This is a follow on from the “Does God Really Know Us?” series of blogs…
Well, there are a lot of things going through my soul and spirit after a week of the Hillsong Conference. In a way, Hillsong Conference was excellent and, as I have said, there are a lot of things that have gone into my and soul and spirit and in another way there is a small distraction as I have taken many notes and it will take time to ruminate all of this input. You know ruminate?… Like the cows do…chew, swallow it, bring it back up again, chew, chew, swallow it etc, etc 🙂
I have been thinking about the following verses for months…ruminating…
OK, we know ‘faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ‘(see Romans 10:17) and we know that ‘faith without deeds is useless and dead‘(see James 2:20-26). We also know ‘we are saved by grace and not by works‘(Ephesians 2:8-10).
My First point: Merely hearing the ‘Word of Christ’ is not true faith!
Looking at Romans 10:17… ‘faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ‘, do we actually have faith when we hear the Word of the Lord in the true sense of what faith is or is this verse merely suggesting the vehicle in which faith comes? Let me explain a bit better, so we hear the Word of Christ do we have faith at that point? No we don’t! The best it could be called would be incomplete faith or unactioned faith or dormant faith or not-really faith 🙂 . Let’s cut over to James 2:20-24
20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. NIV
My Second Point: ‘Actioned Faith’ brings God’s Friendship
I guess it’s like this, do we see the faith that we have in the Lord as a noun or a verb, faith as a ‘descriptive word’ or a ‘doing word’. I remember at the Hillsong Conference (Yes! It’s all coming back) Robert Ferguson spoke about ‘Bridging the Gap’ between who we are and who we are meant to be in Christ. He reminded us that the early Christians were called believers not Christians. ‘Christian’ came later (still in Acts though) to describe a group of people, that is, it was a ‘descriptive word’, a noun or a label. ‘Believer’, in contrast, is a ‘doing word’, an active word, a verb. Are we a believer and do we have an active faith in our Lord Jesus Christ or do we just sit under a ‘Christian label’, a ‘ticket to Heaven’ type of ‘dormant faith’. Well, if Hebrews 11:6 is true ‘without faith it is impossible to please God” (context – active and believing faith) were does that leave us?