Wednesday, November 11, 2015

True Faith

Hebrews 3:14-16 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who, having heard, rebelled?

Our Wednesday night small group Bible Study is entering the ninth week in the Bible Fluency lesson sessions with an overview of the books of Hebrews, James and 1 John, focusing on the topic of “True Faith”. Kenneth Berding, a biblical scholar and college professor @ Biola University asks: How do you and I know that our faith is ‘true faith”? We know it, and everyone knows it because true faith shows up in the way that we live ... there is evidence of it. True faith will show itself to be true in what we do.

Have you ever heard this scenario question: Suppose that you were arrested for being a Christian and they put you on trial; would there be enough evidence to convict you? Meaning, is there enough evidence in the way that we live, that in fact, we truly do know Jesus Christ? Are we truly a Christian or just say that we are a Christian. Professor Berding gives us a simple memory hook in a poem: “I think that there’s a way to show our faith is true. It’s less in what we do.” But be sure about this, the Bible clearly teaches that salvation (the redemption of mankind from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on them everlasting happiness) is given by God’s grace alone, being access and received by faith alone in Christ alone. The gospels emphasize that we are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by faith in His name. We do not come into a “right” relationship with god by the things that we do; we enter through the gate of faith. Salvation is not by ‘works” whatsoever. We are saved because we believe by faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross alone for our salvation. But how do you and I know that it is “true faith”?

James 2:14, 20, 24, 26 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

There are three emphatic keys points about “true” faith given in Hebrews, James and 1 John: (1) People with “true” faith continue to believe. They believe in Jesus and faithfully face adversity. People who believe are people who continue to believe, not people who are not continuing to believe, which is a lack of evidence for faith. (2) People with “true” faith show it in what they do. They show it in their lives and it is seen in what they do (a) by counting their trials as joy for the lessons  gained, (b) by doing the Word and not just hearing the Word, (c) by showing no partiality over people based upon power, prestige, position or financial status, (d) by controlling their tongues, (e) by seeking true wisdom, (f) by avoiding unrighteousness, and (g) by praying in faith. Not just claiming to be a Christian, but showing it in their good works. They do not work to get saved, but work and do “good works” because they are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (3) People with “true” faith live it out in community. They are walking in the light of truth and purity, they are loving their brothers and sisters in Christ, they are not loving the lawless God-rejecting world system, and the are always testing the spirits to be sure that they are from God. Never avoiding the organized church (the body of Christ) and trying to live out their faith on their own, outside the brotherhood of Christ. Not being one of those who want a personal faith and relationship with the Lord, but do not really want to be a part of the faith community, especially when there is leadership and submission to leadership involved. This idea that one can have a personal faith that does not have any interaction with other people is not what the Bible teaches about  true faith. Real true faith is lived out in Christian community by the citizens of heaven for the kingdom of God. We will not be perfect in how we live out our faith, but a true Believer confesses their sins and stays on the commissioned mission. We need to continue on in true faith, through the ups and downs in our lives

1 John 2:19They 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.

In Christ, Brian

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