LIVE BY FAITH
Behold, the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.
(Hab 2:4 NASB)
Faith, per definition, is often used in a very vague manner, leaving a trace of mystery to it, as if one has to bring about in reality what one envisioned. The Scriptural use of the word faith is not at all mystical. In fact, faith is mostly used in context of a person’s ‘mind’ – a conviction or assurance which affects his whole state of being, his mindset, the choices he makes, his general, moral conduct, as well as his emotional tranquility. Faith, in Scripture, is essentially connected to the reality of the God whom we worship, enabling us to have a relationship with Him – allowing Him to affect the very essence of our existence because of the influence He has on our lives because we are ‘known by Him.’ The essence of this faith mindset is captured by the prophet Isaiah, ‘The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee,’ (Is 26:3).
Faith severed from a relationship with God is void. Faith, as we all know, is “an assurance,” and “a conviction,” not of things connected to this material world we live in, but of an unseen God who is setting apart a Kingdom for those who believe, (Heb 11:1). The foundation stones of His throne is righteousness and justice (Ps 97:2), and the highway in His everlasting Kingdom is ‘the Highway of Holiness,’ and ‘the unclean will not travel on it,’ (Is 35:8). Thus, first and foremost, ‘he who comes to God must believe (be sure and convicted) that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him,’ for, ‘without faith it is impossible to please Him,’ (Heb 11:6). What a powerful statement!
Faith is indeed the breath of life for the righteous in every step of his walk and every encounter with the unseen God, for we cannot please Him in any other way. Faith is thus far more than “choosing heaven” in order “to avoid eternal hell.” Faith is anchored in a relationship. It is a conviction that God exists, that He created me, and that I have sinned against Him. Faith is a conviction that I cannot live eternally unless I am convinced that I need the atonement established by His only begotten Son. Faith is the assurance that God sealed my redemption through the blood of Messiah, that I am being washed by His Word, and that I am sealed by His Spirit, (1 John 5:6-8; Eph 1:13-14; Heb 6:16-20). Who can BUT marvel at such an amazing thought, rendering such a confidence!
Being satisfied at this point will fall short of glory, for faith is much more. Faith is the conviction that my life is not my own, that I was bought with a price, the precious blood of God’s Unblemished Lamb! (1 Peter 1:17-18). How then, can I continue lest I consecrate my life in thankfulness? Indeed then, faith will become a way of life, it will be my daily response to the Holy Spirit’s convictions of my wrongful thoughts and His assurance of all God’s promises, (Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19; Rom 8:5-8; Gal 5:16-24). Moreover, faith will be my assurance as I trust the Father when He prunes me in order to increase fruitfulness (John 15:1-2), and when He disciplines me to ‘strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and (to) make straight paths for my feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed,’ (Heb 12:12-13). [See also Heb 12:1-13.]
As I consecrate my life to Messiah in thankfulness, I will trust and allow Him to change me from glory to glory, transforming me through the renewal of my mind, (2 Cor 3:18; Rom 12:1-2). There is no passive verbs in this equation for as we continue the journey together, repentance will be my willingness to be changed, and faith will bear fruit through the convictions and assurances of the Spirit of Truth, changing me from glory to glory.
In fact, faith assures me that every truth and every promise in the Word of God overrides every difficulty and hardship, no matter how dire my circumstances; ‘for as many as may be the promises of God, in Him (Messiah) they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us,’ (2 Cor 1:20); and ‘Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today, yes and forever.’ (Heb 13:8). [Insertion added by the author.]
Indeed, faith is the essence of my walk with God!
Thus the author of Hebrews establishes,‘Repentance from dead works and faith toward God,’ as the first essential building stone in the elementary teaching about the Messiah, (Heb 6:1). Repentance, we established, is the ‘turn’ we need to make in order to be renewed in our thinking, the willingness to acknowledging that, “our thoughts are not in line with God’s thoughts, and that His ways are higher than our ways,” (Is 56:55). Faith, on the other hand, is the convictions and assurances aligning my mind in unity with God’s thoughts and God’s ways.