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The Matter of Faith

Faith is the central tenet of scripture, the foundation on which our relationship with YHVH stands. As food is important for the physical body, faith is important for all the spiritual aspects of life. It is simply an amazing and wonderful gift given through another gift — the gift of grace.

Why is grace a gift? Because grace is something that God gives to us unconditionally, because of His great love, and this includes His favour, mercy and pardon. It also gives us the chance to repent when we err from Him. Grace is also the ability to achieve something that we cannot achieve ourselves; it is the companion of wisdom.

Have you ever thought of it like that? Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God....

"But without faith [love and obedience] it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]".... Hebrews 11:6 The Amplified Translation

But what is faith all about? Each of us will have a different understanding of it. That understanding will of course cause us to appropriate it differently in our lives. Some believe that simply having a religion substantiates a faith. Some have a hoping ethereal type, others buy into cosmic laws of attraction, mindfulness and positive thinking and others have the type of faith that God demands. By this, I mean that faith is linked directly to Him, because it comes from Him. Any other type of faith that does not link through a direct relationship to Him is not the faith the Bible talks about and God demands. If a person says that they have faith then it is wise to establish from where that faith comes and to whom it is directed. If things happen in a person’s life that they relate to a faith event and they do not have a relationship with YHVH, then the event is coming from somewhere or someone else.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Let’s try and break this down. The statement in itself is not quite as straightforward as it may seem.

It tells us that Faith is a substance. The substance is what is hoped for. But how can you have evidence of something that cannot be seen?

The scripture is both complex and simple. Can you think of something that cannot be seen but yet is there?

Electricity is not seen but the evidence of what it powers is. The air around is invisible but the evidence of you and I still breathing is there. When we turn on a light switch we operate it without knowing it. We are trusting that the power will surge down the cable and power up the bulb. God is an invisible substance. He is the divine energy of all the cosmos, in fact, His very existence precedes the beginning of the cosmos. Scientists have proved that the big bang existed but can’t explain what happened before it. I propose that they can’t explain that because the big bang came from the mind, thought and deed of God. You could say that He exists on the other side of the big bang. But where is the evidence? Hebrews 11: 1 tells us that this evidence is not seen. That puts us into a quandary because we look for the evidence. Our philosophy tells us that the basis of fact rests on evidence. However, when we look at it through the mind or eye of God we get a better view.

When God says something; when He uses the I AMtitle of His name we are witnessing a prophetic event. The thought and voice of God is uttering things into existence. The ‘I AM’ statement combines the wholeness of God in all His super nature. The statement in Hebrews is describing the same event. It tells us that with faith – putting our trust in God, what we say and believe, through His giving and wilful aspect will come about if we have a relationship with Him. In other words, Faith works through God and God works through us. Hebrews 11: 6 shows us that when we put that trust in God – allowing Him to work through us, He rewards us. There is, however a caveat: we must diligently seek Him, and we must not be double-minded as these passages in James tell us.

James 1:7, That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

James 4:8, Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

This passage clearly states that in order for faith or the result of faith to be in operation one must draw near to God and become dependent on Him.

Faith in the Bible is believing and trusting in YHVH. The scripture above tells us that faith in Him means that we do not trust in our own insights or understanding.

Proverbs 3:4 Then you will find favour and high regard in the sight of God and man. 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it

YHVH spoke to Abraham and gave him a promise that would affect all his descendants but Abraham had to believe it. Even Moses and Aaron saw the land of promise. They believed in the promises of God.

2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us--by me and Silvanus and Timothy--was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us

Philippians 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Let us now look to the covenant God made with Abraham. …Genesis 15:6 And the LORD took him outside and said, “Now look to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able.” Then He declared, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 7 The LORD also told him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”

Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Living in a pagan society, Abram would have witnessed the daily sacrifices of children in the fires of Molech. This would have been a normal occurrence for him, but God knew Abram’s heart. He knew that he would be faithful and have the resolve to walk with God even though he would come against resistance. By choosing God, Abram became Abraham who in turn through his seed begat a chosen people. By Abraham’s faith, new generations will be born. Follow the thread now. From Abraham Israel is birthed. This is the seed of Abraham - ‘all who believe in the God of Abraham and put their trust in him’, indeed all who are in Christ.

