WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED FAITH
THE FIRST MOVE IS YOURS
IT'S ABOUT TRUST
OPEN: Good morning and welcome to STAG, I'm Jack. I want to start of the new year on a note of faith. So I'll be treating faith from three different angles. But first….
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Faith. 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 comes.
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 marveled 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.
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 mountainside, 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 judgment, 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 judgment, 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.
Ok, let's get a little more detailed and investigate getting out of the chair. The first move is yours.
You've heard me talk a lot about Faithing. Maybe you wondered just what the heck that really was. Sure, you've heard me say that faith is an action word. It's an action based on God's Word. But how do I do that? If you're anything like me, you have a hard time picturing what you do when you Faithe. I've heard the message of faithing hundreds of times. And talked about it to other people at least half that many. And still, I have this very vague feeling about it, somehow. Well, in the course of trying to "genericise" faithing into some kind of universal "formula", I picked up a new slant on faithing that helped me clarify God's role in our faithing acts. That's what I want to tell you about.
The main point, is the title of this commentary. The first move is yours. Or as I usually say, "You gotta get out of the chair." You see, one of the steps of this generic faithing formula is that we must take the first step in the process of making our goal a reality. Faithing is very like telling the future. Or better, acting like something was going to be true. Pretending sort of fits, but hints too much at fantasy. And faithing is definitely not a kids game.
Taking the first step is actually the third. First, is determining the goal by judging it against its Rightness, our Prudence, and it's Possibility. Secondly, we would ask God for His help by claiming which ever of His promises we thought we could use. Then, take the first step.
Now, to a person unfamiliar with this kind of thing, might come a feeling that God wouldn't help first. And one may end up way off the track in some argument about philosophy and God's love. And I can understand that on two levels.
One thing that comes to my mind right away is that God should be willing to give me a little help without me doing anything first. After all, I did ask. And besides, it's just a little bit fearful to stick my toe in before He tells me the water is fine.
Secondly, if I make all the first moves, how am I to know for sure that He's really there, and did help me? It looked like I was doing it on my own. "Well, mostly on my own. I did get a couple breaks; small ones."
I do agree that it's scary out there in faithing land. You just never know. Not for sure. Though that's one good indicator that you're faithing, and not just gritting your teeth and doing something by will alone. You see, when you're faithing you're putting your trust somewhere outside yourself. And when we do that we always feel a little risk. The risk is clearly indicated by our feeling of reluctance.
Well, if I'm scared, doesn't God see that? Shouldn't He have a little compassion? He does, and He does. The trouble doesn't lie with God's love, knowledge, or compassion, and definitely not His power. In a manner of speaking, He's just sitting there waiting to shower those things on me. But His hands are tied.
Let me take a side road for a minute. You see, whatever knowledge you have about something, God has infinitely more. Whatever goal you've set, God knows precisely the best way to reach that goal. If you want to build a house, God knows all the shortcuts that save time. You want to sharpen a knife, God knows just exactly how many strokes, and at what angle, because He knows the makeup of the steel, the temper of the blade, and even how many times you'll use that knife before the next time you get a chance to sharpen it.
The point is, that we know pitifully little about the things we do, compared to
No big deal. God doesn't care. I don't care. And if anybody really spent the time caring, they'd never get anything done. Mostly when we start out to do things we have enough knowledge to get the job done. Oh yeah, I make mistakes, but I don't make that many. And I try to go back and do things right on the big ones.
I guess the point is, that we could probably do it, but we could do it so much better if we had God's help. After all, it's free expert advice. "OK, that's what I'll do. I'll sit here and wait for God to tell me what to do first." See how silly that sounds. Why? 'Cuz in this context, that's not the way you take His advice.
Let's say you're building a box. Are you going to sit there until God goes and buys the lumber? You're certainly not going to sit home and wait for God to tell you to go get the wood! Now I think we're back on track. Remember I mentioned God's hands being tied. You see, it's your movement that unties God's hands. As a matter of fact, every time you stop moving toward your goal, you tie up God's hands again.
Here's an amusing example. There was a guy who kept praying for God to help him win the lottery. The man had legitimate reasons to deserve the money. He prayed and prayed. This went on a long time. Finally, God broke into his prayer one night and said, "Give me a break, will ya, BUY A TICKET!"
There's no doubt that if you've determined some goal, that ou can find more than one thing you could do first. You might draw a plan of the box before you buy the wood.
God also knows the weaknesses in your plan; besides knowing the best way to get the job done. He can give the little push that will seem like the lucky break that saved you so much time. For instance, if you're a lousy planner and go to buy the wood first, you may just "happen" to hear the salesman talking about a free set of plans he just put on the display case. If you had tried to struggle with those plans, it may have taken you an extra days work.
Therein lies another key to faithing. Don't do the plans if there's something easier to accomplish. A basic order and organization is certainly necessary, but don't get locked in where it isn't important.
That concept leads directly into the next step in the faithing process. Listen! No, that's it. You must listen. As you progress toward you goal, you must be careful to listen for God's suggestions. He's that little voice in your head that sometimes gives you flashes of inspiration, or warnings that something weird got into the process and needs to be dealt with. You know, those times when later you've said, "I knew I was going to do that!" That voice is how you knew.
Anyway, God can only help with the stuff you're actually doing. It's an ongoing thing. Whenever you're doing, He's helping. I mean, what would you think if I was standing behind my car, and when I asked you to help me push it to the curb, I just stood there and waited 'till you started pushing. You wouldn't be helping, you'd be doing the whole thing. Well, I've tried to weave the first four steps of faithing into this discussion so far: set a clear goal, ask God's help, do the first thing that feels good, and listen. I'd like to talk about the last three.
Tracking, Logging, and Thanks.
Listening and tracking are very similar. Listening is like sitting on the edge of your chair to make sure that one of those little suggestions from God doesn't get by unnoticed. Tracking, is more like keeping a running total of all the suggestions and coincidences and lucky breaks that popped up along the way. Tracking is very important in reinforcing your awareness of God. When those "breaks" start to add up, we can see that things out of our control have been making our project easier. I know, coincidence is a very attractive and easy answer, but how many coincidences make a fact? And remember, we've already asked God to help. We can't say, "Please, God help me. Oh, that was just a lucky break."
How about logging? Personally, I like to keep a journal. Every day I write down the main activities. And any side comment that seems appropriate. Every one of those coincidences makes it into the book. It's a very positive way to build your faith in a hurry.
Finally, if you've done all of the above, I don't have to suggest that you thank God for helping get you to the point of the finished box. You've already done that. And you've thanked Him for all the bonuses along the way. Especially the one, where your neighbor Ed offered to pay you to build him two for his speaker system.
But gee, none of that would have happened if you were still sitting in the chair, maybe pouting, and waiting for God to make the first move. He can only help you do what you're doing. And who needs God to help them sit in a chair? Don't sit there, faithe!
OK, you're out of the chair and your moving. Let's take a closer look at the foundation of that movement. It's about trust.
From what I've seen of relationships, I've come to the conclusion that confusion is running rampant in our society. Relationships seem to be based on all the wrong things. Companionship, protection, and sex, just to name three. I almost never hear the word trust in talks about relationships. Don't misunderstand. I do hear more superficial concepts being mentioned. Like having "someone listen to me, someone to be there for me, someone to meet me half way." All that "me" expresses a deep need for trust, from both directions. We need someone to trust, and someone to trust us. But what is trust,
Very simply, trust is manifested when we act on someone's word. If Hank says he'll meet me at seven, that's when I try to show up, not eight thirty. I take him at his word that he'll be there at seven. Trust is taking people at their word. But the main point is the taking. Trust then can be said to be an action based on the belief in someone or something. The act is also accompanied by the confidence that the person's word will become reality. An act, based on a belief, sustained by confidence. And any trusting action contains a factor of risk. If fact, one clear way to check for the presence of trust is to evaluate the risk factor. There's only one way to prove trust. We have to take a little risk when we do that action. Who knows, anything could go wrong. Hank could have a flat. I have to hang my body, so to speak, on Hank's word, overcome any doubts I may have, and make the moves necessary to be there at seven. In other words, I have to take Hank at his word. It's the only way I can begin to build trust in what Hank says. I have to give Hank a try. Some people might say that I have to take it on faith.
Let me interject here that we should avoid the phrase, blind trust. Blind trust is a contradiction in terms. Trusting action is always based, in some form, on credibility. We always trust for a reason, reasonable or not. And our most reasonable form of credibility is past experience. Unless you're willing to take someone else's judgment of Hank's word, you must try Hank's word yourself. How can one build trust without trial?
