Posts Tagged ‘faith’

image_pdfimage_print

What must I know to be saved?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

This post arises out of a study that I am doing, and is tied to one of John Locke’s books, which is The Reasonableness of Christianity. In this book much argument is made of what one must know to be saved or born-again, and become a Christian. At the time I read the book (which was quite some years ago), I had not really considered what one MUST know to be saved. However, as time has passed and I have studied the Scripture, there are some things that everyone MUST know before one can have even the hope of salvation. The following questions are not concerned with the attributes one must have to be saved, (i.e. faith, and repentance), rather they are focused on KNOWLEDGE, or what one must KNOW with surety to be saved.

With the foregoing in mind, here are the questions:

  1. Who is Christ?
  2. Who is God?
  3. Who is man? (Who am I?)
  4. What is righteousness, and why am I not righteous?
  5. Why is God righteous? (What does mean to be righteous?)
  6. What is sin, and why am I a sinner?
  7. What can I do about my sin?
  8. What has (will) the LORD done (do) about my sin?
  9. What does it mean when the Scripture says I must “believe?”
  10. How can I know for certain that all the Scripture tells me is true?
  11. What am I really believing or trusting?

The questions leave considerable room for exploration of the Scripture and explanation of the answers. However, they are well worth answering, and by the time you are done, you will know all that is NECESSARY to know to be born again in Christ Jesus and have eternal life.

Now if you wish to argue about the questions, please take the time to answer them first BEFORE raising objection. Also, please use the King James Version of the Bible to do your study. Otherwise, you will get some very skewed and incomplete answers.

As far HOW the questions are to be answered, here is a hint:

When we ask “Who is God?” we do not speak of defining His ability, but rather examining His CHARACTER and NATURE.

May you find it profitable.


In Christ,

Bro. Paul

Share

An Answer to David @ War on Guns

Friday, April 11th, 2008

The following is an answer to David Codrea who runs the War on Guns blog. He disagreed with my assertion that it is wrong to lie – period. This disagreement arose over the issue of the Olmert government in Israel taking government issued guns away from settlers, and the settlers giving them up. David held that it would be fine to lie to the government. I hold that it is never right to lie, as that is a sin before God.

Please be advised, this is a much longer article than I normally publish on the blog. However, I do believe you will be blessed by it.


I know David, you think you’ve got me. That’s all right. However, my reply will not be short, as you require a decent, proper answer to your assertion.


To begin, the commandment of the LORD God is very plain:

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 19:16-19)

Moreover, to lie, is to follow after the father of lies, the Devil:

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Thus, lying is not an option as it directly disobeys the express command of God. Thus, it appears that we are left between a rock and a hard place by your scenario. However, there are some things that are beyond our limited understanding, but not beyond the understanding, scope and power of the LORD God.

Now, I will not tell you that one must blindly believe and trust the LORD God for the outcome for such situations as that would be superstition. The LORD does not operate through, nor does He acknowledge superstition. Instead, one must operate by the instrument of faith.

Thus, the instrument of faith is extremely important to understanding everything that follows. (more…)

Share

Faith — part 2

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Since the receiving of faith is based upon whether one reads and studies the Scriptures, and has a genuine and sincere desire to know who God is and what He requires, it is plainly obvious that not everyone is going to have faith. Really, it is quite the miracle that any of us have any faith at all when we evaluate it in this light. Nevertheless, the LORD is gracious and grants those who truly want to know and understand Him, the faith necessary to do so.

Now I understand that this is a different view than the mainstream “Christian” view. The mainstream view is expressed in the following quote from an on-line Bible Study offered by a independent Baptist church:

“HOW DOES A PERSON OBTAIN FAITH?
The answer is by trusting in God’s Word. This of course requires that one hears what God has to say first. After all, you can’t trust in what you haven’t heard nor can you claim a promise that you don’t know has been given.”

Now, this would initially seem to support what I have previously stated, and what the Scripture demonstrates. However, if we note the initial sentence, we see a precondition that is nowhere in the Scripture. That precondition is “trusting in God’s word.” However, when in reading the study you would have already come across the following statement:

“Faith is TRUSTING IN GOD’S WORD. When you consider how trustworthy God’s Word is, faith becomes a very sure thing. Throughout the New Testament we find various examples demonstrating that faith means trusting in God’s Word.”

Certainly this ought to cause one to question the validity of how one can even claim to have faith at all. It reminds me of being little child and playing “Ring around the Rosie.” Utterly pointless. In short, this is circular logic that has no place in the word of God and is invalid for teaching anything about the doctrines and principles of Scripture.

What is wrong here is a presupposition that one must believe what God has to say before God will grant them faith. However, that is not at all what the LORD indicated when He stated through Isaiah:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

Someone who is already trusting what you have to say doesn’t have to be reasoned with about what you are saying and why. Instead, they already accept what you say and don’t debate it. When one must be reasoned with, it is due to the fact that one doesn’t understand what is presented them and doesn’t accept it. Hence, they must be reasoned with concerning the information they are presented.

The error that is present in the on-line Bible study is one of misidentification of faith, and what it actually is. Instead of letting the Scriptures define faith properly, they have misidentified the properties of faith and thus misidentified faith itself.

The Scripture is very clear on the properties of faith, and actually does define what faith is. However, if we are not willing to allow the Scripture to stand, and we put our own “spin” on what is stated, we are going to have a flawed understanding at best.

In Hebrews, chapter 11, there is a treatise given on faith, why it is utterly necessary, and what the effect of having it is. In the beginning of the chapter, the following is given:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:1-3)

it is very interesting how the above passage it constructed. For one, hope is not what we would term ‘substantial’ in the sense of being physical, or something materially based. Rather, hope is a thing of the heart and mind. Hence, hope can be built upon an unsure foundation of ‘I think so. . .’ or it can be built upon an more sure foundation of ‘I know so . . .’ What one then hopes for, is entirely dependent upon what one perceives and understands. In the case of the first sentence in the above passage, we are told that faith is the foundation of the things that the children of God hope for, or await the coming of. Now, the sentence continues on to state also that faith is an evidence of things that are not seen. This is understandable as the things of God, and God Himself are not seen, as the Scripture states:

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Hence, there must be an understanding that faith then deals with the unseen — the spiritual. Faith is then further clarified by the second sentence which states:

“For by it the elders obtained a good report.”

Now, we have something that we can understand in the way of defining faith. Notice that the first few words are “For by it . . .” “It” is an interesting word as “it” is ever and always a noun, and not ever a verb. Everything in this world that has substance can be called an “it.” However, actions, which are verbs, are not and cannot be defined as an “it.” What this means is the “elders” possessed something that enabled them to obtain a good report in the sight of God. Backing up, we can see that “it” would also be a substance, and an evidence.

In continuing to the third sentence, we are given an example of what this “it” called “faith” enables us to do:

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, . . .”

So then, by “it” I can, or do understand that the worlds were laid out and brought into existence by what God said. What this does is define faith as a thing, rather than an action. Moreover, by using this thing, we can perceive what God is trying to show us in and through His word. However, instead of it being physical, it is strictly spiritual, and the things shown are spiritual as well.

Thus, unlike the explanation given in the Bible study above, the faith described in the Scriptures is a noun, that precedes and precipitates action. In the aforementioned Bible study, faith is described as a verb, that precipitates another action that precipitates the first action. In short, to them faith generates trust, and trust generates faith. Plainly, this is not what the Scripture states, and is illogical.

In contrast, a summary of what the LORD has stated is very simple:

If you will hear His word, be attentive to it, and you truly and sincerely want to know and understand, He will grant you the means — the instrument, whereby you can perceive what He has done, what He states, and the truth of it, so that the LORD can reason with you about the state of your soul, and what He has done to rectify its wicked state.

To be continued . . .

Share

Faith — part 1

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

One of the things that is least understood (but much claimed and talked about) in Scripture is Faith. It is not well understood by the vast majority who claim it, and it is mocked and ridiculed by atheists who say it is the refuge of the religious when they can’t explain something. Sadly, the atheists are more correct than many Christians. I would have to agree that the vast majority of Christians who claim they know something by faith, do not when the thing they claim to know flies directly in the face of plain Scripture. When this happens, all it accomplishes is the giving of ammunition to the atheist and scorner. It really would have been better for the Christian to keep his or her mouth (or keyboard) silent when they actually did not know what the Scripture teaches.

In the case of faith, I had to consider long and hard as to how to approach the subject. Not that I do not know what it is or how it works, but how to explain it in a sensible fashion, in writing, presents a challenge. Perhaps it is best begun where faith really starts, with the owner thereof.

To be certain, there are those who claim that faith is owned or created by man. However, everything in Scripture has a key verse that is the correct starting place for that doctrine. Sometimes it is the first mention, but not always. In the case of faith, there is a verse that declares that faith must be received:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

Since the word “cometh” is in italics, it is necessary to clarify that the original Greek would have been “faith by hearing” which strongly implies that faith is received from someone or somewhere else. Hence, the translators of the KJV tell us that they added “cometh” in clarifying the implication that is strong enough to be a declaration. Thus, if faith “cometh,” then of necessity it is received and not generated within us. This is crucial in that, if one does not have faith, then one has not yet been granted it based upon the criteria the owner has for giving it.

So then, who owns faith? Not to be insulting, but I would hope that all would automatically understand that the LORD God is the owner of faith. However, I know that there are verses that some will point to that declare that certain individuals had faith, and that it is their own. The problem is that none of us have anything that is truly our own (save the wickedness we choose to do) as the Scripture is express:

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (I Corinthians 4:7)

Thus, even our very lives are not truly our own as it is God that grants us life. This being the case, we are driven to the understanding that faith does not belong to us, and neither can we produce it out of nothing. The following passages speak of faith and who owns and controls it. As you read, please note the phrase “faith of” which indicates ownership.

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (Galatians 3:22)

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: . . . (Philippians 3:9)

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Now, to be fair the above passages are in the context of the believer in Christ, and how that believer is kept by the Lord. Which, if we examine the passages again, we find the faith which is necessary to keep the believer is not actually the believer’s faith, but Christ’s. Perhaps some find this an oddity, but it is consistent with the above passage from Romans, chapter 10, which tells us that faith “cometh,” and the faith that cometh is Christ’s faith. Since Christ is God manifest in the flesh, and fully equal with the father, we should understand that the Father and the Holy Ghost also have faith. Hence, the owner of faith is Almighty God.

Does this mean those who do not yet know the LORD cannot have faith? Not at all. There are two solid reasons that tell us that someone can have faith, and yet not be born-again. If we remember, it is the LORD’s air we breathe and the life we have does belong to Him, not to mention everything else in creation is also His, and yet He allows us the use of all these things. More importantly, God is not willing that any should perish, and all would come to repentance (though not all will), and they cannot come and please God without faith as Hebrews, chapter 11, verse six, states:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

In the above statement it is clear that one must have faith before they can please God and be reconciled to Him. This means there are certain criteria by which the LORD will grant faith to the individual so they could please Him. One of those criteria is given in the above verse when it states “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

A second criteria is given in the previously quoted passage from Romans which declares that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” plainly meaning that there is no other ordained way for one to receive faith. One must read and study the Scripture diligently for the LORD to grant them the faith necessary to see and understand the truth of God. However, this is not all; there is one last criteria that must be met:

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)

This verse is confirmed in Job by the statement made by young Elihu, a preacher of the gospel:

Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. (Job 34:10-11)

This is further confirmed by Proverbs:

The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. (Proverb 20:27)

It is this last criteria that is the most difficult to meet, as we will lie to ourselves about what we really want. However, the LORD God, Who searches us thoroughly, knows for certain why we are reading His word, and what we intend to do with it. Hence, if we never intend to properly exercise it, or wish to only mock the things of God, the LORD will never grant the instrument of faith whereby one can perceive and understand the truth of God and His word.

Thus, if one is never able to understand the word of God and cannot have assurance to the truth of the Scripture, the place to begin is their own heart. Faith belongs to the LORD God, and like everything else it is His to give based upon who meets the criteria to receive it.

Do you really want to know, or are you just playing a game?

To be continued . . .

Share
Translate »