Page 9 - March 2020 - Truth & Tidings
P. 9

The Bible Says Our Faith Is Ours     (v19). And again, in chapter 4: “The word
          Notice the possessive pronouns and   preached did not profit them, not being
        adjectives associated with faith. “But to   mixed with faith in them that heard it” (v2).
        him that worketh not, but believeth on   In Jesus’ day, the reason for the Jews’
        him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is   unbelief was the attractiveness of their
        counted for righteousness” (Rom 4:5).  We   Jewish  ceremonies  and  rituals.  The
        see this distinction throughout the New   “invisible” aspect of faith cut against their
        Testament  and perhaps no more clearly   religious instincts, and understandably
        than in the synoptic Gospels. In the Gospels   so, for that was all they knew. The author
        we read of “little faith” and “great faith.”   of  Hebrews  tackles  this  issue head on
        Some are said to have no faith, but others   by describing the life of the fathers they
        asked the Lord to “increase our faith.” In   revered as one governed by the “evidence
        Luke the Lord prays for Peter’s faith to “fail   of things not seen” (11:1). The very ground
        not.” In Romans we read that Abraham   upon which Solomon’s temple sat was “not
        was “strong in faith.” Paul reminds the   made of things which do appear” (11:3).
        Colossians of the “steadfastness” of their   Noah, who is marked by the tactile activity
        faith and the Thessalonians that their faith   of preparing an ark, planting a vineyard
        “groweth exceedingly.” But none of these   and building an altar, only picked up his
        inquire after a faith that “separates the   tools because he was “warned of God of
        children of God from the reprobate.” To tell   things not seen as yet” (11:7). Their greatest
        someone to “believe” is not doublespeak   patriarch was first “faithful Abraham” (Gal
        or a euphemism.                      3:9) before he became “father Abraham”
        Faith in the Hebrews Epistle         (Joh 8:56), for he went into a land “not
          Hebrews 11 is not concerned so much   knowing whither he went” (Heb 11:8).
        with strong or weak faith and certainly   Those who sat on “Moses’ seat” (Mat 23:2)
                                             and were “Moses’ disciples” (Joh 9:28) had
        makes no mention of an exclusive spiritual   overlooked the principle that governed
        faith. The theme is faith as a principle   his life – he “endured, as seeing him who
        and not faith on a spectrum. There are no   is invisible” (Heb 11:27). “For we walk by
        adjectives beside faith in this chapter, only   faith, not by sight” (2Co 5:7). From Genesis
        prepositions. The author’s intention is not   to Gideon to Golgotha it has always been
        to underline the exceptional faith of these
        men and women but to put a spotlight on   by faith.
        the fact of their faith. It was by, through,   Faith in the First Family 
        and in faith that they lived and died.   In Genesis 4, the first brother’s gift was
          We  see  the  theme  of  faith,  or  rather   in keeping with his heart of unbelief. It
        the lack of it, beginning in Hebrews 3,   was not that he could not ascertain which
        that some who came out of Egypt could   offering God desired but that he wanted to
        not enter into rest “because of unbelief”   approach God on his own Faustian terms.
        ⁷ The remaining Scripture quotations in this   It was not his lack of wisdom but that he
        article are from the KJV.            was “of that wicked one” (1Jn 3:12). The
        ⁸ Hab 2:4; Mat 9:2,22,29; 15:28; Mar 2:5; 5:34;   second brother understood this principle:
        10:52; Luk 7:50; 8:25,48; 17:5,19; 18:42; 22:32; Rom   “Without faith it is impossible to please
        1:8; 1Co 2:5; 15:14,17; 2Co 10:15; Eph 1:15; Php   him” (Heb 11:6).
        2:17; Col 1:4; 2:5; 1Th 1:8; 3:5,6,10; 2Th 1:3; Phm
        5-6; Jas 1:3; 2:17; 1Pe 1:7,9,21; 2Pe 1:5; 1Jn 5:4.   Abel is distinguished by the quality of his
                                                                -Continued on p. 76
                                      I  March 2020  73 73
   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14