Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The God-Box: Faith – The key that unlocks it all?

I was out in a craft store with my family today and saw a cross that said, “Faith is the light that guides our way.” My stomach began to knot. Most would think it a sweet thought, and a Christian one even; when in reality, it is far from either.
One of the major issues with the “God-box” that people have is how they unlock it. We are told that if we just have faith, God will work. That if we don’t believe then we hinder God’s work in this world. Most of the time it’s not explicitly said, but we all get it: “without my faith, God can’t do mighty works!” It’s like the Believe-o-meter on Tim Allen’s sleigh  in The Santa Clause. The sleigh won’t fly unless enough people believe in it. It is their belief that powers it. Yes, Santa delivers the gifts to the children all over the world, but he can’t do it apart from the faith of you and I – as the movie tells us.
We have made a god like Tim’s Santa! We say, “Oh, God wants to do many mighty things with you, but you must believe Him for it!” and pat ourselves on the back thinking we are giving them the needed impetus to have faith in God! This is pure humanism!
The very men who preach the above stated lie are outraged at the even more blatant lies by the name-it-claim-it prophets. They say God will give you anything you ask “if you only believe”. Both sets of preachers are false. Both create faith as nothing more than a force that can be wielded to get God to perform at worst, or at best unlock Him so He can act. Both are pure humanistic, new-age philosophies.
Scripture defines faith completely different than the man-centered notions we entertain of it today. Faith is not a force or an action that we provide to work along-side The Almighty to help Him accomplish His desires in the world. It seems sweet to us, as it exalts us just enough. It doesn’t make us equal with God necessarily, but it does make us necessary, and that strikes us quite soothingly. I have even heard a preacher say in attempts to get people to surrender to God: “He’s hard up! He’ll take anybody! He’ll use you if you’ll just let Him. God’s hard up!!”
There is something in each of us that want to have some part in our rescue, even if it’s small. We give illustrations that are geared to spur others on to action like “You’re drowning in a sea of sin, and God has thrown you a life-line, His name is Jesus. Just grab on and you will be saved!” or “You’re dying of thirst, and God has provided a cool glass of  fresh water right in front of you, just pick it up and drink!” Both of these illustrations seem harmless and loving enough, yet they err greatly from biblical truth. They both deny what Scripture clearly teaches about man’s absolute death in sin, not drowning, but drowned; not thirsty, but dead and parched by the desert sun. Thus asserting that there is something within you that, if you so choose, you can employ to make the work of Jesus Christ applicable to you. Thus, according to the illustrations, the saving efficacy is not in the life-line nor the glass of water; but in your availing yourself to them. They provide the possibility of your being saved, but don’t save unless YOU DO something. We often hear the Philippian Jailer used as an example “What must I DO to be saved!” This is the natural question. Even the rich young ruler asked it of Jesus Christ “What thing must I DO to gain heaven?” Every man-made religion has this at it’s core – “What must I DO!”
The next thing you may say is, “faith isn’t a work” and you are correct, biblical faith isn’t. Scripture clearly places faith in opposition to works. Faith brings nothing to the table. Faith is transparent, and void of all merit. (Romans 3:27-31).  Although, the faith preached today is for it is what you bring to God, and it is the missing thing that makes salvation work for you. Many think just because they call it “faith” that that excludes it from being works. Here’s a test you can employ. If in your mind you say, “God wants to save you but you must…” (fill in the blank) then you have just espoused a works based salvation.
Faith is not the grounds upon which we are saved, it is the mode through which salvation is conferred upon us. It is not what we bring to complete salvation, it is the glasses through which we see the salvation that has been FULLY ACCOMPLISHED BY CHRIST. Faith in an unaccomplished work, doesn’t make the work complete, it just fails as does the work one is trusting in.
Back to the jailer and the rich young man – Christ told the young man something to do and the man went away sorrowful. This wasn’t because the man could gain heaven by works, but rather for Christ to point out that the issue was with the young man’s heart, not his works. Thus when the disciples asked who could be saved, Christ replied, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
As for the jailer; Paul told him to believe on Christ. Essentially Paul said, “Redemption has been accomplished in the Person and work of Jesus Christ! Believe it!”The jailer’s belief didn’t make Christ redemption more complete for himself, or applicable to his account. Remember the little quote: “Faith is only as good as the object it’s placed in.” That’s because faith does nothing, and has nothing.
Lastly, faith is not residing in each of us. Faith is a gift of God, given to those whom God chooses to give it.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. ” I John 5:1
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, ” Philippians 1:29
“and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. ” II Thess. 3:2
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. ” I Thess 1:4-5
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, ” Romans 6:17
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ” Eph. 2:8-9
Faith is not generated of myself. It is not a condition which I meet on my own and once God sees it then He will act. I am not saved by any merit of my own. It is by the gracious working of God in the heart of an individual that causes him to believe on the work of Jesus Christ. Salvation is 100% of God. I have done my part in salvation as I did the sinning. God does the saving.
Faith is not the key that unlocks the power of God. Faith simply rests in what God has done, or said will be done.
I could continue, but
I was out in a craft store with my family today and saw a cross that said, “Faith is the light that guides our way.” Most would think it a sweet thought, and a Christian one even; when in reality, it is far from either.
We are told that if we just have faith, God will work. That if we don’t believe then we hinder God’s work in this world. Most of the time it’s not explicitly said, but we all get it: “without my faith, God can’t do mighty works!” It’s like the Believe-o-meter on Santa’s sleigh. The sleigh won’t fly unless enough people believe in it. It is their belief that powers it. Yes, Santa delivers the gifts to the children all over the world, but he can’t do it apart from the faith of you and I – as the movie tells us.
We have made a god like Santa! We say, “Oh, God wants to do many mighty things with you, but you must believe Him for it!” and pat ourselves on the back thinking we are giving them the needed impetus to have faith in God! This is pure humanism!
The very men who preach the above stated lie are outraged at the even more blatant lies by the name-it-claim-it prophets. They say God will give you anything you ask “if you only believe”. Both sets of preachers are false. Both create faith as nothing more than a force that can be wielded to get God to perform at worst, or at best unlock Him so He can act. Both are pure humanistic, new-age philosophies.
Scripture defines faith completely different than the man-cenfkp4_lgtered notions we entertain of it today. Faith is not a force or an action that we provide to work along-side The Almighty to help Him accomplish His desires in the world. It seems sweet to us, as it exalts us just enough. It doesn’t make us equal with God necessarily, but it does make us necessary, and that strikes us quite soothingly. I have even heard a preacher say in attempts to get people to surrender to God: “He’s hard up! He’ll take anybody! He’ll use you if you’ll just let Him. God’s hard up!!”
There is something in each of us that want to have some part in our rescue, even if it’s small. We give illustrations that are geared to spur others on to action like “You’re drowning in a sea of sin, and God has thrown you a life-line, His name is Jesus. Just grab on and you will be saved!” or “You’re dying of thirst, and God has provided a cool glass of  fresh water right in front of you, just pick it up and drink!” Both of these illustrations seem harmless and loving enough, yet they err greatly from biblical truth. They both deny what Scripture clearly teaches about man’s absolute death in sin, not drowning, but drowned; not thirsty, but dead and parched by the desert sun. Thus asserting that there is something within you that, if you so choose, you can employ to make the work of Jesus Christ applicable to you. Thus, according to the illustrations, the saving efficacy is not in the life-line nor the glass of water; but in your availing yourself to them. They provide the possibility of your being saved, but don’t save unless YOU DO something. We often hear the Philippian Jailer used as an example “What must I DO to be saved!” This is the natural question. Even the rich young ruler asked it of Jesus Christ “What thing must I DO to gain heaven?” Every man-made religion has this at it’s core – “What must I DO!”
The next thing you may say is, “faith isn’t a work” and you are correct, biblical faith isn’t. Scripture clearly places faith in opposition to works. Faith brings nothing to the table. Faith is transparent, and void of all merit. (Romans 3:27-31).  Although, the faith preached today is for it is what you bring to God, and it is the missing thing that makes salvation work for you. Many think just because they call it “faith” that that excludes it from being works. Here’s a test you can employ. If in your mind you say, “God wants to save you but you must…” (fill in the blank) then you have just espoused a works based salvation.
Faith is not the grounds upon which we are saved, it is the mode through which salvation is conferred upon us. It is not what we bring to complete salvation, it is the glasses through which we see the salvation that has been FULLY ACCOMPLISHED BY CHRIST. Faith in an unaccomplished work, doesn’t make the work complete, it just fails as does the work one is trusting in.
Back to the jailer and the rich young man – Christ told the young man something to do and the man went away sorrowful. This wasn’t because the man could gain heaven by works, but rather for Christ to point out that the issue was with the young man’s heart, not his works. Thus when the disciples asked who could be saved, Christ replied, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
As for the jailer; Paul told him to believe on Christ. Essentially Paul said, “Redemption has been accomplished in the Person and work of Jesus Christ! Believe it!”The jailer’s belief didn’t make Christ redemption more complete for himself, or applicable to his account. Remember the little quote: “Faith is only as good as the object it’s placed in.” That’s because faith does nothing, and has nothing.
Lastly, faith is not residing in each of us. Faith is a gift of God, given to those whom God chooses to give it.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. ” I John 5:1
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, ” Philippians 1:29
“and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. ” II Thess. 3:2
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. ” I Thess 1:4-5
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, ” Romans 6:17
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ” Eph. 2:8-9
Faith is not generated of myself. It is not a condition which I meet on my own and once God sees it then He will act.  It is not they key at my disposal to unlock the salvation that God has for me. I am not saved by any merit of my own. It is by the gracious working of God in the heart of an individual that causes him to believe on the work of Jesus Christ. Salvation is 100% of God. I have done my part in salvation as I did the sinning. God does the saving.
Faith is not the key that unlocks the power of God. Faith simply rests in what God has done, or said will be done.
May God be gracious to us and cause His face to shine on us.
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