Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018

Evidence-Based

Faith

“How blessed is the man whose strength is

in You; in whose heart are the highways

[viaducts] to Zion.”

Psalm 84:5

 

Is Faith Based on Evidence?

Last week I quoted an article written by a Rabbi, that I am sure has ruffled your thoughts - it certainly did mine! The Rabbi stated: “A conviction based on desire or feelings alone has no place in Judaism. The Hebrew word ‘emunah,’ which is often translated as faith, does not describe a conviction based on feelings or desire. It describes a conviction that is based on evidence.” (Aish.com "Faith vs Knowledge" ) Faith is “a conviction based on evidence”? I am sure the first thing that comes up on your mind is Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Distorted Faith Satan has taken the brilliant opportunity provided by the ever-changing English language, and distorted the truth of Hebrews 11:1, producing a diabolical teaching on faith. The KJV translates this verse as “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” New age teaching picks up on that word 'substance' and says, effectively, that faith is what brings substance to the thought in your mind. They teach that focused thought, combined with positive emotions, will produce vibrations which then attract the thing you desire, thus producing the 'substance.' This is not what the author of Hebrews is teaching, but it is what the Rabbi was speaking against. Yet, as he teaches against the New Age concept of faith, is he also negating the teaching of Hebrews 11? What Does Hebrews Teach? The book of Hebrews is written by a Jewish author, as he writes to  Jewish recipients. Is the quoted article from the Rabbi, consistent with the thinking of the author of Hebrews, or not? As I mentioned, the English language is ever-changing. The meaning of some words used just fifty years ago, have no relationship to the same words as they are used today.  So, if we want to understand what is being communicated, we need to know the meaning the words as they were used at the time of writing. The King James Version was written in the 17 th  century, and it was translated from Latin. With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the word 'substance' comes from the Latin word which means 'to stand under'. This is also the meaning of the Greek word that had been translated into Latin. Looking at the Greek Interlinear Bible, it is noteworthy that there is no Greek word for 'things' in the first part of verse 1: "Faith is the assurance of (things) hoped for ..." So, could one then say that faith is the underpinning of hope? Faith the foundation of hope? Or that faith is that which makes hope stand steady or firm? As I meditated on this thought, Proverbs 13:12 came to mind : “Hope deferred makes the heart sick ..." Could it be that hope deferred points to a weak foundation of hope? What is the focus of your hope? The outcome hoped for, or the goodness of God? The goodness of God will never fail, but His ways are much higher than ours, and He may meet us in a completely different way to our expectation. Over the past three weeks, we have seen that faith is a heart-persuasion that results in some form of outworking. This heart-persuasion is what gives substance to hope; it is that which makes hope firm, strong, and enduring. And this is more reliably so, if our heart-persuasion is based upon the God-breathed word of God. So faith is that which gives substance to hope; it is that which makes hope stand firm, strong, and enduring. Faith changes hope from being a mere possibility, to being an expectation. The verse goes on to say that faith is ”the conviction of things not seen.” The Greek word for "things" in this second part of the verse, is quite broad; it speaks of that which may be a physical object, but it also includes something that needs to be accomplished, though the end result is not necessarily a physical object, e.g. healing in your body or in a relationship. Now the interesting thing is, that the Greek word translated as 'conviction' in the NASB, speaks of "proof". The King James Version translates this Greek word as 'evidence', "... the evidence of things not seen." Is that not interesting? Faith itself is our proof, or evidence. But the Rabbi says that Judaism teaches a belief or conviction based on  evidence. How can faith be both evidence and based on evidence?   Evidence or Based on Evidence? Romans 1:16-17 tells us, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘but the righteous man shall live by faith.’” Does a picture start to form for you? It all starts with the Gospel. What is the Gospel? It is the Good News of Jesus: God who took on the form of a man, lived for a while among those of that time, died an horrific death to pay the penalty for our sin, which we could never pay, then rose to life again. He now offers us forgiveness of sin, together with eternal, abundant life in and through Himself, as He reconciles us to intimacy of relationship to God, Who is one. You hear the message of the Gospel. You sense a heart-persuasion that this is true, and you choose to respond to that persuasion by surrendering to the truth of the Gospel. As you surrender, you receive His grace that sets you free from the power of sin and death in your life, as he gives you a new heart, and His Holy Spirit comes to live within you. Though this is through faith, there is usually some evidence that is noticeable within the first few days. Probably the most general evidence is a sense of deep peace, because there is peace in the presence of God, and the Holy Spirit is now within you. My initial evidence was a sense of joy and peace, and then when I picked up my Bible that evening, as was my custom before turning out my light each night, suddenly it made sense! Though I read the Bible religiously each night, I needed some form of devotional book to make some sense of what I read. But this night, I did not need a devotional book, I knew what God was saying, and He was speaking right into a situation I had faced earlier that evening; a situation that carried seeds that could potentially derail my faith. Though this was over forty years ago, it was so significant that I can still remember the passage I read and the lesson I had learnt. So, the beginning of the faith that pleases God, is a heart-persuasion that the Gospel is truth. If we choose to act upon that persuasion and receive the gift of grace from God and enter into relationship with Him, on His terms, then there will be some evidence, no matter how subtle. This evidence becomes a part of the foundation of our faith. The next time we sense that heart-persuasion regarding a truth or a promise, we act upon it in trust, and later see the evidence. This evidence is added to the foundation of our faith, and it becomes stronger and stronger - from faith to faith. As I go through trials, as we all do, I am sometimes tempted to question the validity of my faith. When this happens, I usually go back to that night, over forty years ago, when the Bible suddenly became for me, the living, breathing, word of God, and which remains so to this day. This evidence supports my faith and keeps it alive. Since that time there has been more evidence that is making my faith more and more resistant to the enemy's jackhammer. “... the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘ but the righteous man shall live by faith'.” The more we trust God, the more we find Him trustworthy. The more we experience Him as trustworthy, the more we surrender to His ways, and the more stable our faith becomes. Fulfiling Our Original Purpose The original purpose of our creation is for us to be representatives of God's nature, on earth. Now, as we walk this path of faith, which produces evidence, which strengthens our foundation of faith, causing us to trust at deeper levels, we begin to reflect the righteousness, goodness, and faithfulness of God more and more.   As we move deeper and deeper into the darkness of the end times, the predominant atmosphere of fear and hopelessness forms a dark background against which the diamonds of love, hope, and faith reflect the light of God in magnificent beauty. But diamonds were nothing but coal before being exposed to great pressure, and diamonds display no beauty until the facets are masterfully cut. In the same way, it is in our trials that our faith is forged, purified and strengthened, and the facets of the diamond are cut to precision by the Master Craftsman. It is in our trials that we need to trust, and we find we can trust, and the foundation of our faith becomes strengthened as we layer evidence upon evidence, personal testimony upon personal testimony. But Faith is the evidence of things not seen! Yes! Layer upon layer of evidence! As we sense the heart-persuasion from a word we know is from God, then that heart-persuasion is our evidence. And that faith is strengthened by the layers of evidence of our experience of His goodness and faithfulness - the layers of our testimony. In the very early stages of our walk with God, the foundation of our faith may be partly based on the testimony of others, until our own testimonies begin to replace the temporary supports of borrowed evidence. With this in mind, what is the focus of your testimonies? The receiving of what you have asked for? Or the goodness and faithfulness of God? Do our testimonies provide a solid ‘substance’ or support for hope, in others - especially those young in the faith? Or do our testimonies set others up for the possibility of hope deffered? Hope deffered because the focus is on a specific outcome, rather than the goodness and faithfulness of God? If our testimonies are to be weapons that overcome satan, then the focus needs to be God’s faithfulness and goodness. Think of your testimonies. How can you share them in a way that subtly shifts the listener’s focus from seeking a specific outcome, to seeking the goodness and faithfulness of God?
Viaduct Prev Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018  

Evidence-Based

Faith

“How blessed is the man whose

strength is in You; in whose heart are

the highways [viaducts] to Zion.”

Psalm

84:5

 

Is Faith Based on Evidence?

Last week I quoted an article written by a Rabbi, that I am sure has ruffled your thoughts - it certainly did mine! The Rabbi stated: “A conviction based on desire or feelings alone has no place in Judaism. The Hebrew word ‘emunah,’ which is often translated as faith, does not describe a conviction based on feelings or desire. It describes a conviction that is based on evidence.” (Aish.com "Faith vs Knowledge" ) Faith is “a conviction based on evidence”? I am sure the first thing that comes up on your mind is Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Distorted Faith Satan has taken the brilliant opportunity provided by the ever-changing English language, and distorted the truth of Hebrews 11:1, producing a diabolical teaching on faith. The KJV translates this verse as “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” New age teaching picks up on that word 'substance' and says, effectively, that faith is what brings substance to the thought in your mind. They teach that focused thought, combined with positive emotions, will produce vibrations which then attract the thing you desire, thus producing the 'substance.' This is not what the author of Hebrews is teaching, but it is what the Rabbi was speaking against. Yet, as he teaches against the New Age concept of faith, is he also negating the teaching of Hebrews 11? What Does Hebrews Teach? The book of Hebrews is written by a Jewish author, as he writes to  Jewish recipients. Is the quoted article from the Rabbi, consistent with the thinking of the author of Hebrews, or not? As I mentioned, the English language is ever- changing. The meaning of some words used just fifty years ago, have no relationship to the same words as they are used today.  So, if we want to understand what is being communicated, we need to know the meaning the words as they were used at the time of writing. The King James Version was written in the 17 th   century, and it was translated from Latin. With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the word 'substance' comes from the Latin word which means 'to stand under'. This is also the meaning of the Greek word that had been translated into Latin. Looking at the Greek Interlinear Bible, it is noteworthy that there is no Greek word for 'things' in the first part of verse 1: "Faith is the assurance of (things) hoped for ..." So, could one then say that faith is the underpinning of hope? Faith the foundation of hope? Or that faith is that which makes hope stand steady or firm? As I meditated on this thought, Proverbs 13:12 came to mind : “Hope deferred makes the heart sick ..." Could it be that hope deferred points to a weak foundation of hope? What is the focus of your hope? The outcome hoped for, or the goodness of God? The goodness of God will never fail, but His ways are much higher than ours, and He may meet us in a completely different way to our expectation. Over the past three weeks, we have seen that faith is a heart-persuasion that results in some form of outworking. This heart-persuasion is what gives substance to hope; it is that which makes hope firm, strong, and enduring. And this is more reliably so, if our heart-persuasion is based upon the God- breathed word of God. So faith is that which gives substance to hope; it is that which makes hope stand firm, strong, and enduring. Faith changes hope from being a mere possibility, to being an expectation. The verse goes on to say that faith is ”the conviction of things not seen.” The Greek word for "things" in this second part of the verse, is quite broad; it speaks of that which may be a physical object, but it also includes something that needs to be accomplished, though the end result is not necessarily a physical object, e.g. healing in your body or in a relationship. Now the interesting thing is, that the Greek word translated as 'conviction' in the NASB, speaks of "proof". The King James Version translates this Greek word as 'evidence', "... the evidence of things not seen." Is that not interesting? Faith itself is our proof, or evidence. But the Rabbi says that Judaism teaches a belief or conviction based on evidence. How can faith be both evidence and based on evidence?   