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Friday: Further Thought ~ Covenant Faith — 8 Comments

  1. The word "faith" in its spiritual sense has become almost like a religious shrine. We sing about it, write sermons about it, and have whole quarters of Sabbath School lessons about it. It has become synonymous with religious denominations as though Adventist faith is somewhat different from Anglican faith and so on.

    Perhaps we need to step back from all the spiritual verbosity and look for a moment at its secular meaning. And to do that I need to tell a story.

    When Carmel and I married, my first teaching job was in Perth, Western Australia. I had been notified of the position at fairly short notice and to cut the story short I elected to drive there - 4000km. I had a 20-year old FX Holden car, a New Zealand driver's licence (barely used) and about $200 cash. Carmel didn't have a driver's license. The road crossing the Nullabor Desert in those days was a potholed dirt track for 360km. It took us a week. We slept in the car at night. Carmel trusted me to get us to Perth. She was so trusting that I often claim that she curled up on the seat beside me as I drove and slept most of the way. She simply trusted me that I would not only get us to our destination but solve any problems we had along the way.

    When it comes to the crunch, faith is trust. And trust is a relationship. It is that simple.

    • Maurice- how do we make a distinction between faith and foolishness? or real faith and blind faith? Did Abraham exhibit 'real faith'(based of experience) or 'blind faith' (doesn't base on anything but someone trusting that person or thing without any evidence.
      Brigitte- Does faith works by itself? 'Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God'. Bible says the devil also believes.
      E.g I leave to go to work one day, my husband was outside the same time and toot his horn to get my attention. He came over to me to let me know one of my tire was flat and I cant go to work like that, I had to drive approx half hr. I told him I cant stay to get it blown up, neither I cant wait until he gets dress to take me because I will be late. I prayed to Jesus to take me and to work a miracle as he did in several other instances, I took my mind off the vehicle and placed it on Jesus. I got to work, parked and headed to work. In the evening when I leave work I looked at the tire, then I was convinced the tire was flat. I jump in, pray for another miracle, drove home with the tire. Got home and thank Jesus for the miracle.
      I never drove with a flat tire before.
      Was that blind faith, faith, or foolishness?

      • Far be it from me to evaluate your miracle Lyn, but it just happened that on Thursday night, my wife Carmel, rang me to say that the U-shaped red light with an exclamation mark had lit up on the car dashboard. She asked what it meant. I told her that it meant the tyres were unequal in pressure and that she should check to see if she had a flat tyre. She rang back to say that the front right tyre was completely flat. I was out in the bush in the dark looking for owls at the time, so I told her to sit tight until I arrived to change the tyre for her. When I arrived 15 minutes later, I changed the tyre and Carmel was able to drive home. If she had tried to drive with the dead flat tyre she would have probably ruined both the tyre and probably the wheel as well. Further because it was a powered front wheel it would have been quite unstable to control. In our case, the miracle was that she didn't attempt to drive with it and I was close enough to change the tyre.

  2. I like how John describes faith as "the victory that overcomes the world"(1 John 5:4). It is active, always advancing, and is displayed for all to see in works that glorify God(Matt 5:14,16). Dead faith = unbelief. Professed faith is nothing if God is not glorified by good works in those who claim to believe. Either God is our Sovereign, or we are, and how we live will declare which in the judgment.

    Those who believe will do what they believe in, and belief in Jesus will lead to observing all He has commanded us(Matt 7:24; 28:20).

    I have been confronted by the idea expressed in question #2, and no answer was able to convince those who were happy to believe they did not need to be obedient in this life.

    Good works are crucial because every work will be brought into judgment, whether good or evil, open or secret(Eccl 12:13,14). The saints are shown as arrayed in white robes, which represent their good works of righteousness, which are defined by the covenant Law. Can I claim to have faith if this law condemns me?

    • I don't think anyone in this forum will tell you that being saved by grace means that you can do anything you like. Grace does not mean that you nod your head and say "Praise the Lord! Jesus saves!" and then go out and live a licentious life. It does mean that you will live a life that shows you love God and others, not in order to be saved, but because you are saved!

      The issue that I have with some of those who promote the importance of commandment keeping is that they tend to focus on finding more sins to overcome. Often they are so focused on finding new sins to repent from that they forget the big picture issues of loving one another.

