Romans 4:16-17 (NLT)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the Law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
As I wait for the promise of God to come to pass in my life and the life of our son, it has caused me to spend a great deal of time getting to know more about this thing called faith and how to activate it in my life. It is the only way that I will receive the promises that God has made to me in His Word and through His Spirit. Although we are all “certain” to receive it whether or not we live according to the Law is irrelevant although the Commandments of God are not. We are called to have faith like Abraham who tried to live according to the Law of God but if we really delve into the Truth it is futile. If you fail in one provision of the law, you are immediately imputed a death sentence so why bother? Abraham is the father of all who believe. This is a special generation of people who are not of a certain heritage either Jew or Gentile, but rather these are those who are “certain” to receive the promise of God for their life by faith. What would happen if we as believers took a moment just one brief passing second in our life comprised of many to believe in God? What would happen if for one precious heartbeat of our life, we made our weak and fickle heart stay true to the Lord and the genuine faith He has invested in us to grow, develop and fully mature into confident hope? What would happen if faith was activated by His Word, our works wrapped up in love? We would receive our promise simply by faith.
Galatians 3:1-6 (NLT)
Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the Law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
To know what we believe is essential in securing one’s faith with confident hope that allows us to remain in righteousness unwavering. The world does not support such a position as it is often uncomfortable and uncompromising. The only way that a person can become justified in right standing with God is through belief in Jesus Christ who is the Son of God. Abraham believed God. God counted him as righteous because of his faith. End of story. Society today has added so many provisions, by laws and doctrines to the simple truth that the just will live by faith that nobody really knows what faith is, where to put it, and what will become of it. The only thing that our faith will produce in our life is confident hope that keeps us in right standing with God so that He can get His Glory to us which includes all His Provision, Promises and Blessings. The only reason that Abraham received the promise is because he trusted the Lord enough to continue in righteousness bound by the Word wrapped in God’s Love until it arrived. If only this were as easy as it sounds…
Romans 4:18-25 (NLT)
Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Abraham never wavered in believing God’s Promise. This doesn’t mean that God’s man didn’t try to help the Lord out along the way. Such imperfection is human nature when God is not fast enough to meet our timeline, we give faith a nudge that may just cause a delay or detour along the way. Through it all as Abraham matured, his faith grew stronger which brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God could do whatever He promised to do so much so that he just keep pushing the boundaries of his faith farther and farther to accommodate the parameters of God’s Promise for his life. This is not a conscious decision but spiritual conformation as our life is molded and shaped to receive more than we could think or ask. I am sure that by the time Abraham was 100 years of age that the thought of a natural child had left his mind, but it didn’t change God’s Mind as his servant decided to remain faith full even when his life seemed to be option less. Jesus died to give us each the opportunity to free from our sins. He was raised from the dead to empower our faith to become confident hope that opens the windows of Heaven. It is an opportunity to trust God, invest our faith and reap the rewards of confident hope no matter how life in the natural looks fully depending on the Lord for His Promise, planting one’s feet in righteous and refusing to move until He blesses us!
Genesis 32:24-29 (NLT)
This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
God knows our name but He wants us to come into relationship with Him so He waits for us to introduce ourselves. Lord, I am a sinner who needs a Savior. Jesus come into my heart and be the Lord of my life. Wash away my sins and let me follow you! Jacob was all alone. It is funny how certain situations in life can make us feel isolate and alone even when surrounded by many people. Jacob found himself wrestling with God. As morning approached, the “man” said “Let me go!” But Jacob refused despite his hip being wrenched out of its socket. This is relevant in our life today. Our son’s hip has been progressively more painful over the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, he had an MRI of his hip to investigate the pain. This particular hip was the sight of his second cancer occurrence so I do not believe that it is a coincidence that as we wait for the results I am taken back to this place. Jacob refused to let go. He told the Lord his name, but then Jacob made the move that would change the course of his entire life. “Please tell me your name! The Lord blessed Jacob on the spot. When our faith becomes more about knowing God than having our way and filling our life with stuff, we will be blessed on the spot. In that moment that nothing else matters despite all the pain when all that we want is to know Him more, His Blessing comes. His Promise arrives. Faith has established righteousness not because of anything that we have done based solely on what we believe. When we believe that knowing the Lord is better than life, we are made complete lacking no good thing.
Galatians 5:5-6 (AMP)
For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope. For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.
It is time to activate, energize, express and work out faith in love. The law doesn’t make us right with God and doing everything it says is not the way to motivate God’s Blessing and Promise for our life to get here any quicker. Everything depends on whether or not we have faith. Without faith, it is foolish to anticipate and wait for God’s Blessing and Good to reach us because our righteousness is compromised without Jesus Christ. He makes us righteous. He is the only way that we raise our life from sin and darkness to His Glorious Standard. (Romans 3:21-23) Righteousness cannot be earned but is a Gift from God. (Romans 4:4-5) We must become familiar with the Word of God and develop intimacy with Jesus Christ. You will never be able to maintain right standing with God outside of total faith in Jesus Christ so there is no need to try. We strive to align our life with Jesus to promote faith and complete the full potential of believing in His Power and allowing it to permeate our life. We do this by committing our life to Jesus Christ not trying to sneak in any other way including forced obedience rather than faithful righteousness.
