By Grant Marshall: Lost Sheep Community
Faith is the central tenet of scripture. It is what cements the relationship between YHVH and those that have been chosen by Him to receive this amazing gift.
Have you ever thought of it like that? Scripture tells us that faith is a gift from God.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God . . .
“But without faith [love and obedience] it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]” . . .
Hebrews 11:6 The Amplified Translation.
But what is faith all about? Each of us will have a different understanding of it. That understanding will of course cause us to appropriate it differently in our lives. Some believe that simply having a religion quantifies a faith. Some have an ethereal type of hoping; others buy into cosmic laws of attraction, mindfulness, and positive thinking, and others have the type of faith that God demands. By this, I mean that faith is linked directly to Him, YHVH. Any other type of faith that does not link through a direct relationship with Him, is not the faith the Bible talks about and God demands. In this respect, we must ask “Who is your god?”
A person might say that he has faith and what he believes in through that faith happens. However, if that person has no relationship with God, then what is manifesting in his life is coming from somewhere else. Faith is not simply about believing and receiving it’s about trusting in God and believing His promises for us.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We can have faith in ourselves or someone else but that is not faith in God. If we want the material substance of this world then the scripture tells us that we can receive that from someone else.
Mark 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Let’s try and break Hebrews 11:1 down. The statement itself is not quite as straightforward as it may seem. It tells us that faith is a substance. The substance is what is hoped for. But how can you have the evidence of something that cannot be seen?
The scripture is simple and complex at the same time. Can you think of something that cannot be seen but yet is there? Electricity is not seen but the evidence of what it powers is. The air around is invisible but the evidence of you and I still breathing is there. When we turn on a light switch, we operate it without thinking about it. We are trusting that the power will surge down the cable and power up the device. God is an invisible substance, He is without form. He is the divine energy of all the cosmos; in fact His very existence precedes the beginning of the cosmos. Scientists have proved that the big bang existed, but can’t explain what happened before it. I propose that they can’t explain that because the big bang came from the mind, thought and deed of God. You could say that He exists on the other side of the big bang. But where is the evidence? Hebrews 11:1 tells us that this evidence is not seen. That puts us into a quandary. However, when we look at it through the mind or eye of God, we get a better view.
When God says something, when He uses the ‘I AM’ title of His name, we are witnessing a prophetic event. The thought and voice of God is uttering things into existence. The statement in Hebrews is describing the same event. It tells us that with faith, putting our trust in God, what we say and believe through seeing, will come about. In other words, faith works through God, and God works through us. Hebrews 11: 6 shows us that when we put that trust in God, allowing Him to work through us, He rewards us. There is, however, a caveat; we must diligently seek Him, and we must not be double-minded, as these passages in James tell us.
James 1:7 , That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
James 4:8 , Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
This passages clearly state that in order for faith, or the result of faith to be in operation, one must draw near to God.
Faith in the Bible is believing and trusting in YHVH. The scripture above tells us that faith in Him means that we do not trust in our own insights or understanding.
Proverbs 3:4 Then you will find favour and high regard in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will do it.
YHVH spoke to Abraham and gave him a promise that would affect all his descendants, but Abraham had to believe it. Even Moses and Aaron saw the land of promise. They believed in the promises of God.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us — by me and Silvanus and Timothy — was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Let us now look at the covenant God made with Abraham: Genesis 15:6 And the Lord took him outside and said, “Now look to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able.” Then He declared, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 7 The Lord also told him “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the
Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
Romans 4:3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Living in a pagan society, Abram would have witnessed the daily sacrifices of children into the fires of Molech. This would have been a normal occurrence for him, but God knew Abram’s heart. He knew he would be faithful and have the resolve to walk with Him, even though he would come against resistance. By choosing God, Abram became Abraham, who in turn through his seed, begat a chosen people. By Abraham’s faith, new generations would be born. Follow the thread now. From Abraham, Israel is birthed. This is the seed of Abraham — all who believe in the God of Abraham and put their trust in him. But not all Israel is Israelite. Ultimately, the seed of Abraham will be reduced to a single seed – Yeshua and in that one seed is the DNA of God’s family.
