God’s Call to Sinners

SINNER, WILL YOU HEED THE CALL TO REPENT?  Put your faith in Jesus Christ.
SINNER, WILL YOU HEED THE CALL TO REPENT? Put your faith in Jesus Christ.

God sent judgment upon the Israelites as they complained against God and Moses yet another time after God gave them a major victory over their enemies.

4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.  5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses:  “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  For there is no food and no water and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”  6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.  7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “we have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.”  So Moses prayed for the people.  8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.  Numbers 21:4-9

 Jesus references this episode in the historical account of the wanderings of the people of Israel found in Numbers when explaining to Nicodemus the way of salvation in John chapter 3.

14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  John 3:14-18

Notice that the Israelites confessed their sin and asked Moses to pray for them.  God instructed Moses to make a fiery serpent, set it on a pole, and then tell the people of Israel to look at the serpent and be saved.  God, once again demonstrated His mercy, love and forgiveness to His wayward children.  In the same way, sinners who confess their sin, turn from sin and believe in Jesus Christ are saved from the judgment of God in hell.  Just as there were Israelites who died after being bitten by the fiery serpents, there will be those who will refuse to repent and believe in Jesus Christ and so will perish in hell.

 “So dear sinner, will you heed the call and repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ?  His mercy and grace given to us in the gospel, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, are sufficient to save the most wretched sinner.”

In Second Peter chapter three, Peter writes about the return of Jesus Christ and says the supposed delay is due to God’s mercy.

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:8-9

In Ezekiel chapter 18 after the prophet has warned the people of Israel to turn from sin to live, and exhorted those who were righteous to continue in righteousness so they would not be judged, God expresses His heart toward the rebellious.

30 “Therefore I will judge you. O house of Israel, everyone according to his ways,” says the Lord God.  “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.  31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  For why should you die, O house of Israel?  32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of the one who dies,” says the Lord God.  “Therefore turn and live!”  Ezekiel 18:30-32

God wants all to turn from their sin and turn to Him so they may have eternal life.  The Father in Heaven wants all to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ, placing their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior.

Twice in both the first and second chapters of 1 Timothy Paul reveals the mercy and grace that God has in store for sinners who turn to Him and turn from their sin.

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.  17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.  1 Timothy 1:12-17

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle-I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying-a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.  1 Timothy 2:3-7  

This comports exactly with what Jesus said in Matthew the eleventh chapter:

27 “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you  and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you  will find rest for your souls.  30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:27-30

God has said in so many different ways that His will and desire is for sinners to repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior so they may have eternal life and be saved from God’s just judgment in hell.  Those who repent of their sin and believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose again from the dead have eternal life.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”… Acts 3:19

So dear sinner, will you heed the call and repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ?  His mercy and grace given to us in the gospel, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, are sufficient to save the most wretched sinner.  Won’t you trust your loving Savior and Lord Jesus Christ?  God bless you.

by Eliza

image: PD

Originally posted at Holding Forth His Word: God’s Call to Sinners



Do You Love the Sinner?

Do you love the sinner?  Do you treat others the way you want to be treated?  Do you follow the example of Jesus Christ who showed His love to sinners?  If you have the Spirit of Christ indwelling you then you will love the sinner.  Jesus instructed us how we should love the sinner.  We can see where we stand if we compare our behavior with the commandments of Christ.  We can see if we do love the sinner.

Jesus not only told us how to love the sinner, He also modeled that behavior for us.  When He was hanging upon the cross, dying for the sins of the world, dying to reconcile us to God, He said these statements from the cross showing His love for the sinner.

33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right had and the other on the left.  34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  And they divided His garments and cast lots.  Luke 23:33-34

Later on He assured one of the criminals of eternal life for his faith in Jesus Christ.