Hebrews 6:1-3 (NLT)
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.
A young man came to my office recently to appeal (or more like argue) his withdrawal from school. He pleaded that he had an issue with his wisdom teeth that had negatively affected his attendance and if given the chance he would come to school every day from now on. Reviewing his overall attendance for the school year, it became apparent that this was not a matter of a toothache but rather irresponsibility. The student had every excuse in the book as to why he could not make it to school on time or stay a full day. I asked him what had changed so dramatically that his attendance would change. He had no reason but continued to argue his case with me. I instructed him to take some time to work out the details of his life and return to school in the fall for a brand new start. Although a full grown adult, this young man’s excuses and lack of responsibility became clearly evident in our conversation just short of throwing his six-foot body on the floor for a full-blown tantrum. When he left, my heart sank for this young man whose immaturity would cause some difficult life lessons along the way to growing up. Let us stop going over the basic teachings of Jesus Christ again and again. I have a child who will do everything they can to avoid hard work and try every other way but the way looking for a shortcut who only recently has discovered that a straight forward approach is less time consuming and frustrating all together. If we would stop trying to use grace to get around the commandments of God and by faith follow His Way, we would see greater results in our faithful approach to living. We live any way that we choose and then throw tantrums in the Presence of God when He does not give us our way. We cry out injustice in our hurting when healing was available simply by believing in the Lord by faith. We must move forward in our understanding of faith and hope in the Lord for righteousness sake alone and then all of God’s Promises will flow into our life.
Romans 10:1-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
Excitement and enthusiasm for God is nothing more than “misdirected zeal” if not fully accomplished through faith that leads to uncompromising righteousness. Obeying the Word of God is not to be saved. Once we violated any portion of the law by sin, we became instant enemies of the Kingdom of God and traitors to His Throne. By accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we have established righteousness once and for all. Righteousness is maintained by faithfulness to the Lord. However, grace does not exempt us from following His Word, living His Way and doing His Will. Faith should give us a desire to do so. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) You can get all hyped on God for a moment when things are going well, but in the dark valleys of life you will need a provision of God’s Word stored in your heart to keep faith nourished and hope flourishing until He comes. Jesus Christ came as the Word of God wrapped in human flesh to demonstrate God’s Unfailing Love and Faithfulness to us. (John 1:14) Love and faith are always connected. It has been said that God’s People will perish for a lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) Walking away from God because although they have asked who He is, they have spent little or no time getting to know anything about Him wanting only His Hand never seeking His Heart.
James 2:17-24 (NLT)
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
Faith that is stagnant will die on its own. Faith must be fed the Word of God to thrive and fully develop. It must be exercised to gain strength. You have been given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of all that God has promised. I can clip coupons all day with the intention of saving a few dollars. But if I never take them to the cashier to be redeemed, they are just worthless scraps of paper in my purse. Welcome to the world of faith without works, it’s a dark, dead and barren place. Abraham had faith. He demonstrated his full belief in God when he took his promise, Isaac, up that mountain, tied him to an altar, and prepared to sacrifice him as instructed by God. Did his heart break on that journey? Of course it did. Was he blinded by his tears? Naturally. Did he question God in each footstep begging for Him to rescue his precious son? What parent wouldn’t? Did God provide? Yes, He most certainly did. Faith brought Isaac into existence. Belief brought God’s Promise to life. You have to have enough faith to live what you believe. You can know God in His Word but until you put your faith in action – there will be little benefit or blessing in your life. Faith must be used to mature and develop into confident hope that allows us to stand unwavering waiting for God to act on our behalf and fulfill His Precious Promises. You must live what you believe to be a friend of God. Faith without good deeds is useless and good deeds without faith have no lasting benefit. But when we take faith and live what we believe – watch out because the best is yet to come!
I Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
The catalyst of faith in our life is the Love of God. I have read this verse a thousand times but only realized its significance today. Love never gives up. Love never loses faith. Love is always hopeful. Love endures through every circumstance. The only way to remain righteous forever and receive everything that God has promised is to fall in love with Jesus Christ. Love motivates us to never give up. Love conditions our faith. Love causes us to hope even when faced with the hopelessly impossible. Love allows us to endure the hardship for the moment we step into His Glorious Light. God’s Love activates our faith. I can have trust and confidence in a number of things and it is all misdirected zeal until I know God’s Love and allow it to activate my faith, produce confident hope and empowers me to endure to the end. Faith is hearing the Word and a deep desire to know Him by Name. By knowing the Love of God for my life, I am convinced that He is worth the wait, all of my faith, confident hope and all my unwavering love. This is the place of miracles when all we want is to know Him more. He arrives just in time to save the day so we can live happily ever after. Faith is will allow you to live the love story God has written for your life. If we commit everything we are, everything we want and everything we know to loving Him more – we will be complete because our faith is activated by His Great Love for us!
Matthew 16:13-19 (NLT)
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”