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

What is Faith?

“To one who has faith, no explanation is

necessary. To one without faith, no

explanation is possible.”

Thomas Aquinas

Faith and Righteousness

So, what is righteousness? Righteousness is not just about doing right things; it is about right being, resulting in right doing. Over the past couple of weeks we have looked at the lives of three men God considered righteous : Enoch, Noah, and Abram. There is common thread that is seen in the lives of these three men, as we see below: “Abram believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6 - Emphasis Added)   Noah believed God, as we see in Hebrews 11:7 : “By faith Noah ... prepared an ark ...”  (Emphasis added)  Genesis 6 also tells us that God considered Moses as being righteous : ‘Moses was righteous and perfect in his time.’ (Genesis 6:9) We are not told much about Enoch, but we can make the assumption that he believed God, because Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And 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 seek Him.” Verse 5 of Hebrews 11, tells us that Enoch "obtained the witness that ... he was pleasing to God." Now getting back to Cain and Abel, from whence this journey started, the writer of Hebrews tells us : By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying through receiving his gifts..." (Hebrews 11:4 - Emphasis added) Aaah! So Abel's sacrifice was not the object of God's pleasure, there was something deeper within Abel, upon which God was gazing; something that was not within Cain. But did Cain not have faith? Was he not the one who initiated the sacrifice? Surely he had faith, otherwise why the sacrifice? Why was Cain not credited with righteousness? What is Faith? So what is faith? And what is the faith that God finds acceptable? What is faith that pleases God? How does this faith differ from a faith that does not please God? James tells us that it is not enough to just believe that there is one God. He tells us that even the demons believe that, and tremble (See James 2:19) . Think about this verse from James. Satan was one of God's angel's before his rebellion in heaven. With this in mind, how strongly do you think he and his demons believe that God exists, that He is One, that Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection are facts of history, and that the Bible is the inspired word of God? As you think about satan's belief based on his personal knowledge and experience,  how does your belief measure up, compared to satan's? But satan's faith is not credited as righteousness. How does the belief of Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abram differ from satan's? How do we know we have the faith of Abel, and not the faith of Cain? How do we know we have a belief that God credits as righteousness, and not the belief of the demons? Faith and Works A heart-belief will always work. There will always be an outward effect of an inner belief. No matter how earnestly you declare something to be true, unless you believe it in your heart, it will not have a natural outworking in your life. If you believe something intellectually, you can consciously make yourself do things that should be done if you really believe what you say you believe. However, when the pressure is on, you will default to behaviour flowing from what you believe from your heart. Our lives are shaped by the beliefs of our hearts. So, yes, the demons believe that there is one God. The outworking of this belief invokes fear, but the demons have a deeper-seated belief that satan can be greater than God (See Isaiah 14:13-14) . This deeper belief causes them to resist, oppose, and hate God, and serve satan. The faith that pleases God, which He credits to us as righteousness, is the belief - the true, deep, overriding heart-belief - that He is all the says He is. This true, deep, overriding heart-belief then responds in love, obedience, and trust, which flows from the heart, as we receive and experience His love for us. This response is an outworking of a deep inner belief, not just the conscious forming of good habits. The kind of faith you have, will reveal itself by the fruit it produces. In His famous sermon on the mountain, Jesus said, "Every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. ... Not everyone who says to Me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." (Mathew 7: 17-21) What is the will of Jesus' Father who is in heaven? Jesus told us : “The foremost [command] is, ‘Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)   To this Jesus added, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) The fruit that comes from the true, deep overriding heart-belief that God is all He said He is, is love; love for God, and love for those around you. The Fruit of Cain's Belief We are not told about the details of Cain’s heart-belief, but we are shown the fruit that came from the bad root within his heart. Cain was not an atheist, nor an agnostic. Cain was the firstborn, of the second generation of mankind. God was a reality in the lives of this family. God communicated with Cain, and Cain communicated with God, and Cain knew who he was talking to. But Cain's relationship with God was not based on love. God spoke to Cain, telling him how to deal with his anger, but instead of cooperating with God, Cain allowed his anger to fester until it caused him to kill Abel. (Genesis 4:6-8) When God confronted Cain regarding Abel's murder, he was arrogant towards God as he tried to hide his deed. There was no display of sorrow for what he has done. No plea for forgiveness, and no hint of repentance. (Genesis 4:9-10)   God's sentence for Cain's crime was in the form of a curse : “You are cursed from the ground, which opened it’s mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield it's strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth." (Genesis 4:11-12) Then we are told something that I think is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. In verse 13, Cain expresses his understanding of what God was saying to him : “Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Thy face I shall be hidden..."  (Emphasis added)  God did not say anything about Cain being hidden from His face. In fact, when Cain states his fear that being a vagrant and a wanderer, meant that whoever found him will kill him, God responds in grace and appoints a sign for Cain,' to protect him. Is that not amazing love? Then, though God did not say that Cain would be hidden from His face, we read : "Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled (dwelt) in the land of Nod (which means 'wandering') ..." (Parentheses added)   God did not banish Cain, but ‘he went out... This is the fruit of Cain's belief. This is the fruit of what God saw, that caused Him to not take pleasure in Cain and his offering. What is the fruit that flows from your faith? What are the heart-beliefs that are driving your life?
Prev Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

What is Faith?