An inseparable part of proving people's trustworthiness is the follow through of holding them responsible for their word. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we're kept from keeping our word. To prove a people's trust we have to hold them accountable for what they say. If we don't say something, we're stuck with our hurt feelings. Additionally, it's not fair to the other person. When we don't tell them when they've broken a commitment, they have no chance to make it right, to validate our feelings, or even become aware that their word has not been kept. We aren't always aware that we've hurt someone. We need to be told. Given that we'd all rather get along together than apart, when presented with the evidence that our actions are causing a separation in a relationship, our natural bent is to mend the separation. That's where the telling comes in. Let me make clear that I believe that almost all of those people we don't trust are capable of as much faithfulness as we'd credit with ourselves.
Now here's one of the main points of this discussion. My observation tells me that when ever there's a lack of trust, people turn to rules as a way of relating. How many times in a sour relationship has it been said that one or the other person is not playing by or changing the rules? That statement tells me right away that there's a lack of trust in that relationship. This concept of substituting rules for trust can be seen in almost all facets of life.
This discussion is pointed mainly at those people who call themselves Christians, but it can easily apply to any belief system or just individual relationships. It appears to me that the thing that has gone wrong with traditional Christianity is that Christians don't trust God enough. The main stream of Christianity is so given over to rules and legalism, that people have come to think that they can "make it" by performing a bunch of religious, spiritual-looking acts; like going to church every Sunday, or doing a lot of good deeds around the community. Our traffic laws are everyday examples of a lack of trust resulting in rules. It would be wonderful if we could trust everyone to be so considerate of others that they would always stop at intersections, always watch for and give way to pedestrians. Soon after cars hit the street we found that people couldn't be trusted to watch out for others the way they'd like to be watched our for. So we have stops signs and traffic lights. And notice that we've also built in accountability; traffic tickets.
Now the whole trouble with rules, especially in relationships, is that they don't work. Rules can never promote trusting action. How many times have you looked both ways, even as you went through the green light? Rules don't promote trust. Only experience promotes trust. I think this is because rules are too specific.
But you know, specifics are just that, they specify, they pin things down, they restrict movement and judgment, they only apply to a very minute percentage of our total experience. If we had to run our lives only on specifics, we'd find that there are too many for us to remember and carry with us. Rules tend to apply only to very precise situations. In practice, rules are constantly broken because of the small difference between two situations. It seems that if there's a rule, someone can find the loophole that allows them to get around the rule. We simply can't carry around all the rules to govern each situation of life. That's where trust comes in.
In relation to God, the same thing applies. We can't "get in" by keeping the rules. Remember Moses and the Ten Commandments? Those Commands were the beginning of the Law. The book of that Law, as it is today, would take longer to read than the Bible. But we don't have to go into that much detail to make the point that rules don't work. Let's stick with the original Ten Commandments.
One of those Commandments says we are not to covet. In the original language that means to delight in, desire, lust. How many people have never desired something that wasn't theirs? "I wish I had that car, boat, house." Rules don't work. There is no way a person can keep those Commandments. It follows that those laws weren't meant for our salvation Didn't God know that we imperfect humans couldn't keep the Law? The Law, as Paul says many times, was set down as a schoolmaster for two reasons: one, to show us that we could never attain to God's perfect righteousness, and two, as a guide for us to live by. But the main point is that trying to live by those rules, while resulting in a better life, won't save us. Rules don't work. What the whole Bible teaches, to those who take the time to understand God's message, is that we're saved by this thing called faith. Old or New Testament, the message is the same. But faith isn't what we think it is. The Bible wasn't written in English, so we have to go to the original language to find out what the writers meant when they said faith. Both the Hebrew and Greek words for faith and trust come from primary roots that are action words, verbs. Even when the word believe is used in the Old or New Testament, the word comes from the same original root word as faith or trust. As we said earlier, trust is an action. Well, so is faith
and belief, as used in the Bible. Now if we're saved by faith, and justified by faith, that means that we're saved and justified by some trusting action, based in some belief (belief as we think of it in English). Who do we trust? What is the belief on which our trust is based?
Of course, our trust is to be in God. The belief that founds that trust isn't any different than that of human relationships. The belief that God can and does keep His word, is the same as with Hank. And this is the precise point where a breakdown occurs. If trust-building depends on experience and proving someone's trustworthiness, how to get that proof about God? If I don't want to trust that Hank will really show up at seven, I can ask around to other people that have made appointments with Hank, and take their word that he can be trusted. I'd feel a lot better if I could get a look at Hank's time card and see how many times he's been late in the last ten years. It's always harder to take someone's word for something than to check out the factual evidence. And there are so many Christians out there who have nothing more to ground their trusting actions, than their own experience which is subjective. If all a person has to go on is his subjective experience, he's on pretty shaky ground. My own subjective experiences and opinions have turned out wrong too many times to be trusted without being backed up by some concrete fact.
Thank God there's a place we can go and find out if He keeps His word. No, its not the Bible. All we can use the Bible for is to find out what God said He'd do, not if He really did it. To find out if God kept His word on some occasions, we'll have to go to the historical account of the people to whom God gave His word, and see if He came through.
I can't, in this limited space, provide enough information for you to start this trusting action that will save you. All I can do is point you in the right direction. Let me warn you, though, it'll take some work on your part to dig through the history books to get the information.
Before we go further, let me clarify an important point regarding two groups of people: the Jews and the House of Israel. They are not the same people.
A great confusion has grown up around the fact that God's promises were not fulfilled in the Jews. Well, they were never meant to be. The promises were given to the Ten-Tribes, the House of Israel. The two kingdoms are clearly separated in the Old Testament.
Almost all of the long-term prophesies concerning all the descendants of Jacob, apply to the northern kingdom of Israel, not the southern kingdom of Judah, the Jews. The northern kingdom never were Jews. You see, most all the promises of the birthright were given by Jacob to his son Joseph, whose descendants were to become the leaders of the ten-tribed northern kingdom of Israel. Jacob only gave the rulership and lawmaking parts of the birthright to his son Judah, or the Jews. Now we can get back to finding the information that will found our trust if God.
Go to the Bible and find the prophesies concerning the House of Israel. After you have a list of sixty or seventy promises that were made to those people, find out what happened to them in history. They can be traced right up to the present day. Now start applying the promises to those people and see if the prophesies came true. If you do all this, you're in for a very big surprise. Not only will you be stupefied by what happened to those people of the kingdom of Israel, you'll find that God has kept His word to them, and in the very smallest ways. Then comes the good part. The part when a psychological certainty sets in. The certainty that God is not only real, but He keeps His word real good.
Here are just a few 3000 year old promises by God that came true: Those people of Israel would become a population group as large as the black or mongoloid races. They would control strategic points of world access, like Suez, Panama, Gibraltar. They'd become a world empire. They'd be the most prosperous peoples of the earth. They would crush cruel and oppressive governments down through history. They'd lose their true identity for 2500 years, and yet become God's people in spite of their ignorance. That a direct bloodline descendant of King David would always hold a ruling position over them.
These prophesies, or promises, have been and are still being fulfilled. And those are just a few of the major ones. A proper study of the subject will present you with a mountain of evidence that will finally overwhelm your doubt as to the reality of God and His ability to keep His word. You'll start looking for ways to act in trust of Him.
Being saved is a most simple thing. We just have to act out our lives as though the things God has said are true. We try to find out what God wants us to do, and act that way, based on His promise to take care of us while we do it.
You see, if God keeps coming true in all the stuff we can check with concrete fact, it gives us the confidence to act on the things that we can't get such a firm grip on. Like His word that there is something after we die. There really is such a thing as living forever. That it's true that a flesh and blood man named Jesus was killed and God brought him back to life, like He said He would. That there is a way to get into contact with God. That God cares more about our trust in Him, than our shortcomings and imperfections.
The only way to build trust is to take someone at their word and start acting on what they say. The same is true with God. s Mary Pickford said many years ago, "Why not try God?" God is real. nd He can be trusted.
1-Well, there's pretty much the whole faith walk. Faithing is acting against negative circumstances, based on the belief in something God has said. The action is carried out with the confidence that God's word is true and He will honor that word to those who act on it.
2-If you'd like to talk some more about faithing or anything else, STAG is a comfortable place to do that. We're at 88 Briceland Rd. in Redway. The number is 07 9323 ALLY (2559). On the web it's STAG.WS and the email is STAG@asis/co. Don't forget the YouTube videos. Just type in my name and you'll find them.
4-Thanks for listening today. I'll be back on the first Sunday in Feb.
5-Faithing really works. It take courage to face the unknown, but faithing really works. Because God is real and does what He says.
This is jack, bye.
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