A New Year’s Resolution: To Live In Great Faith – Amazing Faith – The Faith of Jesus!
It’s interesting that there are two times in the gospels where Jesus talks about great faith, or amazing faith, and neither of them involve religious people. Both of them involve people on the fringes, at best, and perhaps even heathens. They had a faith that Jesus could DO something, but they didn’t seem to have saving faith in him.
I want to look at one of them, the Centurion (Mat 8, Lk 7). Here we get a glimpse inside the man’s head because he says the reason he had faith in Jesus ability was that he too was a man ‘under authority.’ He saw Jesus this way: as being under authority to God himself. Jesus’ response was that he had not seen such great faith in all of Israel.
JESUS ON FAITH: HE HAD GREAT FAITH
What caused Jesus to say the man’s faith was so great? Was it simply that he believed his servant could be healed? That can’t be it because many people believed they’d receive healing. No, I think it was that the Centurion understood ‘the spiritual process of faith.’ By this I mean, he knew that faith didn’t begin in Jesus himself, but in God to whom he was under submission. This is where Jesus’ authority came from. Actually, Acts 2:22 speaks to this: God did things through Jesus.
FAITH IN CHRIST VS. THE FAITH OF CHRIST
You might say that Jesus lived in the faith of God not his own faith. Likewise, we are meant to live in the faith of Christ, and not our own faith. This is what Paul says in Galatians 2:20: he says that he lives by the faith of the Son of God. Paul didn’t declare that he lived in his own faith, like many of us do. We try to use our faith for everything under heaven – for everything from colds to cancer. We use our faith to try to find Aunt Alma a mate, or to get Uncle Zeb healed, even though they are both 101 years old.
Too many simply try to live by human faith in Christ. This is a good starting point, but Hebrews 6:1 says that faith in God is elementary. We must move into more maturity than just faith in God if we are truly going to live the life of Christ on earth.
We are told that ‘without faith it is impossible to please God’ (Heb 11:6). It requires human faith to become saved, or born again. But once we enter God’s Kingdom, we are meant to live in Jesus, by means of the Holy Spirit. This is the most repeated message of Jesus in John chapters 12-17.
FAITH IN MAN: ACQUIRING MOUNTAINS OF FAITH
Sadly, even most Christian faith is generated from a faith in man. Here, it is thought that we can live at such a high spiritual level that our faith will have mountains of faith, and that our faith can move mountains. This is a very humanistic approach that leaves God out of the equation. It actually began in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve: “You shall be like God.” Satan still tempts us the same way today if we don’t live in belief in the truth of the gospel (II Cor 4:4).
Human faith is good. I’m not saying it’s not good. In this world we need human faith to SURVIVE, and especially if we want to THRIVE. But, human faith does not produce the presence and power of God’s Kingdom in us. This faith must come from the person of God himself. Again, Paul said he lived by the faith OF the Son of God (Gal 2:20).
In Galatians 2:16 he talks about us believing in Jesus Christ (which is human faith), and then we are justified by the faith OF Christ. He then goes on to say that it is this faith of Christ that causes us to live in God. When we don’t begin here, and begin with self and our faith, we are really buying into the positive confession movement.
HOW DO WE LIVE IN THE FAITH OF JESUS?
It doesn’t come, as we lawyers would say, by going off on a lark of your own, praying for God’s help and believing he will empower your faith. This is a picture of human faith at work.
It begins with (1) being still before the Lord, as Psalm 46:10 says, and (2) by listening for his voice as Hebrews 3:7, 15, and 4:7 repeat three times. We are told that faith comes by hearing the voice of God, which some translations call the words of Christ (Rom 10:17). I often think of the advice Eli gave Samuel: “Go lie on your bed and say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am listening’.”
Positive confession is good if it begins in God, not in self. The word for confession, in the Greek, means to speak God’s word – or more specifically his language. In the New Testament this takes on greater dimension because it is the GOSPEL that fulfills the word of God in us (Col 1:23-25). This is talking about more than just finding a verse in the Bible, claiming it and declaring it. It’s actually talking about allowing the process of the gospel of the Kingdom of God to become your life.
Faith, in its most basic form, is responding to God in gratitude, thanksgiving and worship. This is how we become a vessel fit for his use. This is when we begin to see that we are both “Destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:12 RSV). This is how we are joined to Jesus, where God can work through us the same way Acts 2:22 says he worked through Jesus. This is when God begins to see that we have great faith, amazing faith – the faith of Jesus himself.
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