Faith: what it is and what it does.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Substance is Reality. It makes real the things of God, to us.
We have so many virtual things. Things which speak to our imagination or feelings.
But faith is not virtual, but real.
It is the attribute of God which is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit, when we are born again.
The substance which is faith, is Reality. It is actual. It makes a difference within us, and for us.
And our lives should “evidence” that substance, if we have faith.
“Evidence” shows forth the change that is happening to us.
As Jesus said: John 3:7-8 ” Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou nearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Simply, you see the effects of the wind, or what it moves; but not the wind itself.
So it everyone that is born again. You see the effects of the new birth; not the birth itself.
We naturally fight against God; as our King.
Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
You might say: “No, I don’t. I go to Church, and I am active in the ministries for charity, etc.”
But those “good” works are as the Pharisees of old–unless you love God in the doing of them.
(Doing to be seen or approved of men, does not count with God.)
Matthew 6:5 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogue and in the corners of the street, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.”
Only works done out of love to Christ, count with God. (1 Corinthians 13)
Which brings us back to “enmity to God”. If you have a fit every time the command of God speaks to your heart, then your “natural” self is showing.
You can “tithe all that you have”, (Luke 18:12); but if you do it to get something from God: you won’t.
Faith, on the other hand, brings all things down from God, to you.
Hebrews 11:6 “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.”
True faith makes real every promise given, except those for a future date. (And even these we may taste of right now, though we can not experience them fully.)
Faith pleases God, because 1) it is from God.
2)Because it makes the heart love Him, and the mind trust God.
Remember, faith given us by the Holy Spirit at new birth, makes real the things of God.
Once we are born again, we receive a new nature.
Our “flesh”, or old nature is not eradicated; but it is instead, brought into subjection to God, and His Word, by the Holy Spirit using faith. (Galatians 5:16)
Faith is the most powerful of the graces God gives us; for it gives sight to our spiritual eyes, so we can see the truth.
It gives understanding to our ears, so we can hear what is truly being said, both by God and men.
And it moves or influences our hearts to love and obey Christ.
By faith we, as His children, walk from here to heaven, with Him.
Faith is not: “I hope so, or I think so, or I wish so”; but faith knows, in the only way True knowledge comes: Personally by the Holy Spirit from God directly to you.
It makes His Presence real to us, His commands powerful in our lives, and His Will is our best way to go. His Holy Spirit our blessed companion, who guides us into more faith as we go along.
By faith Abel, Noah, Abraham, etc. did exploits, which manifested God to the generation in which they lived. For it is promised in Daniel: “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32).
Faith makes us know our God, Who He is, and what He will do for us.
What exploits should we do in the generation in which we live?
Hebrews 11:33-34 “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, and wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
Through faith in God, ordinary believers, by their obedience, did great things.
Again, what great things are we called to do by faith, through the power of the Holy Spirit?
“Subdue Kingdoms, Obtain Promises, and Stop the mouths of Lions.”
Subdue Kingdoms: That is, we are to bring, by exercising our faith in obedience, all other domineering influences in our lives, under the control of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Whether this is our besetting sin, our habits, or other people’s influence; we are to subdue them all to Christ and His Word.
Obtain Promises: To “obtain”, is to get the promise into your practical life. (You may have a promise for your ministry, your personal health, or your work; but if you are not. experiencing those promises, you have not obtained them)
It is not “claim them” only, but to have them really for what they were given for.
You might have the assurance they will come,(blessed assurance-a foretaste of the reality); but until they do come, they are not obtained.
(I have obtained promises by prayer–some prayed for a long time. Other promises, I have had to do the obedience commanded. For as I did, the power was given. [Luke 17:14])
Stop the mouths of Lions: These lions are NOT the ones Daniel was saved from; but the roaring lions of the Adversary, the Devil.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Roaring, they seek to frighten you from following the Lord Jesus.
Walking about, seeking whom he may devour. In other words, seeking those who are not walking in God’s Light.
Our means of doing this is:
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”
1 Peter 5:9 ” Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
We cast ourselves, by faith, on God’s Care; And we resist by faith the fear, and stay in God’s Way for us.
“Have faith in God.” Jesus said, when He was here. (Mark 11:22). And so we should. He is our all in all. He gives us His Holy Spirit to guide, and comfort us; and His faith to bring us into all He has for us.
Do you have the reality, which is the true faith of God in your life?
If you are not truly born again, the invitation to come to Christ is still going out.
John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
When you are born again, it comes by yielding to the Holy Spirit, and walking in the Light of His love.