Yeshua said, however, that not all Israel is the seed of Abraham. Romans 9:6 It is not as though God’s word has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are Abraham’s descendants are they all his children. On the contrary, “Through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 So it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as offspring.
The offspring are regarded as being as righteous as Abraham. He, in essence, through faith, multiplied after himself. YHVH said to him that this would be his inheritance. This was Abraham’s promise and we today are part of that promise. But that promise, physically, is still to be fulfilled, because the promise of scripture is a restorative one. In faith, it has already occurred.
We have to believe without doubt that in God’s plan, His promises are already fulfilled. In order for us to receive and walk into it, we have to believe and obey Him. Fundamentally God is telling Abraham, “I am going to restore the breach that happened in heaven and on earth, and I’m going to use you to do it.”
As believers, we cannot have faith and trust in anything else but YHVH. The scriptures remind us constantly of the type of relationship YHVH is looking for.
But what faith does the world rely on? Cosmic energies, positive thought, and mindfulness are the trends of our ever-increasing secular society. Even in the church today areas of disbelief in miracles and the gifts and offices prevail. Theological arguments abound as to whether the apostolic ministry and signs that accompany it are still apparent.
But we are called to live a very different life from the one we were born into. Understanding the restorative process will help us to realise what our faith demands of us and what we are part of.
What does it mean for us who take instruction for the believer’s life from the whole of scripture, especially from the renewed covenant?
Yeshua reiterates the essence of ‘Shema’ for all of us. Declaring Him as One, God of gods, and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving our neighbour as ourselves is the condition, and furthermore, that belief in God promises us blessings.
When I first got saved I listened to the ‘believe it and receive it’ message in the faith movement. All the big mega ministries preached that type of message and they still do the ‘bless me and live’ coaching messages, which are still the prosperity message, taking the scripture of what Yeshua taught us completely out of context. There are many true and faithful believers out there, but fundamentally there is a corruption of the word which is being taught to many today and has been doing so over the decades. The admonition in scripture tells us to first seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness’. This observance and focus on our faith put us into an intimate relationship with God. It drives us into the heart of God and gives us the desire to fulfill His plan for the whole of creation, including the realms of the heavenly abode.
The admonishment of Yeshua in the Lord’s prayer was to pray the will of God, and James writes to us about the fervent effective prayer. These are two clues in the prayer attitude which are directly linked to the opening words of our Lord Yeshua’s prayer. When we ask for healing, we can believe we will receive it because it is God’s will. His will and care also provide for us victory against the enemy, financial provision, and breakthroughs through the storms and tribulations of life. But the conditions of loving Him, which mean for us a repentant attitude and obedience, are crucial to receiving.
Now let us throw a spanner in the works. When Ha’Satan (the satan) tempted Yeshua, he offered an earthly kingdom to Him if Yeshua would just worship him. We have to realise that there are forces other than those of YHVH which are at work, helping us to make decisions that will ultimately lead us down the wrong path. Those voices can be heard in many areas of our life; for example in clairvoyance, mediumship, tarot, meditational practices, and the use of drugs; many cases in mental health. We may receive answers to what we desire and even encouragement to take a certain path through mediumship and horoscopes for instance, but this is the path that Satan, and the voices he uses, wants to lead us. His device is tuned into our hearts, our groaning, moaning, and dissatisfaction.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 tells us that when we lean on God, He will make our path straight. In order for Him to do that, we place all our faith in Him and desist from leaning on our own insight and understanding.
The Lord’s prayer is the method and pattern of prayer which, when appropriated in parallel in the believer’s life, availeth much, according to James’ scripture. So when we pray and believe that YHVH hears us in accordance with His will, it will be answered.
Scripture tells us that ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for, of things not yet seen.’ To break that down, it simply means that a. faith (trust in YHVH) plus b. YHVH (the substance) = a future event coming to pass.
This is similar to the ‘I AM’ declaration of YHVH. In Hebrew, the words are ‘Ayer Asher Ayer’ Exodus 3:14, which makes more sense than the English translation. It means ‘what will be will be’.
It is a prophetic utterance about events that will happen. The message that YHVH spoke through that name was “tell Pharaoh what will happen”.
Permit me to side track for a moment. