Monthly Archives: December 2012

Q363 “when does hope become faith?”

Faith is such an illusive truth ~ it waves its promises in our faces ~ it beacons us with the anticipation of “a new way to live” ~ yet so few live the life it promises, so few discover the deep currents of the Spirit.

Sure we grasp the gift of salvation, the beauty of Christ, the wonder of His love ~ yet “the life of faith” seems to elude our grasp…. to the extend that many settle for its counterpart “a life of hope”. Hope in itself is a good thing, in fact; it is the forerunner to faith ~ but it isn’t faith, and never can be.

Hope springs from the heart of man, faith springs from the heart of God.

There is a generally accepted notion that “living by faith” is immediately ours when we turn to Christ ~ that by leaving behind the old life of faithlessness we automatically become its opposite, “filled with faith”. It’s not so, our salvation is simply that we have ‘stepped into God’s faithfulness’, the life of faith now awaits us… if we can discover its unique rhythms.

It’s not that God is hiding the ‘way of faith’ from us, that He has deliberately made it hard to find ~ its just that it can’t be found when we search for it with our earth glasses on. We need to put on our heaven glasses (like night vision glasses), we can only find it with the eyes of the heart, the vision of the inner man.

Many Christians repeat spiritual truths (they have all of the correct information) ~ but this information hasn’t become revelation because it is still perceived from an earthly perspective. Earth glasses turn spiritual truths into hope, the eyes of the heart turn spiritual truths into faith. And all because of one thing ~ hope, seeks the method for converting spiritual information into reality ~ faith, declares the spiritual information is already reality.

Hope says, “what must I do to receive this spiritual truth”. Faith says, “I have this spiritual truth because of what Christ did“.

In many circles this ‘hope thinking’ masquerades as faith so well, that many folk believe it is faith…. but it isn’t. We can dress-up hope with spiritual talk and rhetoric, we can cloth it with all of the garb of faith so that many people are impressed ~ but it’s still just earth-based ambition.

While hope is attempting to get God’s attention, faith is soaring on the wings of the Spirit… hope seeks while faith rests.

In the end it comes down to this ;

Hope attempts to engage God in the issues of life, it tries to activate spiritual truths through its own resources, it strives to pull the work of Christ into the drama of earth.

Faith declares that God became engaged in the issues of life 2000 years ago, the truths of the Spirit were activated when Christ shed His blood for us, every issue of the earth was nailed to the cross with Christ ~ the drama is hidden in Him not in me.

… such sweet rest, in the work of Christ.

Graeme

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Filed under It's all about Jesus, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith

Q349 “do the flesh and the spirit agree?”

Many Christians spend their entire lives uncertain of their salvation, always examining the depth of their repentance, the validity of their decision and the substance of their belief. This is a dilemma that can’t be resolved by self-examination, there will always be weaknesses in our response to God, there will always be areas of our lives that need to be worked on.

The only way we can ever put this dilemma to rest once-and-for-all, is to examine the work of Christ instead of examining ourselves ~ after all, God examines the work of Christ when He looks at our weakness and sin, and is satisfied in His examination.

If the assurance of our salvation depended on our part in the process, it would always be found lacking. We come stumbling and bumbling out of the kingdom of darkness (when viewed from the perspective of our response, conviction, and determination)… when we view this event from the viewpoint of the work of Christ it is robust, bold, and rock-solid.

God never left anything to chance when He set about the task of saving us, He didn’t provide for a 50/50 transaction, (50% His work on the cross, and 50% our belief) ~ He didn’t establish the work of salvation on such a precarious foundation (the vagaries of mankind’s response), He placed the entire task upon the shoulders of Christ ~ there was no measurement of our response or determination to change our lifestyle involved…. all that was required was that we gaze upon the sacrifice of Christ and accept it, say ‘Yes thankyou’ to it.

The flesh wants us to swing the spotlight back on to ‘the evidence of conversion’ ~ the flesh has determined that if we are saved then an obvious change of lifestyle will be visible…

The trouble is that; the flesh was not born again – the spirit was ~ it is not for the flesh to determine the evidence of a work of the Spirit, the flesh doesn’t know what to look for ~ in fact; very often changes to lifestyle wrought by the flesh are short-lived and superficial. The flesh is a doubter, the flesh measures degrees of change and always comes up short, the flesh is always cynical about the work of the Spirit.

The Spirit on the other hand speaks to us daily of the accomplishments of the blood of Christ ~ the Spirit waits for us to get to the end of our self-effort and determination, the Spirit patiently waits for us to throw our hands up in despair and declare “I can’t do it, I can’t live a life worthy of the blood of Christ, I can’t make my lifestyle reflect the life of Christ” at that point the Spirit is able to show us another way, He begins to instruct us in the ways of the Spirit… that uniquely Christian rest known as; “Christ in me“.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”… the Spirit says place your confidence in the sacrifice of Christ, and watch me work the works of God through you.

Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus