Belief—the Beginning of Faith

  You have believed so you have received the truth. This is only the beginning of the journey of faith. We do not accept truth passively, for “receiving” is a word of action. The Christian community is passive toward God. They accept with their mind that God is real, but they never commit to the obedience of His Word. We have to take God’s Word for our own. It is an act of our mind, our will, and our emotions. To become a son or daughter is a special privilege granted by Almighty God. It is the invisible birth that requires our total personality to create legitimate spirituality. We are born into eternity, and our citizenship is in heaven. We do not accept Christ as our Savior, we take Him as our own. This means we have utilized our will, and made an aggressive move toward God.

Many wear Him as a decoration to be displayed on Sunday morning as they go about the rest of the week living as they please. They hold the Word of Truth intellectually and reduce Him to religious activities, rationalizing the truth into a denomination that they pass onto others. As a result the Church is dying a slow and painful spiritual death. Reading and believing the text is not enough, we have to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Revelation without illumination will never inspire our heart to change. Mankind is incapable of change without the radiance of the Spirit of God. We can go to church all our lives and not be born of the Spirit. We have the document in our hands, but until the light of God shines forth through our heart we are just as dead in our sins as we were from the beginning. Before we can be reborn we have to repent our wrongs, renew our life in God’s will, and be awakened by the Holy Spirit. We have to train our mind, and prepare our life to be fit to receive the Kingdom. We compose our inner person for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. We don’t want to be hearers of the Word, we want to be doers of the Word. We want to perceive the direction of the Spirit’s wisdom.

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

  These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:4-16) Obedience to the Word of God is the key to spiritual fulfillment. We need to be willing to live the life that Christ established by His testimony while He was on earth. Once we have accepted the foolishness of our own way and moved in the direction of the Jesus way. Truth sparkles like a diamond in our mind. Illumination is from within, and radiates toward others through service. Truth will not reveal itself to someone who disobeys the laws of God. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

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Those of us who chose the Jesus way do not need anyone to tell us what the will of God is. It is revealed to us in our hearts. We have an inward illumination that tells us we are children of God. We do not receive this light from church membership, baptism, or taking theology courses in college. Only those of us who obey the Word of God will experience the truth and will be changed from within. We could memorize the entire Bible and not receive the core of truth, because only the Spirit of God can enlighten us. In the end all that matters is we have been internally illuminated, internally cleansed, and internally regenerated to know and understand the Jesus way.

Faith is where we rest on our knees and cry out to God for the answers to understanding the truth. Where we stand before others and let our testimony come at a price. Where our confidence is not in the power of faith, but in works of our Lord Jesus Christ. This self-assurance we have when we come nearer to God, and whatever we ask in His name, He will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If we ask anything in His name, He will do it. (John 14.13) Our confidence grows as the character of God grows inside us. We depend less and less on human reasoning and more and more on the Spirit of God. When we enter into the realm of the Spirit we are exposed to the infinite wisdom of His ways, and truth is revealed to us on a personal basis: every person, one-on-One with our Creator, our Father, our Savior, and our Lord. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Behind our lack of obedience is unbelief. We live in a physical world where we can touch, taste, and see what we are trying to relate to. The spiritual world cannot be received by our physical senses so we have to develop spiritual senses to comprehend an unseen world. Through our physical approach we have a false conception of the spirit life that leads to failures in our prayer life. This gives Satan the upper hand and causes us to fall back into moral decay. An absence of faith is not a failure of our ability to conceive the truth, rather it is a moral sin, and a condition of a darkened heart. When we apply intelligent reasoning to spiritual matters we struggle to surmise the miracles of the virgin birth, the incarnation, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Faith is spiritual knowledge that cannot be physically explained, and through this understanding we place our confidence in the knowledge of God.

Faith ignores logic, and places intelligence on notice. When we apply faith it goes straight to the presence of God. This is why a person taking Christ as their Savior is the greatest miracle on earth. There is no reason or understanding to it. We cannot define it in reality but we know it is there. We know we have made a change inside of us. We have this open channel to our heavenly Father that was brought about by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, and the medium of the Holy Spirit. We can take all the scholars, philosophers, and scientists and drop them into the waste bin because there is no physical evidence anywhere that can prove a single spiritual fact. One domain is that of logic and intelligence, and the other is faith in God. Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:20-21) God gives us promises so we will know His intentions, and our faith is in the self-assurance that he will follow through with His promise. God is holy and righteous above all, and He cannot lie. So when He tells us something we can write it down in our heart as being the truth. His power, His glory, and His attributes are perfect in every way.

  Our boldness in Christ grows slowly because we are raised in a world that is all lies. Everything we see and hear is a lie, and it is the “Great Con of Our Society.” We are lied to from the minute we are able to understand language, and it continues until the day we die. Lucifer, Satan, is the father of all lies, and roams this earth looking for whom he may devour. We are physiologically brainwashed every time we turn on a radio, read a magazine, or watch TV. The only thing we can trust is the Bible. The famous people you see on TV, the celebrities in your hometown, the popular guy or gal who lives down the street—and all who flaunt the will of God with their behavior—think they are good enough to go to heaven, but they are in for a rude awakening. They look up to God and say look what I have done for You…how much more can You ask from me? People will be cast into the fiery pits of hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. On the contrary, the person who is ashamed to face Jesus and realizes they are a sinner in need of a Savior, who feels unworthy to go before God and is wrought with humility, and who doesn’t feel like they deserve to be in the presence of Jesus—these will enter heaven’s gate.