Evidence or Based on Evidence? Romans 1:16-17 tells us, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘but the righteous man shall live by faith.’” Does a picture start to form for you? It all starts with the Gospel. What is the Gospel? It is the Good News of Jesus: God who took on the form of a man, lived for a while among those of that time, died an horrific death to pay the penalty for our sin, which we could never pay, then rose to life again. He now offers us forgiveness of sin, together with eternal, abundant life in and through Himself, as He reconciles us to intimacy of relationship to God, Who is one. You hear the message of the Gospel. You sense a heart-persuasion that this is true, and you choose to respond to that persuasion by surrendering to the truth of the Gospel. As you surrender, you receive His grace that sets you free from the power of sin and death in your life, as he gives you a new heart, and His Holy Spirit comes to live within you. Though this is through faith, there is usually some evidence that is noticeable within the first few days. Probably the most general evidence is a sense of deep peace, because there is peace in the presence of God, and the Holy Spirit is now within you. My initial evidence was a sense of joy and peace, and then when I picked up my Bible that evening, as was my custom before turning out my light each night, suddenly it made sense! Though I read the Bible religiously each night, I needed some form of devotional book to make some sense of what I read. But this night, I did not need a devotional book, I knew what God was saying, and He was speaking right into a situation I had faced earlier that evening; a situation that carried seeds that could potentially derail my faith. Though this was over forty years ago, it was so significant that I can still remember the passage I read and the lesson I had learnt. So, the beginning of the faith that pleases God, is a heart-persuasion that the Gospel is truth. If we choose to act upon that persuasion and receive the gift of grace from God and enter into relationship with Him, on His terms, then there will be some evidence, no matter how subtle. This evidence becomes a part of the foundation of our faith. The next time we sense that heart-persuasion regarding a truth or a promise, we act upon it in trust, and later see the evidence. This evidence is added to the foundation of our faith, and it becomes stronger and stronger - from faith to faith. As I go through trials, as we all do, I am sometimes tempted to question the validity of my faith. When this happens, I usually go back to that night, over forty years ago, when the Bible suddenly became for me, the living, breathing, word of God, and which remains so to this day. This evidence supports my faith and keeps it alive. Since that time there has been more evidence that is making my faith more and more resistant to the enemy's jackhammer. “... the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘ but the righteous man shall live by faith'.” The more we trust God, the more we find Him trustworthy. The more we experience Him as trustworthy, the more we surrender to His ways, and the more stable our faith becomes. Fulfiling Our Original Purpose The original purpose of our creation is for us to be representatives of God's nature, on earth. Now, as we walk this path of faith, which produces evidence, which strengthens our foundation of faith, causing us to trust at deeper levels, we begin to reflect the righteousness, goodness, and faithfulness of God more and more.   As we move deeper and deeper into the darkness of the end times, the predominant atmosphere of fear and hopelessness forms a dark background against which the diamonds of love, hope, and faith reflect the light of God in magnificent beauty. But diamonds were nothing but coal before being exposed to great pressure, and diamonds display no beauty until the facets are masterfully cut. In the same way, it is in our trials that our faith is forged, purified and strengthened, and the facets of the diamond are cut to precision by the Master Craftsman. It is in our trials that we need to trust, and we find we can trust, and the foundation of our faith becomes strengthened as we layer evidence upon evidence, personal testimony upon personal testimony. But Faith is the evidence of things not seen! Yes! Layer upon layer of evidence! As we sense the heart-persuasion from a word we know is from God, then that heart-persuasion is our evidence. And that faith is strengthened by the layers of evidence of our experience of His goodness and faithfulness - the layers of our testimony. In the very early stages of our walk with God, the foundation of our faith may be partly based on the testimony of others, until our own testimonies begin to replace the temporary supports of borrowed evidence. With this in mind, what is the focus of your testimonies? The receiving of what you have asked for? Or the goodness and faithfulness of God? Do our testimonies provide a solid ‘substance’ or support for hope, in others - especially those young in the faith? Or do our testimonies set others up for the possibility of hope deffered? Hope deffered because the focus is on a specific outcome, rather than the goodness and faithfulness of God? If our testimonies are to be weapons that overcome satan, then the focus needs to be God’s faithfulness and goodness. Think of your testimonies. How can you share them in a way that subtly shifts the listener’s focus from seeking a specific outcome, to seeking the goodness and faithfulness of God?
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Prev Next