Yeshua said, however, that not all of Israel is the seed of Abraham. Romans 9:76 It is not as though God’s word has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are Abraham’s descendants are they all his children. On the contrary, “Through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 So it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as offspring.

The offspring are regarded as righteous as Abraham. He in essence through faith multiplied after himself. YHVH said to him this will be your inheritance. This was Abraham’s promise and we today are part of that promise. But that promise, physically is still to be fulfilled because the promise of scripture is a restorative one. In faith, it has already occurred.

We have to believe without doubt that in God’s plan, His promises are already fulfilled. In order for us to receive and walk into them we have to believe and obey Him. God is fundamentally telling Abraham; ‘I am going to restore the breach that happened in heaven and on earth and I’m going to use you to do it.’ But we also have to realise that what God chose to do was because of His name not because of Abraham.

As believers we cannot have faith or trust in anything else but YHVH. The scriptures remind us constantly of the type of relationship YHVH is looking for.

But what faith does the world rely on? Cosmic energies, positive thought and mindfulness are the trend of our ever-increasing secular society. Even in the church today areas of disbelief in miracles and the gifts and offices prevail. Theological arguments abound as to whether the apostolic ministry and signs that accompany it are still apparent. Even the idea of God as Father is being discussed among clergy as to whether it is a problematic pronoun for a society that has, in all intent and purpose, lost its identity.

His position as the head and King of His house and the Father of Jesus is being undermined. This undermines the aspect of faith in Him and the words of Jesus who identifies Himself as being One with Him.

Friends we have been called to live a different life from which we were born into. Being born again means that our old self died and a new self has emerged. True conversion is manifested in the life of the believer when they live a spirit-filled life in Christ.

The heartbeat of faith in the believer sustains the life in Christ. It is the conduit for a divine relationship and we must realise that this now a separate existence is a sacred calling and that the blood of our Messiah which was shed to purchase us for this life is our identifying marker. We who are now living a sacred life are justified in Christ and thus must live by faith, trusting Him only and not in some other philosophical construct.

Understanding the restorative process will help us to realise what our faith demands of us and what we are part of.

What does it mean for us who take instruction for the believer’s life from the whole of scripture, especially from the renewed covenant?

Yeshua reiterates the essence of ‘Shema’ for all of us. Declaring Him as One, God of gods and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbour as ourselves is the condition, and furthermore, that belief in God promises us blessings.

When I first got saved I listened to the ‘believe it and receive it’ message in the faith movement. All the big mega ministries preached that type of message and they still do. The bless me, and life coaching messages is the prosperity message and I believe that that has taken the scripture of what Yeshua taught us completely out of context. There are many true and faithful believers out there but fundamentally there is a corruption of the word which is being taught to many today and has been doing so over the decades. Ministries have been built upon this teaching and many preachers have become wealthy as a result. The admonition in scripture tells us ‘first to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness’. This observance and focus on our faith puts us into an intimate relationship with God. It drives us into the heart of God and gives us the desire to fulfil His plan for the whole of creation including the realms of the heavenly abode.

The admonishment of Yeshua was to pray the will of God in the Lord’s Prayer and James writes to us about the fervent affective prayer. These are two clues in the prayer attitude which are directly linked to the opening words of our Lord Yeshua’s prayer. When we ask for healing we can believe we will receive it because it is God’s will. His will and care also provide our victory against the enemy, financial provision and breakthroughs through the storms and tribulations of life. But the conditions of loving Him, which means for us a repentant attitude and obedience, is crucial to its receiving.

Now let us chuck a spanner in the works. When Ha‘Satan (the satan) tempted Yeshua he offered an earthly kingdom to Him, if Yeshua would just worship him. We have to realise that there are forces other than those of YHVH who are at work that help us to make decisions that will ultimately lead us down the wrong path. Those voices can be heard in many areas of our life, for example: in clairvoyance, mediumship, tarot, meditational practices, the use of drugs and in many cases our mental health. We may receive answers to what we desire and even encouragement to take a certain path through mediumship and horoscopes for instance, but this is the path that Satan and the voices he uses want to lead us. His device is tuned into our hearts, and we resonate this frequency through our groaning, moaning and dissatisfaction.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that when we lean on God, He will make our path straight. In order for Him to do that we place all our faith in Him and desist from leaning on our own insight and understanding.

The Lord’s Prayer is the method and pattern of prayer which when appropriated in parallel in the believer's life availeth much, according to James’ scripture. So when we pray and believe that YHVH hears us in accordance with His will, it will be answered.

Scripture tells us that ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for of things not yet seen. To break that down it simply means that a. faith (trust in YHVH) plus b. YHVH (the substance) = a future event coming to pass.

This is similar to the ‘I AM’ declaration of YHVH. In Hebrew the words are ‘Ayer Asher Ayer’ Exodus 3:14, which makes more sense than the English translation. It means’ what will be will be’. It is a prophetic utterance about events that will happen. The message that YHVH spoke through that name said this: “tell Pharaoh”. “What will happen will happen”. I will cause it and I am God Almighty.

Permit me to sidetrack for a moment. Christianity argues that we all have free will, agreed. We can choose to obey God and observe His prescribed ways. However, we cannot choose to obey God and change the way He asks us to do things. By choosing to hear the voice of God we must be obedient in observing the instruction. So in this sense, we do not operate free will. Choosing to obey God is the only free choice we have. There is no choice in obedience. We simply obey. Obedience demands ‘the way’ and not our ‘many ways’. We cannot engage with God across the table to discuss avenues of obedience or any aspect of His sovereign will. Although God wants us to obey Him and have faith in Him, He still wants us to do it freely and so He gives us choice. We may choose freely to do the exact opposite of what God wants through a rebellious spirit and God will stand back and watch as the effects of that choice play out. His hope, even though He is omniscient is that we will apply the freedom of choice wisely:

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

In 1 John 5:2-4 (NIV) 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith

Obedience to YHVH tells us that we cannot take the wrong path because He makes it clear and straight – there’s no shadow of turning. But predestination is different. This is YHVH’s sovereign omniscience at work. This an illuminating moment. It is when thought and speech come together.

This is what we speak in faith. I am not saying that we take the place of God as ‘I AM’ but what we are doing is reflecting Him and His nature because He has given us authority to do so.

We are to be imitators. Prophecy works in the same way. It can be changed if things fall in line. For example, we may receive a prophecy and it will only come true if we are obedient to God. That’s foreknowledge and there is prophecy that cannot be changed. That’s predestination.

The promises of blessing and curses in Deuteronomy 28 tell us about two courses we can take. The foreknowledge of God tells us what will happen if we chose to obey one or the other. That is not predestination.

Now look at this passage in the book of Acts chapter 13:48

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed

Here, we seem to approach the subject of predestination and foreknowledge. A sticky concept for some. However, YHVH is omniscient He knows all things. If He interfered in every part, thought and response of our lives we would be robots responding to Him all alike. What sort of relationship would that be? Therefore we see the foreknowledge of God at play. Because God is omniscient —He knows what the outcome will be if we chose to take another course.

We can all use foreknowledge but that is not clairvoyance. If I asked someone who had never drunk alcohol to drink a bottle of wine I know they will get drunk and probably not be well after it. I know that through my foreknowledge.

In faith, we live in Christ because He is our substance. When a new believer begins the walk of a new life that substance is the light of God. When we turn on a light it does not stay where it is. It shines into the distance touching everything around it until it dies or is turned off.

Scripture tells us that the word of God is a lamp to our feet. It lights the pathway ahead and into the distance showing us where we should walk. If the word is our light then it illuminates what is plainly in our sight. So we can trust in what we see. The light points to a future mark or destination but we can only get to that mark in another moment in time. But what if the light fades on our journey and we cannot see where we are going? Well, we either stop because we physically can’t go on or we wait till dawn, in which case we lose time. However, we are called to remain prepared and keep the light that lights the way burning.

Now at the future point, there will be people waiting for us. That is our inheritance because an inheritance is a future event. We don't have it now. This makes sense when we look at faith and how YHVH called the descendants of Abraham his inheritance.

