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Doctrines of Christ 3

Doctrines of Christ  3 

In part 1 and 2 of this series, we began examining the doctrines of Christ spoken of in Hebrews 6:1-2, beginning with repentance from dead works. Now, we will look at “faith toward God.” This is our natural progression for believing and maturing in Christ. 

Faith in God means more than just mental assent regarding the existence of God. It is an assurance and confidence that God is Who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. Our obedient response and action to what He has said is a manifestation of our faith. By relying upon Him and His Word, we demonstrate our faith toward Him. Often this looks counterintuitive and the opposite of our natural senses and human reasoning.  The Bible says, without faith, it is impossible to please God. 

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. Hebrews 11:6 

The question some may ask is, “How can one obtain faith to believe in an invisible (to the naked eye) God. The scripture gives us the answer. In Ephesians it says: 

For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Eph 2:8-9 

God gives us grace and faith to believe His word. We do not have faith apart from the agency of God Himself. Another proof of this is found in the book of Romans. 

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 set your mind to be right-minded, even as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 

These two passages clearly show God being the author of our faith. The writer of Hebrews also states this truth: 

“…looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 

And again, the book of Romans says: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17 

It is God, through His Word, Who gives us faith. It is up to us whether we will exercise that faith, develop it, or let it atrophy. Faith can be developed, and grow stronger, as we put it to use, and assimilate the Word of God, not just read the Word. 

If just reading the Word of God guaranteed great faith, the Body of Christ would have a much greater and active faith than we see today, especially in the West. Here we have Bible reading programs, seminars about the Bible, Mp3s on the Bible, and a plethora of materials to help us read, study, and examine the Bible. 

Although these are wonderful tools and disciplines, faith does not necessarily come through reading or even studying the Bible. Faith can only come by “hearing” the Word of God. The Greek work for Word in Romans 10 is “rhema” which is a specific spoken word. It is a living Word. Not a dead letter of the Law. The Pharisees studied the letter of the Law but did not have a revelation from the Father that Jesus was the Christ. Their understanding was a cerebral and religious one, and not a revelation from the Father, through an intimate relationship with Him. 

Having faith in God, starts with the Father revealing His Son, Jesus Christ to us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of our sins, brings us to the gospel, and then points us to the Savior. This process may seem subtle, but it is the process by which He gives us faith to believe and receive salvation. 

The writer of Hebrews exhorted the believing Jews to put their faith in the finished work of Christ and to not go back under the Law that could not take away sin. They were exhorted to have faith in God, and not the Law or good works. 

We too must trust only in what God has done and not our efforts. Yes, we are to bear good fruit, but only because of our abiding relationship with Christ and His fulness flowing through us to accomplish those good works. He gets the glory, and not us. He is the Vine, and we are the branches (see John 15). 

Faith in God is dependent upon believing what He has said. It is dependent upon the revelation of His Word. Without revelation there cannot be real faith. For faith begins with God and not us. It is not something we muster up, but simply a positive response to what God has said and revealed through His grace. 

Grace and faith work together. God gives grace through His Word, and we respond to that Word of grace by faith. For example, when we heard the gospel, it was God extending and revealing His grace to us. When we accepted the message of the gospel and acted upon it by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, that corresponding action was our faith. 

Without the revelation of Christ, we would have never had faith in Him. You and I have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ by faith in God’s revealed Word. This is the first stage of our faith toward God. 

Next week we will look at the doctrine of Baptisms. Until then, may God and our Father richly bless and keep you. 

James Brown 

CST 03/15/2022

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