Tuesday, February 7, 2012

104. - The Nature Of Faith

104.0 - The Two Great Redemptive Issues:  The first great element of redemption is, of course, Faith.  The second imposing element is Sin.  These are the "two great trees" which tower above the landscape of Christian Redemption.

104.1 First, The Nature Faith:  When the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith in Luke, chapter 17, he replied, "... So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" The simple word for what Jesus describes here is "Humility."

Again, in Luke, chapter 14, Jesus said, "For whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." And, once more, in Matthew, chapter 16, He said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [Retain control over it] will lose it, and whoever loses his life [gives over control to me] for My sake will find it." [Brackets added]

So, from these and other verses in the New Testament, we can easily understand that redemptive faith is essentially a  profound humility of a very specific kind.  It is the humility involved in the surrender of control to another.  This is the real nature of a truly redemptive faith.  It is a faith which causes us to confide ourselves to the direction and care of our Savior.  And, it is expressed in the real terms of our willing and thorough embrace of His values, His truth, and His daily guidance for our life.   

104.2 - True Conversion:  So,the faith which saves our soul is the willingness to give up our self-sovereignty, our personal control, over our own life, and willingly place ourselves under the control of Christ. This is the true nature of a genuine embrace of the Lordship of Christ.  And, this is the point where the real salvation of the soul occurs.  

104.3 - Intellect vs Will:  This is what it means to believe, to trust, in Christ in a soul saving way. Saving faith is not merely to subscribe to the idea that God exists. It is not to believe that Jesus exists, or that He is the true Savior of the world. 

The Bible indicates that the Devil knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that God exists, that Jesus exists, and that Jesus is the true Savior of mankind.  But, in truth, redemptive faith is never so much about what we know of God in our intellect, as it is our willingness to act on what we know.  Redemptive faith is actually much more about our willingness to truly confide the everyday government of our heart and life to Christ than merely some intellectual reverence.

When we correctly understand that redemptive faith is a true and willing surrender to the Lordship of Christ, we can then truly grasp what John was saying in chapter 3 of his epistle where he writes, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him [and thus, genuinely embraces His Lordship] should not perish but have everlasting life. " [Brackets added]

104.4 -  A Duel Nature of Faith:   But notice, faith has a dual nature. It exists first as an inner value, or motive. And, that inner faith impulse also has a visible dimension:  the works of faith, which are simply humble actions of obedience to Christ's Lordship. So, good works, born of a humble and obedient heart, are simply the real expressions of that inner faith value.