One of the prime elements in faithing is that we are responsible for making the first move. Looking the negative circumstances in the face, applying to those circumstances some word of God, and moving forward, are the three fundamental elements in faithing. The Bible tells us faithing saves, because it accesses God's Grace: "for by grace are ye saved, through faith(ing)...

A person, having read that, once expressed an essential, but very fine point often overlooked by most of Christianity. Let me digress for a minute, and I'll return to the person's statement.

Any understanding of faith, salvation and sin is essential to every Christian. For example, if one defines faith, saving faith, as belief, they haven't got a chance in Hell of getting to Heaven. They probably won't ever faithe. We often fall over improper discernment. That's why Paul was so explicit to the Corinthians regarding communion. They were bringing temporary damnation on themselves by improper discernment when taking communion. If we go along thinking we're saved by believing in God, we don't have to study the Bible, except to find out what sin is; so we can be good, and stay out of trouble.

Look around at Christianity today and see if you don't find church after church filled with sincere folks who are trying to do it Right by supporting the community, running youth programs, trying to live ethical, moral lives, and sometimes trying to get the rest of us to do the same (at "gunpoint").

The only Bible these people have been exposed to is the behavioral passages, and maybe a bit of history; who are the twelve tribes, Jacob went to Egypt, Moses led the exodus, etc.

I see two main camps in Christianity: Lawyers and Lovers. Neither knows beans about faithing and sin. the Lawyers are always studying Corinthians or James; any passage that outlines the Big sins. Fornication, incest, adultery, and homosexuality are favorite topics.

The Lovers stay in the Beatitudes, and wallow in Jesus' Love. I once asked a Presbyterian lady what the Gospel was. She said, after some hesitation, "love." She knew zip about faithing, salvation and sin.

Having laid that groundwork, we'll get back to the comment and question. Here is a direct quote: "I have only one hang up with the 'taking the first step' philosophy. If grace is unmerited favor, and one is saved by grace through faith, how do I act to be saved, especially if my actions have no merit?" My answer follows.

This question is very good. I understand how confusion can come in, especially for one who is sincerely trying to figure it all out. Folks who don't have these questions, I'm afraid, probably think they're OK.

I want to confirm your point that our actions have no merit and quite possibly can't save us.

In my study of sin and faithing, I realized that ALL action is sin.
You see, God is no fool. He knows that if there is ANY kind of loophole, we will find and use it. People are that way. And it doesn't make any difference if we read, "All have sinned, etc." or "All we, like sheep, have gone astray, etc." The Bible is so full of sin that we get very numb to it. Plus, we make our own loophole by telling ourselves that we don't do those BIG sins that they always talk about in the Bible. So we must be OK, right? Not! God is no fool. Anyone who cares to go to the original language, let's take Greek, will find that the word for sin is homartia. And when we look up this word, it doesn't even sound like the sin we know. It simply says "miss the mark" or "fall short." Now what kind of definition is that for something we've been led to believe is so BAD? Why, what's wrong with falling short? Or missing the mark? That doesn't hurt anybody, not even me . And then the light begins to dawn.

Falling short of what? Missing what mark? The answer sobers one up in a hurry. The Mark is God's performance. We fall short of God. "Well, of course. I never said I was as good as God. Nobody's perfect!" EXACTLY! ! !

God's no fool. He made the definition of sin so all-inclusive that there never was or will be another human beside Jesus that could always decide to do his actions based on what God said it was all about rather than what they thought it was all about. Who always decided for God, in obedience. Now here's how this effects our saving, faithing acts.

Faithing is sin, too!!!! Wow, doesn't that sound like blasphemy?

But if we go back to the definition for sin, we find that it means to fall short of God's perfection. When I'm doing some faith act, I know that God could do it better. Well, then, I better find a way to reconcile this confusion. It's reconciled in the title of an old song, or in a saying that we've all heard. "It's not what ya do, it's the way that ya do it."

Now here's the unadorned, short answer to how our "sinful", acts without merit, can save us.

"It's not the action, it's the trust."

The action is only a vehicle for our trust. It's the thing we use to get in touch with God. It's the plug we put it the God-socket. We could sit all day and look at the plug. We could wish the plug into the outlet. We could even try telekinesis. But it sure would be easier just to go and put it in there. By the way, look how that paralells faithing, nay IS faithing.

When you've got a new lamp that you want to try out, you put in the bulb(an act of faith in itself), and plug in the plug, trusting that the electricity will be there. If the boys from Edison are working on the line, your lamp won't light.

So God isn't looking at WHAT we do, the specific action. He's looking for trust.. He knows we're not going to get it very right, and doesn't expect more.

And like sin, faithing is made simple and universal, too. It's something that ANY human can do. God is no fool. He made it so that we can never accuse Him of treating someone else "better" that us.

Now I said it was simple; faithing. But I've found that the simple things are usually very hard.. Well, the hard part about faithing is the risk. And the study necessary is work for us lazy humans.

The risk is the unknown elelment in the action's results. We don't have complete control over the situation. Simply said, if there were no risk, why did we call on God for help? No risk, no faithing. The laziness is a bit harder to explain.

You see, we NEVER act in what people call "blind faith." That's a contradiction in terms. Try to think of some simple decision to do some action that contained even the smallest risk, and see if you didn't have some assurance to help you continue. You made that "risky" decision based on some evidence. Maybe you've seen others do that thing. Maybe you have a trusted friend that said you'd be OK. Perhaps it was nothing more than your simple observation of the circumstances. But we NEVER act "blindly."

Well, acting the way God says is so full of the unknown it's a wonder anyone faithes at all. It takes great courage to do some saving faith. Who can assure you that it works. "Yeah, you say it works for you, but that's you. " See my point? No one can put the sureness into our heads. We have to arrive at it independently. And that takes Study. And the bigger the risk, the more study is necessary. Try the example of buying a house. One does not just look at the outside, at the nice new paint job. One spends the $300 to do a termite inspection; knowing full well that the money might be lost if the report comes up bad. Our rationale, of course, is, "Better $300 than $15,000 to fix a termite infested structure."

What about tithing? Even a person with a VERY modest income of $20,000 a year will be giving $2000 back to God. And that's just for the first of THREE tithes, plus a couple of "mandatory" offerings like first fruits. Well, boy, at $2000 a year a person could have a new car every five years. The full 25% jumps the figure up to $5000! Now tell me, Anyone, how the hell can I make it if I give that much back to God?

Is that risk situation clearly understandable?

Can't get much clearer. The point I make is that the formula is the same at ALL degrees of risk. Simple, and universal.

Well, how can I ever get up the courage to "give away" all "my" hard earned money? It won't be easy. I'm going to have to hit the books hard if I'm ever going to uncover enough evidence that will give me the confidence to act that crazy. :-)

The thing that did it for me was the teaching on the Lost Tribes. After 17 years in the Baptist church, I came away with almost NO solid information about God. Just a bunch of "proper" Christian behaviors. But when He led me to the LT material, and I found concrete, historical and archeological fact that confirmed the fulfillment of 3/4 of Bible prophecy, that did it.

A lot of "Christians", I'm sure, feel that they have a choice of being a Christian. I don't. I've studied so much evidence confirming God's reality, that, be a Christian or not, on pain of death , I couldn't deny God's reality. And whenever I doubt God, the information on the Lost Tribes comes up in my memory, and I'm held fast. We need evidence that we can trust to act in faith. That's all there is to it. That's why it's my constant judgement that most of the people that call themselves Christians don't really believe in God. They haven't been taught. They are either stuck in thinking that they have to Love everybody, or keep a Great Sin Checklist and follow all the Right Christian Rules. They've been told that that's what will save them. There isn't one Christian in ten that understands that faith is a verb, and not some belief that's held in your head.

Fundamentalists are the quickest, but not the only ones, to knee-jerk, "Faith without works is dead." Of course they get that out of the book of James; the Arch Legalist of the first Church. If you wanted to join James' church you had to let them cut on you. Of course, now days we're more civilized. Instead of foreskin, we cut hair. Poor deluded souls.

So, is faith a sin? Yes, but it'll save you!


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