Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Author of Faith

This past week I was reading a friend’s Facebook post:

The only thing that the Lord does with your Faith is to perfect it.

Another friend, corrected:

I suppose that's after He has authored it?

That wasn’t an original idea, as she gave the scriptural basis for her question:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)

The Bible has a lot to say about faith. We need to know what it is, how to have it and know when we do.  For me, the main reason for having faith is:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

Two hundred and thirty one verses in the Kings James version mention faith – and only two of them in the Old Testament, though Jesus spoke of it often – both lacking and having:

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:30 KJV)

When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (Matthew 8:10 KJV)

Go ahead, look up those verses in context. Study to see what was happening – who did Jesus say had little faith, and who had great? Where did the conversations take place? Why was He talking to them? What were they asking? That’s all part of Bible study, the knowing where verses fit, what audience heard them and how/why they apply in our lives today. That’s how faith comes:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

It is not my preacher I trust, it is the scripture he shares that I study that I trust. It is not the author of our Sunday School lessons that I trust, it is comparing what is written with what the Bible says. Oh, those lessons are helpful, just as I hope what I write here is helpful, because they send people to the Bible to see if this is true.

The book of Hebrews gives excellent examples of faith, and tells us why it is important:

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. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

The phrase “By faith” is used in sixteen verses in Hebrews, along with the example of a person who had faith to follow God. You see, it’s a two part equation – faith requires following. James gets specific (please take time to study his whole book):

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18 KJV)

The faith Christ authors in us requires obedience to God’s will. The first sign of that obedience in my life was baptism. It was an outward sign of an inward change – I believed Jesus when He said we cannot reach God without Him:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)

I believe He was baptized by John as an example of obedience, for He was perfection:

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (Matthew 3:13-15 KJV)

That’s the first work of showing faith. Learn more.

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