      One of the important messages from the parable of the sheep and the goats is in Jesus response to the sheep:

      “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
      “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Mat 25:37-40

      I get a sense that these folk did these things because they were saved, not in order to be saved.

      Like any good tree, if you get the root right, the fruit will follow.

      • I don't recall reading on this forum that overcoming is not necessary, though it seemed suggested that "it can't be done". I have been confronted with this teaching in a local church where I was a member a while back. It is growing in acceptance among SDAs, and of course most other protestant denominations where the law is no longer seen as binding. We don't know who reads these posts/comments that never reply.

        Sorry to hear of those you know who search for sins while forgetting "the weightier matters of the Law". I've seen this before in a manner that might surprise some. It seems to have shifted to the other end of the pendulum swing of: "Jesus obeyed for me, so I'm covered", which is true in justification for sins we have done, yet forgets the "growing in grace" of sanctification, which I have heard from the pulpit is "not necessary", though Jesus prayed for it for all who would believe in Him(John 17:17), and is His concern expressed to Laodicea.

        Yes Maurice, the fruit of righteousness is the evidence of a saving faith. Isn't this the examination of self which Paul calls for and the Psalmist prayed for(2 Cor 13:5, Ps 139:23,24)?

      • Maurice and Robert – please allow me to highlight the matter of 'faith' and ‘good works’ just a bit more. Regarding the example of 'good works' given in Matt.25:37-39, I suggest to think of them as such - an example of ‘good works’ of faith.
        Kindness extended to all is the hallmark of the faithful Christian; it is his life in its entirety, not just the singular act of a ‘good deed’ here or there.

        I think the reason why the Christian Faith to a certain degree has become ‘impotent’ in the eyes of the world, is that it defines its ‘good works/talents’ mostly by the 'work' in the 'mission field/programs', and not making sure the individual Christian’s conduct is 'righteous' in all its interactions with his fellow man all the time.

        I looked at the example given to help understand the 'Kingdom of Heaven'. In Matt.25:14, Christ Jesus speaks of the man who gave his servants 'custody' of his goods as he went away; like Christ Jesus went away and left us the Holy Spirit to invest our faith.
        I suggest the example you gave from Matt.25:37-40 actually starts with Matt.25:25-40KJV (25)”And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast what is thine."
        If I am right that this 'Kingdonm of Heaven' is about our faith, then we need to invest our faith, engage in living the 'good works' we have been saved for, loving our fellow man, and so extend the blessings of God to all we come in contact with and reap a good return.

        The 'fearful' servant suffers the loss of that which was given to him to invest - faith. v.(28) "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents”. v.(29) “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance(faith): but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. v.(30) and cast ye the unprofitable/fearful servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

        I think this example relates to our living in God's kingdom here and now, living Christ's Faith, His Gospel. We invest the faith/talent daily by the 'good works/righteous living' Christ Jesus has redeemed us to live in: Eph.2:10KJV “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we should walk in them.
        If we do not manifest these ‘good works’ in our daily lives, not just on occasions of special 'acts of service', then our faith suffers and becomes unproductive.

        Maybe some have never consciously requested or realize that they live in the Kingdom of God, the new life, by faith and still base their life's actions on their 'own' motivation/decission to do 'good works'.. Living by faith is a disposition-decission, not an occational act of kindness.

        Matt.25:40KJV - The sheep hear the Savior’s voice and live rightly, express God’s righteousness, to all at all times for the Praise and Honor of God.

  3. Studying about Faith as it relates to our relationship with God has been another wonderful pleasure and opportunity to deepen my appreciation and understanding of the wisdom, justice, mercy and grace of our heavenly father.
    I have become aware that Faith is God's great equalizer in the world of man.

    Heb.11:10KJV “… 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.”
    The powerful and meek, young and old, rich and poor, humble and proud, skilled and unskilled, sick and healthy, all who believe come to the Father through/by faith; the Father is no respecter of persons.

    Eph.2:10KJV "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we should walk in them.
    With this understanding, our new life becomes the evidence of our faith vested in the Faith of Christ Jesus; as we live it by faith, it saves/protects/shields us from the sin of this world.

    John8:12KJV ”… I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
    All who believe and call our God their heavenly Father live their lives by faith according to His Word – the Life and Light of this world.

    v.1: ”Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
    v.2: ”By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.”
    v.3: ”For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
    v.4: ”For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our FAITH.


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