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”  40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”  42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.  43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:39-43

 Showing us how to love our family members, the sinners in our families, He reached out to His mother while hanging on the cross.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”  26 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”  And from that hour that disciple took her to his home.  John 19:25-27

 In each instance He showed no concern for Himself, only for the sinners that He ministered to while dying on the cross, a death that for Him was unjust, but for us, our justification.  He did not retaliate; He did not cry out, He did not call curses on or threaten those who were persecuting Him.  He asked the Father to forgive them because the crucified Him in ignorance.  He assured the dying criminal of eternal life because of his statement of faith.  He delivered His mother to His beloved disciple so that she would be taken care of in the faith.  He did all for others, He did all for sinners.  Do you love the sinner?

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught sinners how to love sinners through many amazing exhortations beginning in Matthew chapter five.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’  22 “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.  And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council.  But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.  23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.  27 You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  30 “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you ; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for you whole body to be cast into hell.  31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’  32 “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.  33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’  34 “But I say to you, do not swear at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.  37 “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’  For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.  38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  39 “But I tell you not to resist an evil person.  But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  41 “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.  43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the tax collectors do so?  48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heave is perfect.”  Matthew 5:21-48

 Our relationship to the sinner is to mirror Christ’s love for the sinner and God’s gracious mercy given to all, the wicked as well as the righteous.  We must love the sinner from the heart for that is where all behavior originates.  We must be severe with ourselves so we can love the sinner with purity and God’s grace.  Our conduct must be honest and humble.  This high and lofty standard is impossible for any but the ones who have been born again by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and His awesome work on the cross for us and resurrection from the dead and who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Additionally, we cannot obey God’s commands if we are in fellowship with false teachers and compromisers because we will be led by the flesh, and flesh begets flesh.  We must walk in the light as He is in the light in order to obey and love the sinner.  Do you love the sinner?

God continues to give His exhortation to love the sinner in the epistles; and in 1 Peter chapter three we are given glorious commands that embody true love for the sinner, the saved and the lost.

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.  10 For “He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.  11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and purse it.  12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”  13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?  14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.  “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”  15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  1 Peter 3:8-16

 Ultimately we love the sinner by doing good.  If our brothers or sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ sin against us, we must ask the Lord to bless them.  We can seek to reconcile with them, but it must be done on the Lord’s terms with grace and forgiveness.  If unbelievers attack our good conduct in Christ Jesus, we must stand our ground and continue to do good, sharing the truth about Jesus Christ and His gospel as we have opportunity.

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps:  22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”,23  who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;  24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might lie for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.  25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:21-25

 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.  1 Peter 4:19

 Our commitment to doing good and loving the sinner bears witness to our understanding that we are doing the will of God and He is leading us in all of life.  As we love the sinner, we exemplify the glory of Jesus Christ and His love for mankind.  Let us do good to all around us that God may be glorified and the sinner saved.  During the past few years, my wonderful Father has given my husband and me the opportunity to love a sinner, a family member who has gone astray.  We have seen Jesus answer prayers and make provision as we have served Him in loving the sinner.  Do you love the sinner?  May we remember the example that Jesus Christ our beloved Lord and Savior has given us, and love the sinner as He gives us grace and opportunity.  May the Lord bless us for this blessed task.

Our Friend

Jesus is the friend of sinners.  What an amazing declaration!  God, the Son of God, is our friend and has done everything possible for us to know Him as our Friend.  The religious and self-righteous will never understand nor desire His friendship.  But sinners, who know their need, greatly desire and delight in Jesus Christ’s friendship.

We have recorded for us the wonderful love of our Savior in the gospels.  What a delight it is to look at these verses and be reminded of Jesus Christ’s love for the sinner, which is the most powerful revelation of the love of God towards mankind.

9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office.  And He said to him, “Follow Me.”  So he arose and followed Him.  10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.  11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does you Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  13 But go and learn what this means:  ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  Matthew 9:9-13

 Jesus Christ perfectly displays the love of God the Father for mankind.  He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  Jesus Christ called Matthew, a tax collector, one of the most despised people of all Israel because of his vocation, and then Jesus ate with more tax collectors and other sinners.  What was His response to the criticism levied against Him by the Pharisees because of this audacious neglect of proper religious protocol?  He declared without apology that He came for the sinner, to bring them to repentance and reconcile them to God.  Our disease of sin has separated us from God and Jesus Christ has taken the full holy judgment due us when He died upon the cross for our sins so that we can be forgiven, and He demonstrated with power that He is the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead, and that He alone has the authority to give eternal life to whomever He pleases.  Jesus is the friend of sinners!  What should the sinner’s response be to Jesus Christ?  I love the verses out of Matthew chapter eight.

1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, I You are willing, you can make me clean.”  3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  Matthew 8:1-3

 Just like the leper who was untouchable because of his physical defilement, we too, as sinners, can come to Jesus supplicating Him to make us clean from our sin.  He is willing!  Just as He confirmed to the leper His willingness to cleanse him of his leprosy, so too our Savior makes it clear throughout the Scriptures that He is willing to declare the sinner cleansed of the defilement of sin, when the sinner repents of his/her sin and puts his/her faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord.  He has taken care of our greatest need, our need to be forgiven for our sins that we may be reconciled to God the Father.  He died upon the cross for our forgiveness and rose from the dead for our justification.  Jesus is the friend of sinners!

1 So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.  2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.  When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”  3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”  4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6  “But that you may know that the Son of Man as power on earth to forgive sins”-then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”  7 And he arose and departed to his house.  Matthew 9:1-7

 Jesus first forgave the paralytic, and then to confirm His power to forgive sins, He healed the paralytic merely by commanding him to arise, take up his bed and go to his house.  What an amazing display of God’s glorious mercy, grace and love.  The ones who questioned Him in their hearts were the scribes, the keepers of the Scripture.  They didn’t even recognize the One Whom the Scriptures reveal, nor did they know that they too were sinners and needed forgiveness.  Jesus Christ demonstrated His power to forgive sins as God in this passage, first by forgiving the paralytic, then by knowing what the scribes were thinking in their hearts, and finally by healing the paralytic.  He knows our hearts, and those who truly see their sin, believe what the Scriptures say about the Savior, and desire their sins to be forgiven, He will not turn away.  Jesus is the friend of sinners!

In both of the gospels of Matthew and Luke the general accusation given against Jesus Christ is that He is a friend of tax collectors and sinners.  Immediately after this revelation in the gospel of Luke, Jesus again demonstrates His love for sinners.

34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  35 “But wisdom is justified by all her children.”  36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him.  And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.  37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,  38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”  40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something  to say to you.”  So he said, “Teacher, say it.”  41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors.  One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both.  Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”  And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”  44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet sine the time I came in.  46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.  47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.  But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  Luke 7:34-48

 The religious elites unaware of their own wickedness and oblivious to the mercy of God kept their distance from “sinners”, never realizing they too needed God’s forgiveness for their sins.  Jesus though came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).  Jesus came to save sinners, because that is the good pleasure of God the Father.  Jesus Christ demonstrated His love for sinners by accepting the love and worship of this woman who was a sinner and then forgiving her.  He also demonstrated His love towards those blinded by their religious labors, trusting in their own works to justify themselves before Holy God, by revealing the truth to them about God and His desire for all to be saved.  Jesus is the friend of sinners!

There are many passages throughout the New Testament books that attest to this love of God for the sinner demonstrated to us through His Son Jesus Christ.  I would like to focus on verses that were written by the apostle John as God gave him revelation by His Holy Spirit.

9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  12 No one has seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  1 John 4:9-15

 14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  John 3:14-21

When any sinner, by God’s gracious mercy, repents of their sin and places their faith in Jesus Christ, their sins are forgiven and they are reconciled to God Almighty.  No longer are they under the bondage of sin, Satan, and sure damnation.  They are forgiven and given eternal life and can live for God’s glory as they trust and obey Him.  All because of the love of God the Father who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and rise again from the dead so that we can walk in newness of life.  When we see Jesus, the friend of sinners, we see the Father and can know that our sins are forgiven and we are the beloved of God, and all those who have like precious faith as we have are our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.  We have a heavenly godly family with God our Father watching over us, Jesus Christ interceding for us, and the Holy Spirit indwelling us.  All because Jesus is the friend of sinners!

ED. NOTE: Who was it that called Jesus a “friend of the sinners?”

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.”
Matthew 11:19

“And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? hey are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.

“The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!”
Luke 7:31-34

Enduring Faith

Enduring Faith

Jesus asked this rhetorical question in Luke chapter 18:

…”Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:8

Why would Jesus Christ ask this question about faith?  Jesus asked this question right after describing His return to earth and the general tenor of the times before His return.  He refers to Noah and Lot when describing the activities and heart interests of the human race prior to His return to illustrate that mankind will not be thinking about His return and the sure judgment they will experience.

26 “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:  27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot:  They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, the built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”   Luke 17:26-30

It is noteworthy to consider that just a very few people were saved when God sent the flood upon the world in the days of Noah and rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  The days will be spent in mundane and “normal” human activity without a thought about God or about the condition of the soul, much as we see the situation around us today, keeping in mind that this also applies to those who are religious.

Jesus goes on to give two parables after this warning about His return, one before the question we are considering and one following.  I don’t want to get into the details of either parable, but I do want to make the point that there will be severe persecution of believers before the return of Jesus Christ, and those who belong to Christ acknowledge their sin before an holy and awesome, but merciful God.

6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.  7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8

9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14

Although, this parable doesn’t directly relate to the days before Christ comes, it does relate to faith, and it is this faith Jesus is asking about in Luke 18:8.  We see much of the self-righteousness displayed by religious people who love themselves, but don’t love God or their neighbors.  We see few who humbly call upon God confessing to be sinners. We live in the times described by Paul in

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than loves of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such turn away!  2 Timothy 3:1-5

 “[Jesus] refers to Noah and Lot when describing the activities and heart interests of the human race prior to His return to illustrate that mankind will not be thinking about His return and the sure judgment they will experience.”

We see these attitudes and behaviors in churches all around us today!

In the thirteenth chapter of Mark, Jesus Christ again warns about the proliferation of evil before His return.

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say:  “Take heed that no one deceives you.  6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.  7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.  8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles.  These are the beginnings of sorrows.  9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues.  You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.  10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak.  But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.  12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Mark 13:5-13

21 “Then if anyone says to you. ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it.  22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.” Mark 13:21-23

Jesus is specifically warning His followers, those who belong to Him that deception and persecution are going to be rampant before His return.  Jesus definitely spent a great deal of His teaching ministry warning both believers and unbelievers about persecution and deception.

When Jesus Christ began His teaching ministry He taught His disciples and the religious about His kingdom and He also warned them about deceit and deception.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  16  will know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.  21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Matthew 7:13-23

So Jesus Himself constantly warned His disciples and others about self-deceit and deception of others.

Deception surrounds us like cellophane covering a package.  It has been ushered in by many but there is a common thread that joins the religiously deceptive together, that is they divorce faith from the Word of God, the Bible.  Friedrich Schleiermacher wrote On Religion in the late 1700’s where he divorced faith from the teaching of the Scriptures, and so it has gone on and on and on.  Today many Christians follow the writings of those who despise the Scriptures.  One such highly esteemed individual, C. S. Lewis, wrote what is considered to be a treatise on the Christian faith, Mere Christianity, without once quoting the Bible.  It seems odd that a “Christian apologist” would defend the Christian faith without reference to the Bible.  This seems particularly strange when we are told in Scriptures:

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”  Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.  1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.  1 Peter 1:22-2:3

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory:  “This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”  18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.  19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  2 Peter 1:16-21

That Satan has raised up these false teachers who divorce faith from the sure Word of God should cause us all to be very careful about whom we give our allegiance to and to make sure that we heed the warnings of Scripture and the Holy Spirit so we are not led astray and away from biblical faith.

So we can see and understand the urgency of Jesus Christ’s question in Luke chapter 18:

…”Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:8

Based upon the deceit of the human heart, the deception that we daily imbibe, the persecution of Jesus’ elect, and the evil of the world, is genuine faith even possible?

26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”  27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”  Luke 18:26-27

And so like the humble tax collector we need to throw ourselves upon the mercy of God pleading for the gift of faith, knowing we deserve only the evil of this world for we also are vile wicked sinners who merit only God’s just judgment and wrath.  We need to beseech God our Father to deliver us from the deception of the devil that lies hidden in the works of false teachers.  We need to plead with our Savior Jesus Christ to bless our hearts with a love of His Word that shuts out the barrage of evil from the world.  We need to implore the Holy Spirit to raise up the truth of God’s Word as a bastion of faith against the wiles and lies of the evil one.  These are the prayers that we must entreaty the Father with due to the wickedness of these times.  Yet, those who continue in the deceit of their hearts and the deception of this world are justly receiving what they have earned and do not realize that the condemnation of God in this life is tempered by His mercy and grace for His elect, but in everlasting judgment there is only fiery wrath and torment with no relief or respite.

by Eliza

image: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Originally posted at Holding Forth His WordEnduring Faith




Belief: The Content of Our Faith

BELIEF: The Content of Faith
BELIEF: The Content of Faith

During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ encountered the same types of unbelief that are prevalent today within the church.  He was opposed by those who rejected the Scriptures as the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, the Sadducees, whose counterparts today embrace liberal theology; He was opposed by those who added to or took away from the revelation of God in the Holy Scriptures, the Pharisees, whose counterparts today include all branches of Christendom; Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and Evangelicals; He was opposed by those who studied the Word of God through the grid of man-made doctrines, the scribes, whose counterparts today are the theologians who twist the Scriptures to make their pet doctrines fit within the confines of Sacred Writ.  Listen to what Jesus Christ has to say to those who rejected the truth and Him, and followed the enemy of our souls in their unbelief.

 13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.  14 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers.  Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.  15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.  Matthew 23:13-15

 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.  26 Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside may be clean also.  27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.  Matthew 23:25-28

 These unbelievers have no place in the kingdom God and they also keep others out through their false teaching.  These unbelievers are children of hell and those they convert are even greater sons of hell.  These unbelievers look righteous on the outside, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.  They have an appealing appearance, but inwardly they are dead and evil.  These religious deceivers are hypocrites!

Jesus warned His disciples against the teaching of these wicked workers, and by extension warns us also.

 “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6

 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Matthew 16:12 

 This same warning is repeated in the Scriptures multiple times by Jesus Christ, the apostles and the prophets.  It is important to remember that what we believe signifies whether or not we have genuine saving faith.  We cannot divorce belief from faith.  If we believe things that contradict the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints then we believe a lie and are devoid of saving faith.  Jesus Christ warned us to be on our guard and to beware of those who would deceive us.  He actually uttered this exhortation right after the disciples asked Him about the end of the age.

 “During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ encountered the same types of unbelief that are prevalent today within the church.”

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be?  And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  4 And Jesus answered and said to them:  “Take heed that no one deceives you.”  Matthew 24:3-4

 It is significant that the very first thing He says is take heed and do not be deceived.  The hallmark of the time before Jesus Christ returns is deception within the church and apostasy.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,…  2 Thessalonians 2:3

 In order for the Antichrist to deceive the whole world, the church must be rendered ineffective and blind so they too follow this evil one and give him acclaim.  The false teaching and error that has pervaded the church ultimately makes the church the supporter of the Antichrist.  As the apostle John wrote in 1 John chapter 2:

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour.  1 John 2:18

 These antichrists, the purveyors of false teaching and false doctrine within the church, who are not of the truth, are preparing the way for the Antichrist and the one thing that defines the multifaceted deception of these many antichrists is their love of the lie and rejection of the truth.

