Principles for Christian Living 2

Lesson 6: Faith Towards God

Reviewing our foundational scripture, Hebrews 6:1 says:

6 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,   

As we previously settled the way we get saved is by God's grace through faith; we now move to the next "elementary principle that we also have to resolve in our hearts before we can actually move on to maturity. This is the principle of "faith towards God.

This is a topic that we can speak of for many weeks and months; however we will spend sufficient time to ensure that this principle is settled in our lives.

The Bible is a Book that is filled with examples of faith. From the very beginning in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis when God spoke the world into existence and then He restored it by the Word of His power, He did so through the principle of faith as what He desired had not manifested.

This becomes the example for how we are to live as His children. Just as God spoke and then it became and was "good, we are to do the same thing in our lives.

We believed in our hearts that Jesus died for us, we confessed with our mouths that God raised Him from the dead; God then sealed that promise in us as we now await our eternal salvation with the Father.

It was faith that gave us access to God and eternal life and it is to be faith that sustains us throughout the course of our life in the earth.

We must be sure about what faith is and properly live it each day. One of the misconceptions is that faith is something that we "conjure up when we have a need or "work up when things are bad.

However the Bible is clear revealing that faith is to be a lifestyle that brings us into the grace of God as He fulfills each promise that He made to us.

There are 367 Scriptures on faith [faithful; faithfulness] in the Bible. A couple of the more common are:

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Second Corinthians 5:7 "We walk by faith and not by sight.

Hebrews 12:3 "God has dealt to every   _man_ the measure of faith.

Understanding faith gives us a foundation that allows us to withstand the inevitable storms associated with living in the earth. No how much we try to plan and prepare our lives, there are some things that you cannot avoid. Even the most well thought out plans is often disrupted by the trials of life.

These trials are not meant to overwhelm us or cause us to doubt that God is not in control or not there at all. If we exercise faith in the midst of them, you will see that God is faithful and will grant peace and renew our hope.

What is faith? "I like to view faith as the ability to believe what you cannot see until it becomes a reality or manifests in your life. Often, the principle of patience is linked to Biblical faith as the Bible is clear in stating we "¦receive the promises of God through faith and patience. Hebrews 6:12

Another element of faith is "hope as Hebrews 11:1 says:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This allows us to understand that although we cannot see what we hope for in the natural, faith gives what we desire "substance until we do. When you operate in Biblical faith, the faith you extend is just as real as if you actually possessed what God promised.

Substance is: "That which underlies the apparent; the reality of what something is made of; that which is the source of something, therefore it's the assurance or guarantee.

Further, substance is "The ground of confidence, assurance, guarantee, or proof that something exists. Hebrews 11:1 can actually be translated: "faith is confidence in the things hoped for¦

When confidence is referenced it speaks of "The quality that leads someone to stand under or endure while under pressure to give in. Further it speaks of the ability to undertake something that you have no physical evidence of existence or guarantee that there will be a favorable outcome.

Lastly, substance is "What really exists under any appearance, the reality of what is obvious or the essential nature of a thing."

The mistake many people make is they call faith what is "outside the parameters of what God reveals in His Word in principle or precept.

Although this is a principle that will work for whoever chooses to use it, the things that God expects us as His children to use our faith for is clearly outlined in the Word of God. 

It's when we believe God for things that are outside the desires He has for us that causes many Christians frustration. Frustration comes when you want something that you will consume upon your lusts and you refer to that as faith even when it does not line up with what God intends.

James cautions us against having wrong motives when we ask God for something saying in chapter 4:

1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

If you will notice, these scriptures refer to a war that is going on within "your members. This battle is berthed out of lust for pleasures that God didn't't't necessarily order for you. Now your mind and flesh are battling over what you want versus what God wants for you.

The irony is, the thing you may be trusting God for or believing God for may just be beneficial for your life and God's Kingdom, but when pride enters in as verse six states [God resists the proud¦] God may lock down what we believe we're asking Him for in faith.

Because you believe that it is God's will, now the fight within your members begin and because what you ask for is not necessarily a sin, the only thing that will determine God's will in that instance is the process of time as you extend the necessary patience to see God's will manifested.

The fact is, "It's often within this timeframe that God deals with the pride of our hearts and lines us up with His character so we can rightfully handle the thing that we ask Him for.   

When it comes to faith you must understand that "You have faith even though it may not be perfected yet.