The point that is really being made for us when we look at the patriarchs particularly, and I include Moses amongst these, is that YHVH is saying that the moment or the life space you occupy now is not for you; it’s about your descendants, your fruit, and your multiplication. But nonetheless, without you there cannot be any fruit. He is going to use you to fulfil His Will, to multiply His Image and He is going to cause your descendants to imitate you.

If we ever think that this life is about us then we are shamefully full of pride. The prayer of faith ultimately secures our future. The predestination event is one where YHVH will fill the earth with members of His household which will be the fruit of the marriage of the Lamb.

We have already looked at what prophecy is and what it isn’t. It certainly isn’t about you or what you can have and achieve. The foreknowledge of God gives us choice, and with prayer, humility and the seeking of the Lord we cannot help but walk the path and receive the outcome He desires for us.

In the latter days, many false prophets will arise and they will be like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They will entice and lead many astray. The message preached in many of the mega ministries teach personal prosperity and material gain. You can choose to listen to those voices and you can have all that they offer in this life but your inheritance will be lost. The scripture tells us that the rich have their reward on earth whilst they live. Be careful also of prophecy spoken from many platforms. Many false prophets seem credible because they speak the word. But they are often echoed from other voices. They will hook you in, making you believe that the word is alive in them. If the Lord has not put His word in your heart first, be careful of what you receive. A prophecy relates to a future event, not a now event. God does not change. He has set out a pattern of events and abides by His own laws. It is good for us to understand this.

Faith, therefore, is believing God for who He is and what He will do. He has proven Himself to be faithful and loving and unchanging. That’s a ‘truth’ moment. If the truth is not absolute then we can’t put our trust in it. When Yeshua who is the Word told us that He is the ‘Way’ the ‘Truth’ and the ‘Life’ and we believe that with all our heart, soul, mind and strength then what’s the problem with our Faith?

The words Hebrew ;amanah 548, emet,571 refer to truth in the old testament – meaning: assuredly, establishment, faithful, right, sure, true, verity. From these words we get the affirmation ‘ Amen’

In the New Testament the Greek word’s pistis 4102 and aletheia 225 refer to faith. For example in John 4:24 ‘ God searches for those who worship in spirit and truth (aletheia)’ and John 14:6; Jesus refers to Himself as the way ‘the truth’ (aletheia)and the life.

The word ‘pistis’ is used in this scripture ‘ 2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘we walk by faith (pistis - the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ) not by sight.

If we ratify therefore ‘Truth’ with ‘Faith’ we are convicted, knowing that truth is absolute. We are unwavering as there can be no shadow of turning. Truth and Faith being absolute, reflects therefore the nature of YHVH.

Coming to this conclusion tells us that there cannot be any problem with faith. We are after all, of the ‘House of Faith’, absolutely.

The believer in their relationship with God is affected by the light of the word shining on them because more about them is revealed. They are acutely aware of their former nature and hope that conversion will do what it promises. But faith is built on the truth. We in a sense have been found out. Our fallen nature has been exposed. Luke 8:17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed and nothing concealed that will not be known and illuminated.

We may grasp from this passage both evil intentions made in the dark –sin, and that which is intended for good are revealed by the light. Regarding the latter; when God shines His light on us it reveals who we really are. In this case, the person we are meant to be. We were hidden and lost but now we are found.

The danger is that we can often be self-condemning but forgiveness on God's behalf has dealt with that. We have to accept that or we are rejecting God’s precious gift of mercy. . 1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

The new man must regenerate with a new mind. To know more about God demands a deeper understanding of the grace that tells us, even though He knows all about us, He nevertheless wants to know us too.

That level of intimacy comes from faith. Just think about that for a moment. As humans, our nature is to draw near to those we know and trust. Every relationship has some element of it. We want to establish these principles in those relationships. The greatest faith we can share is with our spouse or with our closest friend.

What kind of relationship results from one of distrust? The breakdown of trust that brought humans and God together in the Garden of Eden resulted in the fall of man from His presence. The thread within the whole of scripture is about renewing that trust and restoring the relationship.

Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him’. Says the Lord

Be blessed.

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