11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but has pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.  1 John 2:19 

 They reject the truth, embrace the lie.  They are the enemies of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and must be rejected and exposed by all those who love Jesus Christ and abide in His truth, the Word of God, by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 The anointing from God our Father by the Holy Spirit protects us from the lies of the evil one and his cohorts.  The truth of the Word of God that tells us all about Jesus Christ, all we need to know and understand about Him, is our faithful guide and protector.  We are protected from the lies of the antichrists as we hold fast to the doctrine that is taught in the Scriptures and reject the vain and empty opinions of man as they teach contrary to the Word of God, led by the devil.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.  21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.  22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?  He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.  23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either, he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.  24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.  If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  25 And this is the promise that He has promised us-eternal life.  27 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.  28 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you , and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.   1 John 2:20-28

 We must judge everything we believe by the standard of the Word of God, our very souls are at stake.  Any doctrine or teaching that negates what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ must be rejected!  We must judge everything that we are taught by the faithful Word of God, the integrity of the gospel is at stake.  We must rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us as we study God’s Word so we may share the truth for the sake of the world and the glory of God.

by Eliza

image: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Originally posted at Holding Forth His WordBelief: The Content of Our Faith





Faith: Belief in Action

FAITH: Belief in Action
FAITH: “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  Hebrews 11:1-2. 

 Faith, as discussed before, is believing what God has said in His Word.  However, this belief is not static, but it is very dynamic as illustrated for us by the famous Hall of Faith given in Hebrews 11.  Each individual that is commended for their faith demonstrated it by their actions as recorded in Hebrews 11.  As James said in James chapter 2

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  James 2:17

 So genuine faith will result in works that verify that faith.  James mentions two individuals who demonstrated their faith by their works, whereas, there are numerous individuals who are extolled for their faith in Hebrews 11.  I would like to focus on one of the individuals who is promoted by both James and Paul, the harlot Rahab.

Rahab is always linked with her vocation whenever she is referenced in the New Testament, except when named in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  Because of her profession she would seem to be a very unlikely candidate for being a glowing example of faith, but that is just what she is.  We learn about Rahab in Joshua chapter 2.

 “So genuine faith will result in works that verify that faith.”

1 Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. 2  And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” 3  So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.”  4 Then the woman took the two men and hid them.  So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  5 “And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out.  Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.”  6 (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)  7 Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords.  And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.  8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men:  “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.  10 “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.  12 Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token.  13 And spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”  14 So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours.  And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”  15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall.  16 And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you.  Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned.  Afterward you may go your way.” 17 So the men said to her:  “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.  19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless.  And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.  20 And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.”  21 Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.”  21 And she sent tem away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.  Joshua 2:1-21

 22 But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” 23  And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had.  So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel.  Joshua 6:22-23

 So the spies, prompted by Joshua the leader of the Israelites, honored the covenant they had made with Rahab.  She later married Salmon and begot Boaz who is in the lineage of King David and of Jesus Christ.

Rahab displayed extraordinary faith in sheltering the spies, protecting them from the king’s men, requesting protection for herself and her family members, sending them out another way, and tying the scarlet rope in her window as a covenant sign between herself and the spies.  Her actions were motivated by her belief that God is God in heaven and on the earth.  She was fearful like her fellow countrymen, but unlike them, she didn’t turn to the idols of the land to save her.  Instead, she turned to the One true God who rules over heaven and earth, and she didn’t request salvation for herself alone, but also for her whole family.   By God’s mercy and grace the testimony that she gave to her family members was believed by them and so they too were saved from God’s wrath upon that heathen city.  Read the commendation given to her in James 2 and Hebrews 11:

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  James 2:25 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.  Hebrews 11:31

 This work of faith by the harlot Rahab is repeated over and over in the lives of those who turn from the lie and embrace the truth of the gospel, being saved from God’s just wrath, and serve Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Who do not continue in the vain opinions of men and the doctrines of demons but rely wholly on the Scriptures as their source of the truth of God.  Who boldly proclaim the gospel to all for God’ glory and the salvation of those who hear and believe.