A person who is seeking Christ realizes there is an emptiness inside of them. They look at the world and realize that it is not right. They look at themselves and realize that they do things their conscience tells them is wrong. So the lost person comes to Christ looking for answers, but not understanding the way. Time passes as they search the scriptures, and pay close attention at church. They reach a point where they take a leap of faith, a shot in the dark if you will, and come to the realization that what the Bible says is true. Deep down inside our heart each of us knows the difference between right and wrong. It is inbred into our souls. The new Christian will let the Word of God search out their heart, because they feel the presence of sin inside of them. After careful consideration they believe that Jesus Christ is the only answer that will release them from their trespasses and sins. They feel a burden lifted off their shoulders, and a release from the guilt that plagued them all their life.

Unfortunately many stop here. I don’t blame them; I blame the Church, because instead of reaching into the deeper mysteries of Christ they have a covered-dish dinner, or some other activity that is a waste of God’s resources. We continue on to where we make a complete commitment to Jesus Christ in our actions, our behavior, and our character. We have Christ in all aspects of our life, and turning back would never be an option because we see Christian change in our behavior. The ups and downs of life have leveled out, and are manageable. We dedicate ourselves to our Bible studies, and we look forward to spending time with the Lord. We give up on our desires so we might find the true love that Christ has in store for us. He has a life plan, a direction, a ministry specifically suited for our abilities. He exposes us to the things we truly love to do, and we are blessed beyond our belief.

  No one can know the truth unless they obey the truth. You can find the truth in the Bible, but unless you let the Holy Spirit of God reveal the truth you are only reading the words. Real Christian facts can only be revealed by inward illumination, and obedience to the Word of God. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:31-32; 34-36) As truth becomes real to us, we act upon it and make it part of the fiber of our souls. Our hearts undergo a process of cleansing. We have picked up dirt and debris as we have traveled this world so the Holy Spirit comes inside us and does His spring cleaning. Unfortunately, one cleaning is not enough. We have to be cleansed daily just like we clean our body every day, and brush our teeth every day. It is the spiritual process of regeneration.

  God has given us a witness inside our mind that reveals to us what is right from wrong. Today, people are doing everything they can to block the testimony of the conscience. We engage in activities that numb the mind, the conscience, and the soul. We live in a world of drug, alcohol, and sex addiction. Then there is food, TV, and video-game addiction. All these things prevent us from knowing and doing what is right. These things are contrary to the will of God. Our conscience gives us moral vision; it is an inward awareness and the presence of the Holy Spirit that corrects us as we travel through this life. When I was growing up in the 1960’s none of the evil you see today was present. I lived before the drug culture and sexual revolution. Today the conscience of many has been seared like with a hot iron, and evil has taken over the world.

It is in the power of our moral sense that we are set aside to be made answerable to our actions. It reaches the inner soul, and reminds us we are alone when judgment calls. It reminds us that we will have to answer to God for our actions, and that we have a faithful witness inside us that will remind us who we are. It is a still, small voice of light inside our heart, and it reminds us to live an honorable life. It is the point of contact where the mind meets the soul. Through obedience we fine-tune the connection between our mind and the voice, and through disobedience we can get to the point where God gives up on us. He turns us over to a reprobate mind, and the opportunity for salvation has passed. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:22-23)

Most people think they are movie stars, and put on a personality that doesn’t belong to them. The way they act and behave is fake; and I have to tell you we have a lot of fake Christians in the world today. If you want to see their true personality, make them mad, and boy you are going to see what’s for real then! What we are inside is what we do on the outside. Regardless of who we are, we testify our real intentions by our actions, not by our words. We are the sum of our consenting thoughts. Man has tried to change the character of mankind through education. We have placed so many laws on the books you have to have a college degree to understand them. In the beginning the United States was created with the premise of “government by the people,” but this is not the case anymore. It is government by the government, in which people who work for the different divisions of government self-promote for their own profit. This gives us government by the party, or affiliation, which has torn this country in two.

  Many Christians today live in the twilight zone, somewhere between light and darkness. They sit on the fence, never really committing to either side. However, Christ drew a line in the sand when He said “whosoever is not for Me is against Me,” so whoever obeys the Word of God hears what God declares through the Spirit. This obedience is not only in the physical world, but in the world of our imagination also. In Matthew 5:28 Christ proclaims, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This is a vain imagination. We are giving ourselves permission to think a sin, and whatever we think about, we are. In this particular case we are an adulterer. Education and the law are not enough to transfigure our corrupt nature. Many of us want to do the right thing, but our old nature gets in the way. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:17-18) God, through the Holy Spirit, gives us a new set of guidelines. He shows us the paths to righteous living. He will remove the greed from our souls and place the liberty of love in our hearts. He will remove all our hatred and inject an inner peace that can only be found through Him.

Believing is receiving, but what exactly do we receive? Many say we receive salvation, which is true; however, salvation is only the result of our success in Christ. Some say we receive grace, which is also true, but most important of all we receive faith. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) There are those who believe that faith comes from us, and many apply their man-made faith to an intellectual belief and are never able to surrender their life. True believers receive their faith from God through the Holy Spirit. We are filled by the Spirit on a daily basis through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by daily Bible study and prayer (DBS&P). Without one we cannot receive the other. Without a craving to be in the presence of God, we will never walk through the door.

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