I say often-times , using our forefather Abraham as an example that Biblical faith is progressive. We must allow it to develop and when we do there may be mistakes made along the way.

This example is in Genesis chapters 12 through 21 when Abraham fathered Ishmael when he first received God's promise and then after he learned that God didn't't need help in bringing His promises to pass, allows God to birth Isaac as He promised He would.

However, in experiencing the fulfillment of God's promises, as we progress in the things of God we will find that "Faith is already inside us and waiting for an avenue or opportunity to demonstrate its power in our lives.

Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Once you realize that faith is inside you and God gave you the responsibility to "activate it, you must exercise it for the things that God already determined it is to be used for in His Word. One thing is always the salvation of others.

With verse 3 ending saying that God "has dealt or apportioned to each one of us a measure of faith, the sentence structure is past tense whereas being an act that we experienced in the past “ our faith is also to be viewed as a present reality.

This means if you "were given faith at some time in the past, you have faith now. We must learn to use it properly and allow it to grow as God intends.

Defined, faith is "Belief in that which has no evidence or tangible proof of its existence. One of the greatest tests to determine whether you are operating in Biblical faith is whether you have faith in God.

Jesus tells us in Mark 11:20 to "Have faith in God. Combining this scripture with another that is vital for a solid foundation of our faith you see that Hebrews 11:6 states in order to have faith in God you must believe that He exists.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Message Bible Translation

It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

Faith defined as "belief, reliability, trust, confidence, firm persuasion, assurance, and having a firm conviction that something exists even when there is no physical evidence that it does.

The faith we enjoy is not a product of this earthly realm or a by-product of human origin “ it's a gift from God. Being a gift, it will not necessarily be replaced by something else, but it will increase in value because of the entrance of the Word of God into our hearts. Romans 10:17 says:

So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Message Bible states:

The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ's Word is preached, there's nothing to listen to.

The more Word you hear, the more your faith will grow but you must mix the word with the faith that you have. The Word didn't profit them not being mixed with faith in those that heard it. Hebrews 4:2

For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

One thing that many Christians have not placed sufficient effort upon is the "hearing of the Gospel so they can increase their faith.

The enemy places many excuses in our minds such as:

  • Why you don't need to come to church and participate in Bible study;
  • Why you don't need to read your Bible on your own or
  • Why you don't need to get involved in other aspects of our walk that ensures that the Word of God penetrates our hearts such as being involved in worship or being involved in corporate prayer

Keeping you from hearing the Word of God puts you in a place of stagnated growth because your spiritual walk will never develop beyond the growth of your faith.

We receive God's Word and therefore increase our faith in the following ways:

  • The Preaching of the Gospel
  • The reading of the Bible
  • In times of prayer
  • In Praise and Worship
  • Words of encouragement from other believers

These are areas you must stretch yourself and grow in so your faith can increase.

For faith to be genuine, it must have action or expression. James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the Word not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

When his disciples asked Him to increase their faith in Luke chapter 17, Jesus reply was an indirect admonition for them to use what they had.

5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith.

6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ˜Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

The Bible already reveals in Romans 12:3 that we have been given a measure of faith, and here Jesus lets us know that what you have is enough to move a tree.

The key is to use what you have until it becomes strong. Like a muscle in our physical bodies, the faith that we have been given must be exercised if it is going to become strong.

Within this scripture is another subtle principle that can be overlooked but is supported by other scriptures throughout the Bible and that is, "faith speaks

This can be viewed as the principle of confession whereas we are admonished by God to speak in agreement with what He already spoke in His Word. This is why in verse six Jesus said ¦if you have faith¦ you can say¦

A supporting scripture is in the Book of Mark chapter 11 where Jesus' disciples acknowledged that the tree he previously cursed had indeed died, Jesus responds:

22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ˜Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 

After Jesus tells them that the focus of their faith is to be God, He reveals that their faith is activated and sustained by what they say.

A believing heart that understands the purposes of God and speaks in agreement with God's will shall receive what is promised.

In the same manner, the entire eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews gives us an example of people that exercised their faith by putting their lives on the line.

They opened themselves up to ridicule and embarrassment as they obeyed what God told them to do. The same thing happens to us at varying times in our own lives.

The fact is, God is going to back up His Word and prove that it is right. God can be trusted and when the laughter is over we are the people that will enjoy the fruit of God's manifested promises.

God said He watches over His Word to perform it and that the Lord works with us, confirming His Word with signs following.

Mark 16:20

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Isaiah 55 states

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

The New Living Translation states:

11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

The Message Bible says:

11 So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them.

Notice that there is a specific function for God's Words [they are on assignment] and once God releases them, they cannot fail.

I believe they are awaiting a specific point in time and a specific person that will wrap their faith around what God said and making it their own so God can get enjoyment out of seeing what He said manifest in our lives.

God's Word will always produce fruit if we exercise faith in what God said and learn the principles of confession and patience.

This means that if we believe, there are some things we have to "do, which is different than doing something to "help God.

Many of the promises of God have an act [or acts] of obedience attached to them. These promises are contingent upon our fulfilling our obligation to what God said in His Word. A very common yet simple example is, "You bring your tithe and God says He will open the windows of heaven. [Malachi 3]

The opposite of this may work for a new Believer whereas you find God blessing you in a sense without even trying; but as you grow in the things of God, there's an expectation that God has from His older children. And He cannot bless us for disobedience.

Therefore to ask God for blessing beyond what He is already obligated Himself to do in taking care of you will not necessarily produce the fruit in your resources that you desire.

God said He will take care of the basic needs of all His creation; but when we attach Kingdom purpose to our lives, we need resource beyond our food, clothing and shelter.

We realize that we are supposed to be blessed, so we can be a blessing in fulfillment of the covenant that God made with Abraham and is desirous of finding a place of confirmation and fulfillment in a generation of Believers. But to see this as a reality, we must be certain that we have a heart of obedience such as Abraham had.

I often say that God is not obligated to bless you past your last act of obedience to what he told you.

I also say:

  • You can't pray into your life, what you forfeit by disobedience;
  • You can't confess into your life what you forfeit by disobedience
  • You can't fast into your life what you forfeit by disobedience
  • You can't worship into your life what you forfeit by disobedience

Therefore our doing the Word is not helping God as Abraham did while his faith was being perfected and he fathered Ishmael, but obeying God - also as Abraham did - when his faith found the place of maturity some time later and he allowed the child of promise, Isaac to be birthed as God promised.

James 2:17 says, "Faith without works is dead. Remember, something that is dead has no life giving qualities or it has no ability to reproduce. Therefore, it's impotent and cannot produce anything that will benefit you or any other person.

The quality of faith that produces life is the "works that we attach to our faith. This means if you are not going to "do what you allow to come into your hearing you are not going to enjoy the fruit of what you say you are trusting God for.

For faith to be genuine, it must have action or expression.  (Read Hebrews 11 and note how faith motivated these men and women of God to act. Ex: "Noah, by faith, moved with fear and built the ark. Hebrews 11:7).

The importance of faith:

We are saved by faith. Ephesians 2:8:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

We are to live by faith. Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38:

"Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him

We are kept by faith First Peter 1:5

¦who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

We are justified by faith which produces peace and gives us access to God's grace. Romans 5:1

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We are saved by the prayer of faith James 5:14, 15. [Greek word for saved means to be "delivered or rescued from an intolerable situation]

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

We cannot please God without faith Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Once we embrace Biblical faith we quickly understand that there's longevity associated with having Biblical faith. This causes many of the people of God to establish His promises for generations to come as the people of God listed in Hebrews 11 died seeing things they were trusting God for "far off.

Hebrews 11:13

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Message Bible

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing.

This is the mentality we must allow the Holy Spirit to develop in us as we allow our faith to go beyond the boundaries of this earthly realm and be a foundation that our descendants will build their lives on.

This is the "true legacy or inheritance of faith that will benefit future generations as well as God's Kingdom.

 

Foundations for Life

Lesson 7: Salvation by Faith

As we established, we are saved by grace through faith. This is the perspective that God wants us to settle as we continue establishing these foundational principles in our lives.

When we speak of salvation, as a Christian that already received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you must understand that this word is descriptive of a past act, but includes a present reality and future promise as well.

Second Corinthians 1 states

9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us¦

As Paul was speaking of his afflictions and sufferings verses 5 and 6, he was letting the people in Corinth know that we serve a God who has the power to deliver us or grant us salvation.

Defined the word salvation means,

Deliverance from danger;

Deliverance from slavery;

Deliverance from defeat;

Deliverance from future condemnation;

Deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences [the wages of sin, Rom 6:23]

And being admitted into eternal life [With blessedness [a state of happiness] in the Kingdom of Christ]

With this established, you see where Second Corinthians chapter 1 speaking of deliverance is actually making reference to salvation.

Notice the sentence structure and you will also see that your deliverance or salvation encompasses your entire life. Speaking of God "Who raises the dead it says in verse 10 "¦who has delivered us¦ “ with it saying "has delivered it reflects a past tense action, meaning this happened at a "previous point in time.

The scripture continues saying "¦and does deliver us meaning that what you may be presently facing, God has your deliverance or salvation in mind as the Scriptures are clear that God has already provided a way of escape for you.

First Corinthians 10

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way  of  escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Then, still speaking of our God Who "raises the dead He will do just that as it says "in whom we trust will that He will still deliver us¦ Therefore we must view our salvation or deliverance from any calamity or evil that will come in our lives as something that God has already provided an answer for.

Our salvation is complete past, present and future and we must live each day understanding that God provided deliverance, is providing deliverance and will yet provide deliverance for us.

Salvation is referenced in Scripture by various terms: Saved; born again; redeemed; eternal life and everlasting life each speaks of the blessed hope we have as we placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ when He bore our sins on the cross.

To place faith in that work and settle our eternal state once and for all, we must have supportive scriptures that we know, believe and commit to our memory. The fact is that our lives are lived in the earth with this being a temporary place is hard for our natural minds to grasp without the Spirit of God enlightening us with it.

Some scriptural references for us to reflect and meditate on are: John 3

3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born  again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

First Peter 1

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Romans 10

9 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

            13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved

Another word that speaks of salvation is the word justification. This is something that we must also accept by faith as we will never be viewed as just or righteous in God's eyes because of things that we do on our own.

As we saw in a previous chapter, our good works are as filthy rags and will never make us right with God. Therefore nothing we can do can make us any more saved or righteous before God than we were the moment we got saved. However we must strive to mature in the things of God in order to fulfill our purpose.

Romans 5

18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.

If you read in context, in verse 18 the one man who committed the offense referenced here is Adam and condemnation was the result of his sin. However, though one [capital] M-a-ns righteous act the free gift of salvation came that resulted in "justification of life

Justification is the "Act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to Him. This is true even if you were guilty of a past act. First John 1 reveals God's heart in making us righteous and keeping us righteous. What you will realize is that it must be received and accepted by faith as it could appear too good to be true. First John 1 New Living Translation

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus* and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

First John 2 New Living Translation

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins”and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

The fact is we are all capable of committing an act of sin against God and His Word at any time. To say that we are above committing any acts that are contrary to the Word of God we are lying and deceiving ourselves. This attitude breeds self-righteousness and makes us feel that we are better than someone else.

God's desire is that we get free and remain free because He does not want us to "have an excuse when it comes to disobeying His Word. Having a sinners mentality does just that and it hinders us from living the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

To have the mentality that, "I'm just a sinner saved by grace or consistently saying "we're all sinners, give you the excuse that it's just who we are when we sin. This mentality makes it unlikely that you will have a heart of repentance when you do fall. You will just acknowledge that you "messed up and go on with life as usual.

But someone that understands the righteousness of God knows that when they sin, they have sinned against God. They have godly sorrow that produces repentance and leads to salvation “ not just acknowledgment of a wrong action.

Look at how Second Corinthians chapter 7 puts it:

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Why? Because you didn't just acknowledge your mistake, but you acknowledged and repented which produced  verse 11, diligence, concern to clear yourself before God; indignation or a righteous anger; holy fear; zeal and passionate desire for the purposes of God. All produced because you have a mentality of repentance and being righteous before God.

It's important to know that you must extend the faith you received from God to accept this as a permanent one-time action that sealed your Covenant with God through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

That Blood was impregnated with the power to cleanse our hearts and conscience from the dead works that imprison God's people, keeping you in a state of servitude to the religious spirits of the day.

Those spirits will tell you that you have to keep working in order to be accepted by God and therefore you spend your life working "to attain God and not working "unto God.

Working "to attain God you try to gain His acceptance with the hope of somehow attaining eternal life with Him. Working unto God, you already received His acceptance by faith and now you willfully serve Him in any capacity you can so His eternal purposes can be accomplished in the earth.

This is revealed in Hebrews 9:

13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

This concept of justification brings us to another aspect of your salvation which is the fact that you have been declared "righteous. Being righteous, once you make Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord, God looks at you as never committing an act of sin. 

The old person died and the new person now lives. This is the symbolic expression of water baptism and also why Second Corinthians 5:17 states:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The New Living Translation

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

The Message Bible

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. [Burgeons = Grows or increases rapidly]

This lets you see that you are not the person you used to be and we must allow the new person to "grow rapidly so we can best reflect the nature that God berthed inside us when we got saved.

It's been said that a simple way to understand someone who is justified by God and is now righteous is you look at your life "JUST-AS-IF-I'D never sinned

Being righteous is another aspect of our salvation as we are now accepted by God and Christ and are viewed as the righteousness of God in Christ

Second Corinthians 5:21 states

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

At various times you will hear someone state, "We are all sinners. Although I understand what the majority of them mean, there's something wrong with allowing this type of mindset to dominate your thinking.

First, you are saying that what Christ did on Calvary's Cross was not sufficient to grant you what God said you were supposed to enjoy as a Believer in Christ and that is being "The righteousness of God in Christ.

Secondly we can unconsciously give our old nature an excuse to hang on to those old habits, actions and way we used to think instead of allowing our minds to be renewed with what God actually said in His Word.

In Second Corinthians 5:21, when God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us or in our place, He did it so that after Jesus became that sin and paid the price with His Blood, that following His resurrection there would be a group of people who would become the righteousness of God in Him or in His place. He took our place and we took His.

He took our sin and the punishment and shame that went along with it and gave us His position of royalty with the Father.

Hebrews 9:11 states:

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Having obtained eternal redemption means this is a past action that has present and future implications.  He obtained it, we accept it by faith and no longer can the guilt and condemnation of our past lifestyle accuse us any longer unless we allow it to because we remain in ignorance or disregard what God said.

Because we now know what we have in our salvation experience, we remain free from the power of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The key to sustained victory is revealed in James 4

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

If we submit to God and resist the devil, we have God's assurance that the devil will flee from us.

Each of these is components of our eternal inheritance that we have been given because we made Jesus Christ our Lord. This what God expects us to walk in as part of our salvation and we walk in them by faith, knowing them, accepting them and receiving them as personal promises from God to us.

Foundations for Life

Lesson 8: Faith vs. Doubt and Unbelief

Faith and faithfulness are always God's intent for His people. Just as He is faithful and without faith it's impossible to please God, these characteristics of our lives must always be in tact so we can live in the manner God determines. Therefore we must be faithful as we extend the faith of God in our daily lives.

It takes determination to consistently grow in your faith and in your walk with God. Without making up your mind to become a matured Christian by doing what is necessary, you can wind up like untold millions of other followers of Jesus and watch as others come into the Kingdom and mature because they chose to spend the proper amount of time doing what is necessary to grow.

The fact is you can have faith without being faithful to God. Because Hebrews 12:3 states, "God has dealt to every man the measure of faith it does not mean that because you have this quality inherent in you that it will automatically be activated.

A definition of faith is to have a "Firm belief; confident persuasion that is not the outcome of imagination or denial of facts, but that which is based on Truth and therefore it becomes the basis for your realistic hope

The person that exhibits faith is a person that is totally convinced about what they desire from God and desire for God to do. They put no restraints or restrictions on Him and are not moved or motivated by the circumstance or the element of time between the moment they believe and the time of the manifestation.

Concerning being faithful, First Corinthians 4:2 states: "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Being faithful means you are "To be trustworthy; believable; you are to be faithful in duty [responsibilities and obligations] to yourself and to others “ especially God

How do you prove yourself faithful to God? James commands us to be "Doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Obedience to what God said is what breeds faithfulness to what He desires.

Being faithful is something that you commit your heart and life to. Just as your initial commitment to God is forever, your service and obedience to His commands are also to be continual - being done every day.

As you purpose in your heart to be faithful and therefore obedient to God's commands to you, the enemy does not just let this happen. He will cause thoughts to enter your mind and situations to occur with the intent to cause you to progressively doubt God.

In the same manner that faith is progressive, if that faith is not consistently nurtured by "hearing and hearing by the Word of God¦ doubt creeping in is also progressive and increases when you do not consistently hear the Word of God.

The first attack against your faith therefore is for satan trying to get you away from the Word of God so you are not hearing it as you should be.

In a previous chapter we went over the various ways the enemy attacks you as a Christian to get you to not come to church and stop hearing what is being spoken in the House of God. Neglecting to heed the warnings causes you to be ill equipped when an attack against you, your family, your community or your church is waged.

Therefore you must set your heart to be faithful and ward off the doubt and unbelief that is certain to come by hearing what God has to say everyday not allowing anything to distract you.

To think that you are above giving in to doubt and unbelief because of where you are currently at in your walk with God is a deceptive tactic that could cause you to do just that “ give in to doubt and unbelief.

In First Corinthians chapter 10, we have an admonition from God using the people of Israel as an example. They became comfortable with God and familiar with His Presence.

Taking for granted that He would always be there they lusted after evil things and became idolaters meaning in their hearts, they placed earthly things that their hearts conjured up and that their hands made above the True and Living God.

6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Here the people of God took the things God blessed them with when the left Egypt and made a golden calf to represent the True and Living God. In Exodus 32, Moses' brother Aaron told the people that this is your God and the next day they were to celebrate a feast to it.

The people of God forsaking Him and becoming idolaters produced other acts of evil such as lusting after the things of the world, sexual immorality, tempting God and complaining as verses 8 to 10 states.

Although we can look at this scripture and say we would never commit a sexual sin, the fact is some Christians have and still do and thinks nothing is wrong with it.

However, the greater deception here is that we place one act of sin above another as these verses say they also lusted after other things, tempted God and complained and the end result is they were destroyed just as those that committed sexual sin was.

We shouldn't think that God does not leave us with no way out or the ability to refrain from falling like the children of Israel did. However, we can't tempt God and think He's going to relieve us of our distress while we live without considering Him and His commands.

We must be mindful of our actions and stay close to God so we are not overcome with doubt and unbelief. First Corinthians 10 continues:

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

When the Bible commands us to "take heed it's telling us to "See what happened; understand and discern something; to perceive with your mind and be aware of something

When things occur that's contrary to the Word of God for your life, you must apply the Word of God to your situation by "knowing what the Word says; praying the answer based on God's Word; and speaking in agreement with what God said in His Word

Doing so, you are standing on God's Word until it becomes a reality and the situation changes. This is where as you go through challenges as verse 13 states you "¦may be able to bear it

This means that you will be able to "endure it or be "sustained in it. Enduring something means you can tolerate or withstand something and this is the strength and stamina we receive from the Word of God until we get past the problem and settled in what God promised.

God never intends for our challenges to overwhelm us to the point where we become so disillusioned or disappointed that we neglect the call He placed on our lives. His desire is that we would all experience abundance and breakthrough the barriers of our lives.

Satan wants us to become so overwhelmed with the challenge that we give up and no longer even try to stand on God's Word “ believing that what God promised that He is also able to bring to pass.   

God allows us to see that when things don't happen as we expect, that we are not to side with the world, over-rationalize the situation or compromise the Word of God as the children of Israel did.

We must see what happened and respond accordingly so we don't experience the same fate as they did here in First Corinthians chapter 10. This is faith in action!

Now, dealing with God from the perspective of faithfulness, the responsibility on us is that we are given the charge to guard our hearts against unbelief.

As I said previously, you can [and have been given a measure of faith] but not be regarded as being faithful. Not believing what God said causes you to be less faithful to His Word than He desires and requires.

Therefore after we receive Jesus Christ as Savior our service to Him demonstrates the level of Lordship that we hold Him on.

When someone is considered "Lord they have been endued with "power, authority, might and right. The Person that is Lord is the "Possessor; Owner; Head; He is Master and has absolute authority over everything within the sphere of His Kingdom.

The fact is, as we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, it's only the beginning of our walk with Him. Our responsibility becomes placing Him over our lives by giving Him the position that He is deserving of as the One Who possessed us, Owns us; is our Head and the Master of our lives.

Remember,

  • Ownership is determined by the person that paid the price for the item
  • The value of something is determined by the purchaser
  • The purchaser being the owner determines what return on His investment the item is supposed to give

The Bible says, we were purchased not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus. Because He paid the price He is the Owner of our lives as we are not our own but have been bought with a price.

Secondly, God determined our value and saw that we would be worth the greatest price anyone could pay in the entire Universe. By placing faith in Christ, we were given access to the Father and guaranteed eternal life with God.

Third, God determined that our sinful lives would give Him the return on His investment. He gets His intended value from us as we obey His Word and are faithful to His commands.

However, we will not be faithful to God if we do not understand what He requires us to be faithful to and what He desires from us.

This goes back to being certain that we remain in position where our faith is constantly being fed on the Word of God and therefore allowing our faith to increase through that investment of time.

If we don't grow in our faith we risk exchanging a heart of love and faith for an evil heart of unbelief. This is where Hebrews 3 challenges us remain steadfast in our walk with God. Hebrews 3

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

Knowing that God dealt with His people Israel in a certain manner and it is now an example for us, allows us to see what we are to avoid and what we are supposed to do so we can live in a manner that fully pleases Him. Verse 16 continues

For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Unbelief is defined as "Faithlessness or uncertainty, distrust. It's a lack of trust in the God of promise.

When you became a Christian, there was much more in your compensation package than going to heaven. It's similar to getting a job in the natural. The employer hires you to do a specific job and with that job comes compensation each pay period.

However in most jobs your compensation is not restricted to your hourly wage, but includes things you don't see like a life insurance policy, health insurance, vacation time, a certain number of breaks throughout the day and various other perks.

In the Kingdom, God grants us eternal life as the basis for our confession of faith in Christ, and then God adds peace, prosperity, health, and a plethora of other perks that He guarantees in His Word.

However, similar to natural principle, if you don't know what your compensation package includes you cannot fully utilize what is rightfully yours “ the same is true in the Kingdom of God.

Hosea 4:6 states, "My people perish for lack of knowledge and not knowing [and becoming fully convinced of] what Christ provided for us on Calvary's cross will keep you and your descendants from living in the earth enjoying the benefits of your compensation package which is the Word of God.

You cannot enter into the full provision of God if you have a lack of faith.You also must remember that faith must be activated through your initial relationship with God and then remain active by consistently feeding your heart with the Word and living in obedience to what God declared.

If you find yourself in a state of unbelief, you need faith to counteract it. How does your faith increase? Romans 10:17

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

Therefore unbelief is actually the result of the lack of "the Hearing the Word of God. The more Word you have inside you. The harder it is for a spirit of unbelief to remain.

Yet the responsibility rests on your shoulders to stay connected with God and not think that because you're a Christian that unbelief cannot take root.

John 8:

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The New Living Translation states:

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

To abide somewhere is meant to be a permanent state or condition. It means to: remain, dwell or live in a certain place. When you live in or abide in Christ's Word, you are continually building yourself up. You therefore become settled in God's Truth which in turns frees you from the things that previously kept you in bondage.

As we previously established, it is imperative that we connect the Word of God with our faith. What I want to add is that faith properly directed will rest in God and this in turn allows prayer to be the undermining or supporting force that allows you to profit in the things you believe God for. Mark 11:22, "Have faith in God

In the same manner that the promises to the Israelites were certain “ coming from the very mouth of God - and they had a part to play in the fulfillment of them, we do so as well. Hebrews 4:2,

2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

To properly deal with unbelief you must have active faith that is consistently nourished with the Word of God. The fact is once unbelief has found an inroad into our lives it won't just go away by wishing and hoping it away.

Being a person of faith and being faithful does not mean you won't have a day where you "feel like you don't measure up to God's standard. It means that you will not let those feelings govern your life and actions and cause you to disregard the purposes of God by not obeying what you know you should be doing

Being faithful means that you are going to do what you know God requires all the time. This means you may not always have days where you feel like you have the faith of Abraham, but you will be consistent in your faith and this is what the Word of God is designed to do “ give you consistency in your walk. In order for the Word to give you consistency, you must know it and do what it says.

The Book of James speaks of a condition of some Christians that are not consistent in their walk referring to them as being "double-minded.

The precept in James chapter 1 is that reference is made to a man who lacks wisdom, but the principle is the same for decisions we make with life in general.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

A double minded person is a person who is doubtful and literally is someone that "suffers from divided loyalties. One day he wants to maintain a godly confession and desires the Presence of God in his life; the next day he loves the ways of the world and prefers to live according to the dictates of the world and the flesh which are both influenced by the devil.

The Christian who desires to live this way should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. This person is wasting his time and although may have a good religious front before people and even appease his conscience by doing minimal Christian service, he is still disqualified because of a divided heart.

When faced with doubting God while you are in the midst of tests or trials, Romans 4:17-22 is one of our greatest examples in combating unbelief.

(as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations) in the presence of Him whom he believed”God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be. 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Abraham:

  1. "Had a promise from God. You also need a promise to anchor your faith to.
  2. Knew God gave life to what appeared to be dead, and the life was released through what God said “ NOT WHAT WAS REVEALED TO THE SENSES
  3. Understood that hope was not a "present reality. So when he had no natural hope, he was still able to hope in what God said because the situation was not settled as long as he had life in his body.
  4. Didn't consider the circumstance he faced. Because the situation looked bleak, the fact is it was beyond his ability to bring the promise to pass.
  5. Therefore, he didn't waver at what God promised but strengthened himself by giving God the glory that is due Him in the midst of the problem. The word "waver or stagger means he didn't "vacillate between two opinions. We also must be settled on what God said and not allow circumstance or people to change our hearts.
  6. We also must be fully convinced that what God promised us in His Word, He is also able to bring it to pass. Remember, you become fully convinced by John 8:82, "Continuing in God's Word, then you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free!

One last component of your faith that we will look at is the fact that faith not only believes, but speaks as well.

This principle is brought out clearly in Mark chapter 11 when Jesus spoke to the fig tree. It must be understood that this is not the only time when something was manifested because Jesus spoke the answer.

Jesus spoke to:

  • The winds and the waves and they obeyed Him;
  • He spoke to the demons that had a man possessed and they obeyed Him
  • Matthew 9:2 He spoke to the paralytic and he was healed

In the same manner as Jesus spoke, this serves as an example in what moves us to the place where we also speak according the commandment He gave us in Mark chapter 11:

22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ˜Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

The principle that granted you access into the Kingdom is also the same principle that God uses to bring every other promise to pass. It is the principle of confession. However we will see that there are two components to having a proper confession of faith.

As we established the promises of God are secured through faith and patience. When we speak the promise in faith and allow the principle to take hold, the result is "¦you will have whatever you say as verse 23 declares.

Therefore you have the principles of faith, the word, patience and speaking what the Bible says as components to seeing what you desire.

However, in Romans 10 you have where the heart of the person is also a very important factor in granting Kingdom access. We must believe in our heart and confess with our mouth.

8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.

Because faith speaks, you must be certain you are speaking properly. Speaking based on knowledge alone, history alone, or experience and facts alone does not release the authority of God in your life and situation. You must speak in agreement with God by speaking in agreement with the Word of God.

When verse 9 states, "confess with your mouth, in the Greek the word confess is a compound word using the two Greek words, "homo and logeo. This two words mean we are to "speak the same as.  In our case we are to SPEAK THE SAME THING THAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS.

What God wants is the "life of Christ to be manifested in these human bodies while we walk here in the earth. To do this, we bring our lives in agreement with the Word of God by what we say based on what we allowed to be placed in our hearts.

The reality is if it is in your heart, eventually you will speak what's there. Luke 6:45-b states, "For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks

Second Corinthians 4 states,

11 "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

To live as Jesus did takes knowing how He lived; believing what He said as revealed in the Word and then speaking what you allow to find a lodging place in your heart. In other words, you will SPEAK what you BELIEVE!

It's said that:

  • Your confession is a result of your believing.
  • Your believing is a result of your thinking.
  • Your thinking is a result of your knowledge.
  • Your knowledge is a result of your Source.

Therefore the foundation of your confession is where the source of your information comes from.

  • If your source is the news media, you will speak what they say
  • If your source is your family history, you will speak what they say
  • If your source is based on past hurts and pain, you will speak out of hurt and pain
  • If your source is your past experiences, you will speak restricting the outcome to what you experienced in the past
  • If your source is education only, you will speak out of your limited intelligence
  • If your source is past religious experiences; you will speak based on religion and not God's Word

It's not that any of these things are wrong in and of themselves, however to restrict your life to a source of knowledge that is not given over to the Word of God limits the outcome that God has determined.

When your Source is the Word of God you will have what God says. A source is the "basis, foundation, birthplace and groundwork of something. For many Christians you have to replace a foundation that's already in place with the foundation that God desires. That foundation was decades being laid and to remove it you have to allow the Word of God to go deep.

Therefore, when you operate this principle, it may appear that speaking in agreement with what God says does not work.

You confessed healing and the opposite happened “ keep confessing!

You confessed prosperity and the opposite happened “ keep confessing!

You confessed salvation for your loved ones and they get worse “ keep confessing!

Your response to contrary evidence is to keep speaking what God says. As you do, you are uprooting the current foundation and replacing it with the True and Sure Foundation!

If you find yourself speaking contrary to what God says, you will change your confession by changing where you get your information from. This in turn changes what you believe.

Again First Corinthians 4:13 "And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke, we also believe and therefore speak¦