8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place.  Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.  9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.  1 Thessalonians 1:8-10&

 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.  1 Thessalonians 2:13

May our Father in heaven be pleased with our work of faith as we serve Him, turning from the lies of the enemy to His truth in His Word the Bible in obedient faith, and sharing the glorious gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

by Eliza

image: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Originally posted at Holding Forth His Word: Faith: Belief in Action







Faith: Belief in God

FAITH: “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith is not some force, nor principle that we exercise and somehow receive what we speak.  Faith in its biblical definition is belief in God.  Even more specifically, faith is belief in God as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures and through His Son Jesus Christ.

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel.  For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”  17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:14-17

 Faith is belief in what the living God has declared in His Word the Bible about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation.  Zeroing in on faith as revealed in the Scriptures we can understand it in even finer detail.

6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “’Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  8 But what does it say?  “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):  9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  Romans 10:6-11

 Faith is believing what the Scripture says, that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and was buried, and rose again from the dead the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4  This is faith, believing what God has told us in the Scriptures about His Son, Jesus Christ and the gospel of His Son.  Faith is believing in our hearts the truth about Jesus Christ, the Son of God and confessing our belief in Him to others.

Faith set against the backdrop of unbelief is brought into sharp relief as the Lord teaches us about faith from the Scriptures.

16 For who, having heard, rebelled?  Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?  17 Now with whom was He angry forty years?  Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?  18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?  19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.   1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.  2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.  3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:  “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”…  Hebrews 3:16-4:3

 “Faith…believes the revealed Word of God, the gospel of our salvation, resulting in obedience and the bountiful blessings of God the Father upon us through His Son Jesus Christ.”

Unbelief is rebellion against the revealed Word of God, the gospel of our salvation, and ushers in sin, disobedience, and the outpouring of the wrath of God.  Faith, in contrast, believes the revealed Word of God, the gospel of our salvation, resulting in obedience and the bountiful blessings of God the Father upon us through His Son Jesus Christ.

There are times that God specifically speaks to us regarding a work that He has appointed for us to do for His honor, glory and the furtherance of the gospel.  He will make it abundantly clear that He has called us to this task.  I believe that this guidance from our Heavenly Father by the Holy Spirit for our God given assignment will be met in our hearts by the gift of faith for that specific work.  Twice God has assured me that He is with me Father, Son and Holy Spirit before He called me to stand up for His truth against the error that rages against the pure and holy Word of God and the gospel of our salvation.  This is another legitimate exercise of faith that is bequeathed to us by the Holy Spirit, as believers, for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.  We believe what God has told us and set about doing His will as He enables us by the Holy Spirit.

1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers:  Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.  2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Acts 13:1-2

 We can know this is the work of God because it will agree with the Scriptures and we will see God work through us.  We will rely on God the Holy Spirit and He will strengthen us in our faith for the work and the trials that will accompany the work.  We will give all glory and credit to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him for the outcome of our obedience.

So faith is specifically belief in the One True Living God and His Son Jesus Christ Who gave Himself as our ransom by His blood shed on the cross and is our justification through His resurrection from the dead and has poured out upon us His Holy Spirit so that we can be equipped to serve Him in this evil fallen world.  Faith is belief in what God has told us in His Holy Word, the Bible about His Son, and the gospel of our salvation.

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,… 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

  Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.  1 Corinthians 15:11

 22 “Therefore, having obtained help from God to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come-23 that the Christ would suffer, the He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”  Acts 26:22-23

 Let us believe what God tells us in His Word, and set upon the work that He has called us to do.

by Eliza

image: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Originally posted at Holding Forth His Word: Faith: Belief in God




%d bloggers like this: