WHAT



IS THIS



THING CALLED FAITH?










Just so we have a clear idea of what this discussion is all about, I'll tell you at the beginning. Then you'll know exactly where I'm going and can relax. Here's the gestalt.

Faith results in the implantation of God's Life-Force, which energizes us to the point of eternal life. Now let's get into the details.

What faith was Jesus? Jesus' faith. Galatians 2:16, 20; Romans 3:3, plus Philippians 3:9 have to do with Jesus and faith. But it's confusing because we say faith and we think belief. Well let's see what Galatians 2:16 says. It's really confusing.
Galatians 2:16 says, "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ." By the faith of Jesus Christ. I'm justified by the faith of Jesus Christ, is what that says. It even repeats a couple of lines later. It says, "that we might be justified (saved, whatever), by the faith of Christ." Well, what faith was Christ? Oh yeah, he was uh....., a Methodist. See? Very confusing.

Romans 3:3. I think that's a good one. Romans 3:3. "For what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God with out effect?" What faith is God? Hey, keep the faith, God! The faith of God. That doesn't make any sense, the faith of God. How can one go about making the faith of God without effect? I can't understand how to do that. Maybe something in our definition of faith is missing.

How are we going to find that out? We're going to have to do a little bit of work. I'm sorry, but important stuff doesn't come easy. We'll look in a concordance.
The main use of a concordance is finding a verse when you can only think of a word or two. For instance, "I remember it says about the 'faith of God' somewhere in the Bible. I wonder where that was?" You look in your concordance for the word faith, and go down the list until you find this phrase, "make the f. of God without effect." Oh, there it is, Romans 3:3!
There's a huge book called "Strong's Concordance." This guy named Strong went through the King James version of the Bible and listed every, that's an absolute, EVERY word. In the King James version. Every single word. Even the a's, the's and an's. Any word that needed defining, is listed in a phrase, with the location. As we just read, Romans 3:3 is listed. If you're looking for the word faith, it says "make the f. of God without effect." So we find a phrase there.

In the Strong's Concordance, we've got a number behind the phrase. It tells you to go some place else. The number here for faith is 4102. What does 4102 mean? In the back of Strong's there is a dictionary for both the Hebrew and the Greek. The number behind the word that's listed in the front, the 4102, refers you to the Greek word used in the original. First is listed the Greek word, then how it looks in English, how it's pronounced, and any words form which it may have been derived. Maybe it's a primary word, or derived from one.

This is the only book I know that gives you this research capability. Young's Concordance is extensive, but too incomplete to depend on. Also there seems to be a fair amount of interpretation in some of the definitions I've seen.

Well, when we go to the back of Strong's for 4102, the word is pistis in English letters. It's pronounced peece-teece. But it comes from number 3982, which is listed there as persuasion. It's defined a credence, or moral conviction. Especially reliance upon Christ for salvation.

We want to keep track of two qualities as we look through these words. We need to be aware of nouns and verbs. Persuasion feels to me more nouny than verby, although I recognize the verb quality. Reliance, on the other hand, has more of the verb in it.

But then, when we go below to the list of words that are used to translate pistis, we find a lot of "nouns". Assurance. That can be a noun. Belief, that feels real nouny. Believe, same game. Faith, most folks I know use the word faith like a noun. Fidelity you have to twist around into a verb, like you do assurance.

There's no indication of pistis being a noun or a verb, so let's go back to the primary word, number 3982. Immediately we find it's a primary verb. A primary verb. This word is called pi, long i, tho, long o. It's spelled p-e-i-t-h-o and the first syllable is accented. It's a primary verb, so the persuasion in the definition of peitho is persuaded action. As the definition for peitho, it says convince. To convince, by argument true or false; to conciliate.

Now listen to how verby are these translated words. Agree. That's a verb. You can't agree without doing something. Assure. Another verb. Believe, we know that goes two ways. Have confidence, that takes a little twisting to be a verb. Be content. OK, I think I understand being passively active. Make friend, that's obvious. Obey. There's another verb. Persuade, another one. Trust, a little of the noun in there. Yield. Lot's of verbs.

When we go back to Romans 3:3, we find that "the faith of God" feels different. We can no longer say, "the belief of God" or "what faith is God?" We have to say, "What action of God?" "Does their unbelief make the action of God without effect?" Well, that makes a lot of sense. That makes perfect sense. Even if I don't know what the action was, I have a clear idea of what is meant and can ask, "What action?"

Get back into Galatians 2:16, where it says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the action of Jesus Christ." I get that. I know what that means. I'm justified by some action Jesus did. That makes a lot of sense.

What action was that? His crucifixion. "That we might be justified by the faith of Christ." By the action of Christ. And again in verse 20, "By the action of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Let's take a quick look at Philippians 3:9. "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is in the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ." The action of Christ. I get my righteousness through the action of Christ.

"The righteousness which is of God by faith." Oh, "the righteousness which is of God." God's righteousness is by faith. I get God's righteousness by acting. By faith. Action. It's an action word, folks. How can I say that more clearly?
Put it this way. It's an act of conviction. You're convinced God is real. It's an action based on something about God. "He says, 'do this stuff,' I'll do it. I'm convinced He's real, I'm going to do it."

Now here's another interesting thing that you can't find unless you go to Strong's, to the original language. People who don't do any research, are empowering everyone but themselves. When it comes to my soul, I'm not taking anyone's word for how to get saved. I'm going to check up. If only to see if anything's missing. Confirm these things for yourself. Do a little extra work. Your soul's worth it, believe me.

The other interesting thing is the word believe. The word for believe, believes, belief and all of it's cousins, in every case in the New Testament, in the King James, comes from the Greek word pisteuo. Does pisteuo sound familiar? That word comes directly out of pistis. When you look it up in the back of the book, it says from 4102. We just found out from where 4102 is derived.

It's a verb. Believe is a verb. Just like faith. Every time you see the word believe or faith in the New Testament just cross it out with a pencil, and put the word action above it. The text will start to make perfect sense.

Your action is what saves you. Your action. Hebrews 11 is full of the heroes of faith. Hebrews chapter 11 goes down a long list of people who God said, "These folks are worth looking at." These people acted in faith." It's the only chapter in the Bible that celebrates human accomplishments.

Saved by faith is what we are. Over and over in the New Testament. Saved by faith.

Ephesians 2:8 is one of the more popular verses and says that "we're saved by grace through faith." Saved by the grace, the free gift of God, because of our action. Through some kind of action.

In 1 Peter 1:5, just so we don't stay with Paul, "faith unto salvation," is the phrase that he uses. Faith unto salvation. We get salvation through this thing called faith. Not belief. Not belief, some action. "Some action unto salvation." Some action.

Romans 3:28 says that we're justified, looked at as just like God, by faith. Romans 5:1 says the same thing. We're justified by faith. Not by our belief, not by the beliefs we hold about God, but by some way that we act.

Almost every time in the New Testament when Jesus heals someone, he says, "your faith has made you whole." There's a woman with an issue of blood. Twelve years she was bleeding. She said, "Oh gosh, if I could just get out there and touch the hem of His garment, I'd be healed." She wormed her way through the crowd and touched the hem of His garment. He said, "Wait a minute, I just felt some of my life-force leave. Who touched me?" The apostles said, "With all this crowd, who can tell who touched you? This hole gang around here, looks like a rock concert or something."

Then there was the woman. What does he say to her? He says, "Your faith has made you whole." And she was healed. If you want to think belief, that's fine. But we know that faith is an action.

Listen to what it says in Jax 2:17. "And it came to pass that there was a man of that town who was lame from his birth; he could neither walk nor stand. And his neighbor," verse eighteen, "came to him and said, He that heals is in the market place. There he causes the blind to see, casts out devils and cleanses lepers. And the man rejoiced to hear this, and praised God. Straightway the man sat up in his bed and believed that Jesus could make him whole." Verse twenty-one, "All that day and the next the man sat in his bed and continued in his belief of Jesus' healing power. And the town's people marvelled at the man; for at the end of two years, still he sat in his bed believing with all his heart." Verse twenty-three, "Some say he is there yet." Pretty good for a made-up passage, huh?

That's where the woman would be too. She could have sat home in the chair, and believed for the rest of her life that Jesus could heal her. But if she didn't get out and DO it, nothing would have happened. That's the point. The action of doing it, based on her belief, is what healed her. Jesus didn't heal her. It was her action that allowed the healing to take place. God is all around us, at all times. Which means His healing energy is around us at all times. When we act in faith, there's the possibility we can get healed.

How does that really happen? What does it mean in practical terms? Scripture promises that when you act in faith, the Spirit of God is placed in your body. It's a real physical happening. Not just some notion, some mythical hope. It says repeatedly that the thing that saves you is this Spirit that comes into you. The Spirit comes into you when you act in faith.

Galatians says that very clearly. That we get the promise of the Spirit through faith. Through faith. Paul quotes faith as being life-giving. "The just shall live by faith." It comes out of the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament. That's neat because it crosses the line between the two books, and we get the same exact definition of how to be saved.

He says, "The just shall live by faith." These people will gain life; renewal is in there, too. When you go to the original language, it's a life-giving force. They'll gain life. They'll be renewed, restored, revitalized. That's all in there. They get that through faith.

As I said, this happens with the implant of the Spirit. Jesus went to his crucifixion based on God's word that He'd raise him up in three days. He placed His Spirit back in the body, and Jesus raised from the dead.

There are many verses outlining that the Spirit of God comes and dwells inside you. Romans 8:9,10,11 says that the Spirit will come and dwell in you. In Ephesians 3:17, the original language is, Christ is "housed permanently." Christ is housed permanently in your heart by faith. Christ is formed in your heart by faith. When you act in trust, Christ is formed in your heart. That's the in-dwelling-of-the-Spirit thing. You get the Spirit of God when you act in faith. You won't hear that in many churches around the country on Sunday morning.

Let me run through a quick gestalt of what this faith thing is. This is the A B C's of faith. It's a verb, so it's got to be an action. An Action, based on a Belief, continued in the face of all obstacles. Faith is an action based on some conviction of the Bible's veracity. That's where you'll go to find out that God says, "I'm the Lord that healeth thee." That's pretty good. If It's a healing God, that's for me. I want some healing. I've got things wrong with me. If He says He's a healing God, maybe I can act in faith based on that promise, and His Spirit will heal me. So I'm acting some way based on the conviction that what the Bible says about God is true.

The Bible is the only place I can be sure about what God has said. I can go out and sit on the hill and look at the mountain side, the clouds, the sky, the trees and hope that I figure out something that God might have said. I believe there's some truth in that. But the Bible is full of promises that God has made that we can take advantage of.

The action that I do based on God's word is continued in the face of obstacle. For this action God implants an appropriate amount of Spirit, of Life-Force in our bodies; which precludes us from any judgement, or wrath, or atonement because of our shortcomings.
What we deserve is death. That's what we deserve. We can't be perfect. That's what sin is all about. It doesn't mean you're this horribly bad person who goes around knifing teenagers in alleys. Sin means that you can't do it perfectly. You miss the mark. You fall short. That's all sin is: falling short.

God is very generic. He covers everything with this one little concept. If you fall short of God's one-hundred-percent perfection, then you're deserving of death, you don't get in. Unless something happens to make you deserving of life, you die forever, the Final Death.

But when you do this faith-act stuff, and the Spirit is put in your body, that precludes you from any judgement, wrath or atonement. You don't have to make up for the fact that you fall short. You're saved. From what? Saved from death. That's what it's about. Being saved from death.

That's what faith really is. Don't sit in the bed like out believing sick man. Get up. Get into some kind of action. Find something that God has said that fits whatever you have to do and start to act as if those obstacles you see don't exist. I call it faithing.

It'll not only get you where you want to be down here. It'll get you where you want to be. Out there with God.

Faithe!







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