The Unseen

Faith is scary.  Why?  Because it requires a belief in something we can’t see.  ”No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him (John 1:18).”  If you wish to see God, look no further than Jesus Christ.  You can’t see God in His fullness.  His holiness would melt your eyes, His glory would rip through your sinful flesh.  No man can endure His presence (Joel 2:11).  But God, being rich in mercy and infinitely gracious, revealed Himself through the humbled, fleshly Christ.  Again, if you wish to see God, if you wish to know Him, look no further than Jesus, for He alone has “explained Him.”

Yet, many of us, including myself, struggle from time to time with doubt.  That’s logical considering Satan’s primary mission, ever since Eden, has been to arouse suspicion within the minds of God’s people in order to disarm them of their sober-thinking and disfigure their faith through sin.  Why do we sin?  Because of our unbelief.  Obedience is a result of faith and disobedience is a result of the lack of faith (John 3:36).  Faith kills sin or sin kills faith.

Think about it from Satan’s perspective for a moment, he knows what the Scriptures say, “the righteous man shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17), and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).  Faith is the key.  God delights in faith.  He is glorified in us as we actively believe in what He has said in His word and live it out boldly in our lives.  Faith is the “narrow road” spoken of in Matt. 7.  It is the “abundant life” of John 10.  If you can’t please God without it, then it makes sense to assume that Satan’s mission in each of our lives centers around the perpetual weakening or dulling of our faith, polluting or corrupting of our faith, and dare I say “shipwrecking” (1 Tim. 1:19) of our faith.  A man with an active faith is an awful weapon in the hands of God.  Satan knows this.  He fears this.  And in light of that, I don’t believe Satan is all that concerned with how you sin (that is with the sundry ways in which your sin manifests itself:  be it through lust, pride, envy, strife, anger, fear, doubt, blasphemy, irreverence, arrogance, malice, etc), but I believe he is insatiably concerned with habituating within you a weak faith.

What am I saying?  If your faith in God today is weak, is waning, is shrouded in doubt, is pessimistic, then as James said, “let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:7).”  There is no such thing as “doubting faith.”  It’s oxymoronic.  Listen to how God defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  There’s no wavering in the faith which is defined by God.  It seems so certain, so bold.  At this point I’m sure you are saying to yourself, as I am, “I don’t know if I have this kind of faith.  Mine is so weak, so often wavering.  Does that mean that I don’t have real faith?  How can I know my faith is genuine?  How can I get this fearless faith which God delights in?”  To which I humbly respond:  fear not, for it is a gift…a free gift.

The faith which God delights in cannot be exercised by man.  No man has ever pleased God by his own faith.  No man has ever had fearless, doubtless, unwavering, unbowed faith…except One, the God-Man Jesus Christ.  His faith in the Father was perfect.  He never doubted, He always obeyed (John 5:19, Heb. 5:8-9).  It is the perfect faith of Jesus Christ which we are given at the point of salvation.  It is His unblemished faith which is breathed into us at our spiritual conception.

So then, what is this faith which we are called to exhibit in our lives?  What is this faith which the righteous live by?  What is the faith which the apostles were continually rebuked for having so little of (Matt. 6:30; 8:26)?  Faith, for us each new day, is the progressive realization and expression of Christ’s faith in us. I’ll say it again, so you read it again, “faith, for us each new day, is the progressive realization and expression of Christ’s faith in us.”  There is bound up within you, right now, the perfecting faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The same Spirit which enabled Jesus to perfectly love, serve, obey, and trust God the Father throughout the 33 years of His earthly life, is the same Spirit which resides within you, if you are truly a child of God.  The unveiling of this faith is what sanctification is all about (2 Cor. 3:18).  Faith, then, is the growing expression of Christ in us.  We have already been given, by God’s divine power, “everything [we need] pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).”  We lack nothing.  We already have been given “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).”  Don’t doubt your Dad.  He delights in you with all His heart, right now – perfectly.  Not because of some superior, inhuman, bold, warrior-like faith which you’ve conjured up to please God, but because of His Son, Jesus, who has perfectly loved the Father for us.  Those men and women who have most fully realized their inability to please God by themselves, the ones who have most hated their pride and despised those fleshly feelings of self-sufficiency, they are the ones whom the author of Hebrews honors in saying, “[they are the ones] whom the world was not worthy (Heb. 11:38).”

This potential is in each of us.  Christ Jesus Himself is in each of us.  How do you unleash Him?  ”Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17).”

 

In the faith and love of Christ,

John

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