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 The Nature of Redemptive 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."

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 a humility which specifically expresses itself as the willing surrender of one's entire influence, all that we are and do, to the Lordship of Christ.  

And, this surrender necessarily involves real terms.  To humbly embrace the Lordship of Christ is to embrace three essential elements:  His values, His truth, and His daily guidance for our life. This is the real nature of redemptive faith. 

104.2 - True Conversion: So, in a word, the faith which saves our soul is the willingness to give up our self-sovereignty, our personal control, over our own life.  It is the willingness to make our personal influence entirely subject to the influence of Christ by placing ourselves under His control. 

104.3 - Intellect vs Will: This is what it means to trust in Christ in a soul saving way.  Thus, redemptive faith is far more impactful than simply to believe that Jesus exists, or that He is the one true Savior of the world. The Bible indicates that Satan  knows those things beyond the shadow of a doubt.  
But, in fact, redemptive faith is never so much about what we know of God intellectually, as it is our willingness to humbly act on what we know. 

104.4 - The Duel Nature of Faith: But notice also, the "Dual Nature" of redemptive faith. It exists first in the heart (the character essence) of the believer as an inner heart-value, of humility toward God. And, that inner faith motive then expresses itself in reality in very tangible ways.  

In other words redemptive faith begins as simply a value within the heart. But ultimately, our humility expresses itself in the very real terms of both positive character growth and good works in humble obedience to Christ's daily directions.

104.5 - A Christ Empowered Faith:  Finally, notice also that the New Testament believer is able to consistently express his or her faith in those real terms, not merely by his or her own puny faith, but based in the empowering faith of Christ.  The faith of Christ actually enriches the faith of the believer.  And, this becomes the believer's new daily reality as he or she is merged with the character essence of Christ through the Spiritual Baptism which typically occurs sometime shortly after the believer's conversion . 

The Lord said this about this wonderful new dimension of power, which is available to the believer through his or her Spiritual merger with Christ.  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

God spoke of this mysterious, Christ-based, New Testament empowerment even through the Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel, when he said, "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."

104.6 The Opposition of Sin and Faith:  Note then, that Faith is the direct opposite of Sin.  Like faith, sin, has two dimensions.  So, like faith, sin is first a value or motive in the heart.  It is the motive of self-determination.  The idea is that this sin heart-value drives us to be arrogantly self-directed in life as opposed to humbly God directed.  

And, this arrogance, created by the sin value of self-determination, ultimately then, expresses itself in the real terms of our real life decisions and actions - causing us to think and act mostly indifferently toward God.  So, where the faith value causes us to happily and humbly embrace God in a vital daily relationship, the sin motive causes us to live independently and essentially estranged from Him - giving little or no thought to His wishes or his ways.  

So, the sin value of self-determination (even before it ever expresses itself in our actions) condemns us before God.  However, the faith value, a true influential humility toward God, commends us to God as it enable us to embrace His values, truth, and daily directions for our life, through the Living Christ.  So, that redeeming faith value then becomes the perfect remedy and deliverance from that soul killing sin value of self-determination. 

True redemptive faith is always profoundly life changing in these most essential ways.  It was, absolutely designed by God's love and grace to be so.  By its very nature, it simply can do no less.