“To one who has faith, no

explanation is necessary. To one

without faith, no explanation is

possible.”

Thomas Aquinas

Faith and Righteousness

So, what is righteousness? Righteousness is not just about doing right things; it is about right being, resulting in right doing. Over the past couple of weeks we have looked at the lives of three men God considered righteous : Enoch, Noah, and Abram. There is common thread that is seen in the lives of these three men, as we see below: “Abram believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6 - Emphasis Added)   Noah believed God, as we see in Hebrews 11:7 : “By faith Noah ... prepared an ark ...”  (Emphasis added)  Genesis 6 also tells us that God considered Moses as being righteous : ‘Moses was righteous and perfect in his time.’ (Genesis 6:9) We are not told much about Enoch, but we can make the assumption that he believed God, because Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And 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 seek Him.” Verse 5 of Hebrews 11, tells us that Enoch "obtained the witness that ... he was pleasing to God." Now getting back to Cain and Abel, from whence this journey started, the writer of Hebrews tells us : By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying through receiving his gifts..." (Hebrews 11:4 - Emphasis added) Aaah! So Abel's sacrifice was not the object of God's pleasure, there was something deeper within Abel, upon which God was gazing; something that was not within Cain. But did Cain not have faith? Was he not the one who initiated the sacrifice? Surely he had faith, otherwise why the sacrifice? Why was Cain not credited with righteousness? What is Faith? So what is faith? And what is the faith that God finds acceptable? What is faith that pleases God? How does this faith differ from a faith that does not please God? James tells us that it is not enough to just believe that there is one God. He tells us that even the demons believe that, and tremble (See James 2:19) . Think about this verse from James. Satan was one of God's angel's before his rebellion in heaven. With this in mind, how strongly do you think he and his demons believe that God exists, that He is One, that Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection are facts of history, and that the Bible is the inspired word of God? As you think about satan's belief based on his personal knowledge and experience,  how does your belief measure up, compared to satan's? But satan's faith is not credited as righteousness. How does the belief of Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abram differ from satan's? How do we know we have the faith of Abel, and not the faith of Cain? How do we know we have a belief that God credits as righteousness, and not the belief of the demons? Faith and Works A heart-belief will always work. There will always be an outward effect of an inner belief. No matter how earnestly you declare something to be true, unless you believe it in your heart, it will not have a natural outworking in your life. If you believe something intellectually, you can consciously make yourself do things that should be done if you really believe what you say you believe. However, when the pressure is on, you will default to behaviour flowing from what you believe from your heart. Our lives are shaped by the beliefs of our hearts. So, yes, the demons believe that there is one God. The outworking of this belief invokes fear, but the demons have a deeper-seated belief that satan can be greater than God (See Isaiah 14:13-14) . This deeper belief causes them to resist, oppose, and hate God, and serve satan. The faith that pleases God, which He credits to us as righteousness, is the belief - the true, deep, overriding heart-belief - that He is all the says He is. This true, deep, overriding heart-belief then responds in love, obedience, and trust, which flows from the heart, as we receive and experience His love for us. This response is an outworking of a deep inner belief, not just the conscious forming of good habits. The kind of faith you have, will reveal itself by the fruit it produces. In His famous sermon on the mountain, Jesus said, "Every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. ... Not everyone who says to Me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." (Mathew 7: 17-21) What is the will of Jesus' Father who is in heaven? Jesus told us : “The foremost [command] is, ‘Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)   To this Jesus added, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) The fruit that comes from the true, deep overriding heart-belief that God is all He said He is, is love; love for God, and love for those around you. The Fruit of Cain's Belief We are not told about the details of Cain’s heart- belief, but we are shown the fruit that came from the bad root within his heart. Cain was not an atheist, nor an agnostic. Cain was the firstborn, of the second generation of mankind. God was a reality in the lives of this family. God communicated with Cain, and Cain communicated with God, and Cain knew who he was talking to. But Cain's relationship with God was not based on love. God spoke to Cain, telling him how to deal with his anger, but instead of cooperating with God, Cain allowed his anger to fester until it caused him to kill Abel. (Genesis 4:6-8) When God confronted Cain regarding Abel's murder, he was arrogant towards God as he tried to hide his deed. There was no display of sorrow for what he has done. No plea for forgiveness, and no hint of repentance. (Genesis 4:9-10)   God's sentence for Cain's crime was in the form of a curse : “You are cursed from the ground, which opened it’s mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield it's strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth." (Genesis 4:11- 12) Then we are told something that I think is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. In verse 13, Cain expresses his understanding of what God was saying to him : “Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Thy face I shall be hidden..."  (Emphasis added)  God did not say anything about Cain being hidden from His face. In fact, when Cain states his fear that being a vagrant and a wanderer, meant that whoever found him will kill him, God responds in grace and appoints a sign for Cain,' to protect him. Is that not amazing love? Then, though God did not say that Cain would be hidden from His face, we read : "Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled (dwelt) in the land of Nod (which means 'wandering') ..." (Parentheses added)   God did not banish Cain, but ‘he went out... This is the fruit of Cain's belief. This is the fruit of what God saw, that caused Him to not take pleasure in Cain and his offering. What is the fruit that flows from your faith? What are the heart-beliefs that are driving your life?
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Prev Next