June 24 Esight, 2007

For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.—Romans 10:10Here at Renewed Heart Ministries we have recently received many inquiries concerning Faith. “What is it?” “How do I exercise it?” There are a few Biblical principles that teaches what one needs understand in order to comprehend exactly what Faith is and what it isn’t.

First what is Faith? There are three passages that give us a clue.

For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness . . . (Romans 10:10)

And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)

And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” (Acts 8:37)

What all three of these passages tell us is that Faith is something that a person experiences on a heart level. This is not to say that Faith does not involve a person’s intellect, but that it goes deeper than a mere intellectual response to the gospel. It touches and engages the heart, not just the head. This must be held in the forefront in order to understand the words of James.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

(James 2:19)

James is referring to a mental assent to God. Again, Faith is much more than simply believing something in your mind, it’s a belief that engages your heart as well.

So how does one experience Faith? Three more verses make it simple enough for a child to understand.

So Faith comes from hearing . . . the word [or message] of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

What was Christ’s message? ” . . . God is love.”(1 John 4:8)

What Paul is simply trying to have us understand is that Faith, being a heart level response, is the heartfelt reaction that we experience in response to the message of God’s love for us.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith which works by love. (Galatians 5:6)

Or as William Tyndale’s New Testament reads:

“. . . faith, which by love is mighty in operation.”(Galatians 5:6)

Faith is the heartfelt response in each of us, the gratitude and appreciation activated by the realization of God’s great love for us that also awakens in us the desire to love God back.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

This means that Faith is more than what some call “Trust.” Trust is all about me! It’s egocentric. I trust that God will save me, but I’m still concerned only about myself. (This is the problem with most of traditional Christianity’s focus.) Biblical faith, on the other hand, is believing in God’s love for me, with my heart not just my head, which leads me to want to no longer live for myself but only for Him and others. This is “Faith which works by love.”

“As we behold the glory of Christ, we become changed into His image. We have that faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. Our hearts are renewed, and we are made willing to obey God in all things.” (Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1896)

Yes, Faith is not feeling. We choose to believe God loves us regardless of how we feel, but once that belief has been decided, God’s love does touch our heart and awakens in us the desire to love Him back.

Faith is more than mental assent to a list of doctrines. (Even the demons do this and tremble.)

Faith is more than mere trust that Jesus will save me. (This is primarily egocentric)

Faith is the heart level response we experience to the truth of God’s character of Love and His love for us! (Awakening in us the desire to love Him back!)

Do you want to experience deeper Faith, my friend? As odd as this may sound, stop trying so hard to believe this week and instead start focusing on God’s great love for you. Let God’s love for you activate or rather awaken a deeper Faith within you. “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) He has given it to you. It is a sleeping giant deep within you, waiting to be awakened by the realization of God’s great love for you, for “by love is love awakened.”

June 1 Esight, 2007

A.T. Jones”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

It may not be amiss to emphasize what this scripture does say, by noting what it does not say.

It does not say, I want to be crucified with Christ. It does not say, I wish I were crucified with Christ, that He might live in me. It does say, “I am crucified with Christ.”

Again, it does not say, Paul was crucified with Christ; Christ lived in Paul, and the Son of God loved Paul and gave Himself for Paul. All that is true, but that is not what the scripture says nor is that what it means, for it means just what it says. And it does say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Thus this verse is a beautiful and solid foundation of Christian faith for every soul in the world. Thus it is made possible for every soul to say, in full assurance of Christian faith, “He loved me.” “He gave himself for me.” “I am crucified with Christ.” “Christ liveth in me.” Read also 1 John 4:15.

For any soul to say, “I am crucified with Christ,” is not speaking at a venture. It is not believing something on a guess. It is not saying a thing of which there is no certainty. Every soul in this world can say in all truth and all sincerity, “I am crucified with Christ.” It is but the acceptance of a fact, the acceptance of a thing that is already done, for this word is the statement of a fact.

It is a fact that Jesus Christ was crucified. And when He was crucified we also were crucified, for He was one of us. His name is Immanuel, which is “God with us”–not God with Him, but “God with us.” When His name is not God with Him, but “God with us,” then who was He but “us”? He had to be “us” in order that God with Him could be not God with Him but “God with us.” And when He was crucified, then who was it but “us” that was crucified?

This is the mighty truth announced in this text. Jesus Christ was “us.” He was of the same flesh and blood with us. He was of our very nature. He was in all points like us. “It behooved him to be made in all points like unto his brethren.” He emptied Himself, and was made in the likeness of men. He was “the last Adam.” and precisely as the first Adam was ourselves, so Christ, the last Adam, was ourselves. When the first Adam died, we, being involved in him, died with him. And when the last Adam died, we, being involved in Him, died with Him. And when the last Adam was crucified, He being ourselves and we being involved n Him, we were crucified with Him. As the first Adam was in himself the whole human race, so the last Adam was in himself the whole human race, and so when the last Adam was crucified, the whole human race–the old, sinful human nature–was crucified with Him. And so it is written, “Knowing this, that our old man IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Thus every soul in this world can truly say, in the perfect triumph of Christian faith, “I am crucified with Christ”; my old sinful human nature is crucified with Him that this body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth I should not serve sin. Rom. 6:6. Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. Always bearing about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus–the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, for I am crucified with Him–that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in my body. For I who live am always delivered unto death, for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in my mortal flesh. 2 Cor. 4:10, 11. And therefore the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

In this blessed fact of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, which was accomplished for every human soul, there is not only laid the foundation of faith for every soul, but in it there is given the gift of faith to every soul. And thus the cross of Christ is not only the wisdom of God displayed from God to us, but it is the very power of God manifested to deliver us from all sin and bring us to God.

O sinner, brother, sister, believe it. Oh, receive it. Surrender to this mighty truth. Say it; say it in full assurance of faith and say it forever. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Say it, for it is the truth, the very truth and wisdom and power of God, which saves the soul from all sin.