Friday, January 15, 2016

Believing in Faith

I believe that spending time with God in his word and prayer is the number one relational issue of the Christian life. When we do this both privately and corporately, we maximize the opportunity for growth in relationship to God and our Christian family.

Part of my testimony in sharing about the word of God and prayer is to show how the Holy Spirit continues to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”[1] Jesus continues to speak through his word, and the Holy Spirit continues to teach us and remind us of the “living and active” nature of the word of God.[2]

This morning was one of those days when many things were woven together in my mind. Often it feels as though God has given me a picture, one strand of thread at a time, and then suddenly he weaves them all together so that the resulting tapestry helps me understand and appreciate a fuller meaning of his will and purpose.

Part of the context of my time with God this morning was another night of miserable dreams. I often find myself coming to God in the morning after a series of fear-based dreams, and deep gratitude to wake up and realize they are not true. This morning, I woke up to this realization that all my bad dreams have the same theme of impossible responsibilities I am failing to fulfill. It is not difficult to see where that comes from.

How did God speak to me about this?

In other words, how did God draw my heart to see something of my poverty of spirit, feel mournful over the condition of my soul, meekly accept I cannot fix these things myself, and come to him with a hunger and thirst for his righteousness?[3]

This is a testimony of how meditating on Scriptures that we think we know so well will yield new nuggets of truth if we keep digging. It is also a testimony of how specific nuggets of truth richly blessed me this morning.

I’m still in Romans 8:1-2, and the thing that stood out to me today was in direct relation to this ingrained mindset of impossible-to-meet responsibilities:

“There IS therefore now NO condemnation”[4]

I needed to see this, that there IS a present condition of my life in which there is NO condemnation, and it is for one reason: the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”[5]

This led to the next verse: “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.”[6]

Application 1: admit that our flesh is too weak to do the good we ought to do, or to resist the bad we do not want to do (the theme of Romans 7). The law is good, but it is weakened by the sark’s (flesh’s) propensity to live independent and contrary to God. No system of good-works works because the sark always ruins the best of our intentions to do good.

Application 2: admit that God has done what we need to be free of condemnation. Life is not hopeless just because we cannot keep the law. Our faith is in what God has done.

Through a whole tapestry of threads, I ended up considering the significance of “the law of the Spirit of life”. There is a law that overrides the mosaic law, and overrides the “law of sin and death”, and it is “the law of the Spirit of life”.

First, the life that is in the Spirit is a law. This law is in a person, the Holy Spirit of the Living God. In the Holy Spirit is life. When we are in Christ, we have the life of the Spirit. Period. Done. “IT IS FINISHED!”[7]

Which confronted me with the fact that many Christians have a lot of trouble believing that we have life by believing. Our sarky default-program is that we have life by being good. We have a life-time (if you will) of brain-washing ourselves to believe that we have life by acting, and performing, and behaving. It is not only the way the sark thinks, but many of us have grown up in families, churches, and friendships, where our acceptance has been based on what we do.

We struggle to believe the truth that we can have life simply because “the law of the Spirit of life” makes it so. However, the Spirit is clearly delighted to keep teaching us and reminding us of what God has done to give us life in the Son.

Through another series of threads, I ended up at this verse:

“but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”[8]

John’s gospel, along with his epistles ( “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”[9]), along with the whole of Scripture, is “written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” THAT is what the Bible is trying to convince us of, that these things are true.

And the reason that Scripture is calling us to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, and to BELIEVE that he is the Son of God, is that it is “BY BELIEVING” that we “may have life in his name.”

In other words, God wants us to BELIEVE who Jesus is, because it is BY BELIEVING that we have the life that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

If we BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death, and this is because God did the very thing the law was incapable of doing, since it was constantly weakened by the flesh.

Now that we are living by faith, we have life in the Son because of what God has done (did I say, “It is finished!”), not anything we have done.

Since the full work of our salvation rests in God, and is experienced by faith, even if we cry out with a mustard seed of, “I believe; help my unbelief!”[10] we have life by believing.

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] John 14:26
[2] Hebrews 4:12
[3] Based on the beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-6.
[4] Romans 8:1
[5] Romans 8:2
[6] Romans 8:3
[7] John 19:30
[8] John 20:31
[9] I John 5:13
[10] Mark 9:24

No comments:

Post a Comment