431global posted8 months, 2 weeks ago431 GLOBAL SPOTLIGHTS~ By JH FORESTER
Whether a person is religiously inclined or not, everyone puts his faith in something. He may not believe in God, but he will believe in himself, the security of his bank account, the value of education, the superiority of a certain form of government, the integrity of a friend. So, faith takes on many forms. But it was to man’s relationship to his Creator and his confidence in the outworking of God’s purposes in that which Jesus referred when He said: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? “Luke 18:8.
What is “the faith” that Jesus referred to, and why is it so important to each one of us? Obviously, Jesus was not referring to many different ideologies or even to what man might accomplish of his own will when he spoke of “the faith.” Rather He was referring to God and confidence in what He would do for the blessing of mankind, saying: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” (Luke 18:7, 8) However, Jesus did not indicate that God was going to use many channels or promote variant ideologies in dealing with mankind, each one to please the taste of some, when he spoke of “the faith.”
Similarly, the apostles indicated that there was a faith and a way that was pleasing to God. Concerning Paul’s ministry in Ephesus the account at Acts 19:9 states: “But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus..” Here the true faith was called “that way,” and, indeed, it was a way of life for those early Christians. Even when on trial Paul boldly admitted “that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” These early Christians did not each one go his own way or follow his own line of thought but endeavored to understand and follow closely the teachings of Christ and to gain insight into the mind of God, that their faith might have a solid base. As Paul wrote, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus :That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Each one was not teaching a different philosophy, creed or belief, but they were “likeminded” and, in fact, believed in “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all .”—Acts 24:14; Rom. 15:5, 6; Eph. 4:5, 6.
Can we have that “one faith” today? If you feel that your religious conviction is that one original faith, can you back it up with Scripture? Do you know it well enough to impart it to others, making disciples of people of all nations as the early Christians did? This should be the goal of everyone who truly follows in the footsteps of Jesus. Regardless of a person’s belief, it is good to know exactly what one’s religion teaches and the basis for it.
Our faith should be solid like a rock-mass that sinks deep into the earth and cannot be moved regardless of the forces pushing against it. But some have faith that is more like sandy soil that gives or shifts under pressure or even washes away completely when the rains pour down. Still others are so devoid of substance to their faith that it is like quicksand that not only is completely lacking in support but also will envelop and destroy anyone trusting in it. —Matt. 7:24-27.
Faith, to be like a rock-mass, must be based on truth. It must be clearly defined in one’s mind, solidly established on accurate knowledge and facts. Such a faith will stand up to questions and opposing viewpoints. Our faith should be a God-given faith. But how can we be sure? As 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. “ Yes, we have to keep testing and examining our faith: Is it logical, is it reasonable, does it harmonize with the book of faith, the Bible?
Many have found their faith to be like the sandy soil that gave out on them under stress, having been built on traditions, human philosophies, not on the rocklike foundation of truth. This was the case of a woman who lost faith in the value of prayer and refused to teach her children to pray, because she had been taught to pray for the wrong thing, and when her prayers were not answered her faith was destroyed. She had built it on sandy soil. The individual she prayed for was violating God’s righteous commandments, yet she thought God should miraculously protect him. She was encouraged in this belief by her religious adviser, but her faith was sadly misplaced.
Even a rocklike faith may be shattered in time if it is not constantly built up, reinforced and strengthened; so it is no surprise if the uncertain beliefs of some youths are eroded when subject to attack. No wonder they are startled when a professor commences their course by an attack on the basis for their faith, saying: “The Bible is the greatest collection of mythology in the history of Western civilization.” Certainly, the faith of such students will never be built up by those who lack it, those casting doubts on God’s Word. Rather, as Romans 10:17 tells us, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So, to reinforce and strengthen one’s faith, hearing the Word of God with understanding is required. —Jas. 1:5-8; Neh. 8:8.
The true faith directs us toward God and strengthens us for His service. True faith is not just a passive belief now any more than it was for Jesus and His apostles. It requires a solid foundation and real effort to build it up through proper study and associations. It is vitally important for each Christian to build up their faith, because it governs their course in life and, in fact, their relationship to their Creator. As Paul wrote: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Again, Paul declared: “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Does your faith mean that much in your life?—Gal. 3:26; 2:20; 2Thess. 1:3.
In the next post, I will consider how our faith can be built up, stay tuned.
If you are in or visiting the Sacramento California area and would like to join our services, prayer and marketplace Bible study meetings please contact Pastor J for times and locations. Jesus never said this journey would be easy, but He makes it much easier. Come to Him!…God bless you!