus’ words, to read scripture in a “natural” sense all the time.  He said he spoke in parables and his words were “spirit” and “life.” He also reminds Laodicea that his harsh rebuke and discipline is a sign of love, and he encourages them to zealously repent, which literally means to zealously reconsider their belief systems and to begin to perceive on a deeper level. 

Jesus first counsel is to get “gold refined by fire.”  This refers to gold that has undergone intense fire, which melts the gold and allows the impurities within it to be seen and removed.  Once Laodicea has this refined gold, Jesus says they will truly be “rich.”  The gold Jesus speaks of is simply that which is precious and leads to increasing wealth in the kingdom of God.  In scripture, gold is compared with wisdom, but wisdom is said to be far superior and God alone knows where it is hidden.  Wisdom and understanding are the “gold” of God’s kingdom

When you are taught by Jesus Himself, through the Holy Spirit (see 1 John 2:27 above), you can access this gold (wisdom) and become rich in the sight of God.  God doesn’t regard much of what men do, including religious men.  The gold Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy is imperishable and has been purified not with physical fire, but with the fire of God’s judgment which consumes and separates every spiritual impurity.  If this comes to our life, it can be painful and a cause for “fear and trembling,” but it’s also a cause for great rejoicing, because it means God receives us as His children. (Hebrews 12): “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”  …But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”  And as Jesus reminded Laodicea: “those whom I love, I reprove and discipline…” 

When we undergo this fire, that which is not from God is consumed or separated from the truly precious “gold” of all which was from Him.  I believe this primarily takes place within our heart, which is the core of our thoughts and beliefs.  In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul says the goal of his teaching is “love from a pure heart…”  What “pure heart” means is one’s core of thought and belief (mind) which is untainted by the traditions, teachings, religious ideas of men and is therefore “purely” of God.  It isn’t having no desire for sinful things – that would be better called a “clean” heart.  I believe many well-established religious ways of thinking and their resulting “good” works will be burned up in this fire, because they were not based on God’s mind, but the minds of men.  We can only access God’s mind by Spirit-to-spirit revelation of truth and wisdom.

The second thing Jesus says to buy is “white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…”  The purpose of a garment is to be a covering.  What needs covered?  The natural realm mirrors the spiritual realm.  In the natural, the shamefulness of our naked flesh is covered by our clothing.  In the spiritual, the shame of our “flesh” is also covered by spiritual “garments.”  Flesh in this case speaks of the focus on and obedience of SELF.  When self is the focus and is served, self is god and king.  Self/flesh is permanently opposed to God and must be crucified.  (Romans 8): 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,  7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so…  13 … for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die…”  (Galatians 5)17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh…”  24 Now those who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” 

I believe the “white garments” here represent the righteousness and purity of Jesus Christ Himself.  Jesus became radiantly white when he was transfigured.  Angels who appeared to men were brilliantly white.  The “overcomers” (of self) in Revelation 3:4-5 are said to be clothed in white.  Once the pride of self in its good or its knowledge (see: the Pharisees) is humbled and the flesh is crucified, then one can receive the white garment of Jesus Christ himself.  God recognizes nothing else, as everything good that is of man is, according to scripture “wood, hay and stubble,” “filthy rags,” and worthless. 

Finally, Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy “eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.”  Our natural eyes give us sight and perception of the physical realm.  We also have “eyes,” or faculties of perception, into the invisible realms of soul and spirit.  Paul spoke of the “eyes of your heart” in Ephesians 1:18, which he prayed would be “enlightened” by the Spirit of God.  In  Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus spoke of the singular “eye” (referring to one’s perception of the spiritual realm) which gives light within, which can be “clear” or “bad.”  Jesus says this “eye” should be “single” (KJV).  The word “single” is the Greek word haplous.  It literally means “without folds or braids,” in the sense of whole, single, uncomplicated, simple.  I think Jesus is saying that one’s spiritual eyesight/perception needs to be without any mixture of darkness caused by the traditions and teachings of selfish, fearful men, which causes confusion.  Jesus then warns that if the “light” (truth and understanding) we claim to have is actually darkness (error and confusion), then this is the most extreme darkness there is.  This is why saying one has “need of nothing” is so dangerous.

The “eye salve” Jesus counsels them to buy and to “anoint” their eyes with is the Greek word kollourion.  It actually comes from a base word meaning “glue,” and refers to a thick glue-like paste that would be applied to eyes to soothe them.  “Anoint” is the word egchrio, has some interesting possible meanings, but likely just means to “rub in” with the idea of “receiving.”  Priests were “anointed” with oil as a symbol of their intended function before God.  I think a literal translation of Jesus admonition here is to buy “eye-glue to rub in your eyes, that you may see.”  The idea is our natural, carnal eyes (human perception, often based on fear, tradition or confusion) being covered or glued shut, with the presence of the Holy Spirit covering them.  Again, 1 John 2:27, which I quoted at the beginning, says: “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…”  To perceive spiritually based on the “sight” of this anointing, which John spoke of, requires first that “eye-salve” be applied to glue shut or negate one’s natural, carnal perceptions.  If this is not done, then the carnal, religious perception will remain the “light” within, which Jesus calls the most extreme darkness.  God forbid.

So, Jesus says to Laodicea, the self-righteous and spiritually satisfied and complacent, that if they want to have anything of spiritual value, they need three things:  1). Wisdom which is set on fire and requires a process of burning and separating impurities, 2). the righteousness of Christ himself which requires true humility and self-abasement, and 3). spiritual perception which requires the “gluing shut” of one’s carnal eyes.  My counsel for us all is to take Christ’s counsel earnestly, and to desperately cry out for wisdom, true righteousness, and clear sight.  Let us be still before God to learn of and be equipped by Him.  God bless you.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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What is Faith?

Scripture declares that there is no  righteousness (right relationship) or justification (“legal” innocence) before God apart from faith, as shown in the scriptures below.  If this is the case, then we better understand what faith is.  In my last post, I wrote that faith is a “divine persuasion” or “spiritual sight.”  I think the concept deserves a fuller examination.  (Note: As I’ve written this post, I’ve realized it was arrogant of me to assume I could completely explain this divine concept in ~900 words.  Maybe there will be a part 2 sometime).

  • (Galatians 2:16): “…nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of Law but through the faith of Christ Jesus…”

The Greek word for “faith” is pistis, which basically means “a persuasion.”  This thing we call faith is, in scripture, a spiritual substance, a gift that only comes from God Himself:

  • (1 Corinthians 12: 7,9):  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the spirit…to another faith by the same spirit…” 
  • (Galatians 5:22) “And the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith…”
  • (Ephesians 2:8) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
  • (Romans 12:3) “…think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

When scripture says we are to have faith “in” Jesus Christ, as it does in several places, the literal translation is often “the faith of” Jesus Christ or God the Father.  This shows faith is not something that one owns and can use as they wish.  Faith “of” something indicates this faith originates with the object of faith and is a part of that person or thing – in this case, God.  Scripture confirms this.

In my opinion, two of the most enlightening Biblical scriptures that deal with what faith actually is are Hebrews 11:1 and Romans 10:17.

  • (Hebrews 11:1) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Here’s this verse in the “Amplified” version: (Hebrews 11:1) “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
  • (Romans 10:17) “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Faith comes, Romans 10:17 says, when a person HEARS (not reads) the “Word of Christ,” or in other translations, the “Word of God.”  This “word” isn’t the Bible, it’s God’s spiritual voice, His divine expression.  When this expression is truly heard, faith is born.

In Hebrews 11:1, the word for “substance” of things hoped for is hupostasis.  “Hupo” means “under,” and “stasis” means “to stand.”  It refers to a foundation, that which “stands under” and supports something.  In Hebrews 11:1, faith is the foundation that supports and guarantees that which we hope for, as well as the conviction of the reality of things we can’t sense by our human faculties.  A more thorough look at this concept can be found at http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/faith-is-hebrews-111-hupostasis/

Combining these two verses with what we know, one could say: “Faith is a seeing and conviction of things which can’t be perceived with human senses.  Faith is the underlying foundation and assurance of things hoped for.  It is given by God and comes from hearing God’s voice.  This means faith is essentially a spiritual dynamic, because the spirit of man is the part beneath the human senses and mind, and faith is a spiritual gift from God, who is Himself a spirit and can only be known in spirit (John 4:24) “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 17:17): “Sanctify them through the truth; your (Father) word is truth.”

This is partly why I’ve said faith is “spiritual sight.”  It’s a God-given gift, placed deep in one’s spirit, an assurance of things we hope for (which are real) and conviction of the reality of things that we don’t perceive with our human senses.  It is deep within us, beneath the soulish realm of our feelings and human senses and logic.  It resides within our spirit.  This is why we can believe and be assured of something that we can’t really understand or explain logically.  By faith, we “see” them spiritually.

This is how, as Paul said, we can “…walk by faith, not by sight.” To do this is to base one’s life and behavior by the spiritual perception and assurance God has given by His word to us, not by the “sight” of our natural human faculties such as our mind.  So we must hear God’s voice – that’s the key to just about everything in the life of a disciple, just as it was in Jesus’ life (John 5:9, 12:49-50).  Please remember, faith comes not by reading, but by HEARING.

  • (John 18:37) Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 
  • (John 10:27) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…”
  • (John 6:63 NKJV)  “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

One last scripture I want to look at is Romans 14:23, which declares “…whatever is not from faith is sin.”  If faith is a God-given gift of assurance, conviction, divine persuasion or spiritual sight of spiritual reality which we can’t perceive naturally, then to do something contrary to or apart from this God-given divine persuasion and perception of spiritual reality, is sin.  To sin is to “miss the mark.”  The “mark” we are aiming for is establishing God’s kingdom on earth – knowing and doing His will.  So even things that seem “good,” if not done from faith (spiritual perception and sight), are sin, because God is no part of them.

May God bless you.  I hope this will help you to walk by faith and follow in Jesus’ footsteps in knowing the Father and establishing His Kingdom.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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