We Believe, God Gives Faith

galaxy sunset

Hebrews 11:6 says this: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (NIV). This verse is extracted from the famous “faith chapter” in the New Testament. There is a plain and simple message here; however, there is much more beneath the surface.

One thing I find interesting is that in the beginning of the verse it talks about pleasing God, or rather, in order to please God one must have faith. But ironically, tied up in this statement is the explanation couched in the promise of God rewarding the person seeking Him. Ok, let me get this straight: in order to please God, I have to be rewarded by Him…Hmmmm.

The first condition makes perfect sense; if I want to come to God, then I must first believe that He exists. That is a no-brainer, for who goes anywhere or does anything unless they are assured that there is a tangible product or destination? I mean, I don’t look for something if it doesn’t exist; that would be a waste of time. But wait a minute here; there is an assumption that just slips on by without a second glance, mainly, coming to Him! We must come to Him or at least begin the process of approaching what some would call an unapproachable God. Remember that the Bible tells us that if we draw close to Him, He will draw close to us (James 4:8). So let us set up an equation here for the logically inclined:

Belief+Action (seek)=Revelation

Revelation+Time (diligence)=Reward (faith)

So…

Belief+Action+Revelation+Time=Faith

albert einstein

The key here is understanding that the revelation is actually part of the reward. God rewards us with Himself by revealing Himself to us. Just as Paul speaks of the revelation of Jesus Christ as the source of his faith, so is our faith (Galatians 1:12). He must reveal Himself (reward) over time in a real, literal relationship in order for us to have faith! So belief is turned into faith when hope becomes spiritual reality. To simplify, it would be like me saying that I know you after only spending an hour with you; we have met, but without time together we really don’t know one another. That is why you read in Romans that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5) In another verse, Romans 10:13, Paul says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” What is missed by most is that hearing the word is not just hearing preaching from a preacher or teacher; in the transliterated Greek, the phrase more accurately states that faith comes by hearing the rhema of God. Rhema is an active, present voice as opposed to the Greek transliterated word logos! Who gives a rat’s behind? You should, but why? The difference points us to our original text in Hebrews.

God rewards those that diligently seek Him. The reward is knowing Him and this produces faith. Part of knowing someone is listening to them. It would be the difference between reading a letter from someone (the Bible) as opposed to sitting and talking with them face to face. The reward is knowing Him in an intimate way, in a way that involves sharing time together. When God is speaking, present tense, that is rhema. So faith comes by hearing God speak, and God speaks when you seek Him with all of your heart. Do you see the connection? To make it crystal clear, you can look to the example of Abraham; Abraham was considered righteous because he listened and believed what God spoke to him. The operative phrase here is too obvious: GOD SPOKE TO HIM. (Romans Chapter 4)

Just as Jesus told His disciples that “My sheep hear my voice” and “My sheep know My voice” (John 10:27-33), so must we understand that if we truly know the Lord, then we will hear Him speaking into our lives by His Holy Spirit. So the key here is this: seek God diligently with all of your heart, God promises to draw close to you as you draw closer to Him, God will begin to speak into your spirit (for God IS spirit{John 4:24}), as God speaks into your spirit you will naturally have the gift of faith, and faith my friends moves mountains!

freedom2

One last example and I’m borrowing slightly from an analogy given in “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman: let’s say you have a favorite actor or actress and you know all about them. You know where they live, the name of their spouse, you can quote every line in every movie they have done, you know the names and ages of their children, their favorite color, etc. If I came up to you and asked you, “Hey, do you know so-and-so”, what would be your answer? If you were honest, you would have to say “no”. Now, you know all about the actor/actress but you don’t know them personally; you are merely a fan. So it is with us and the Lord. You can know all about Him by reading about Him in the Bible, you may have the life of Christ memorized chronologically, you may have studied Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic in college, you may know every disciple by name and reputation, BUT if you have never met the Lord then you really don’t know Him!

But you may say, “Hey, that is really harsh! Who can really know God?!” The answer looks you square in the eye and says, “You can know God…IF you seek him diligently with all of your heart.” How important is this? Jesus tells us in Matthew that many will come to Him with head knowledge but with no real intimacy with Him and He will cast them out and away from Him (Matthew 7:21-23). That IS harsh, but you have to realize that just as Hebrews says above, “without faith it is impossible to please God”. So if you weave the thread of Truth, you realize that the process is set straight from the mouth of God. It cannot and will not change; it is what it is.

To recap, the progression goes like this: someone plants a seed called the gospel (or the good news) about Christ, this can make you temporarily believe, if you act on this belief and seek the “pearl of great price” or the “treasure hidden in a field” then you begin to seek God, God draws closer to you through the seeking, eventually God rewards you with true spiritual knowledge of Himself by making Himself known to you, the result is faith. If I sit in a room with you and talk with you or if I meet you in a park and we take a walk together, you know I exist. If you meet someone later that day, and they tell you that I don’t exist, what would be your response? Would you say that you believe I exist? No, you have first hand knowledge of me because you know me! That is the difference…so we all must ask ourselves: do I know God by His Holy Spirit? And if not, why?

freedom

Belief is our response to the gospel; faith is the gift of knowing as a response from God; we believe, God gives faith.

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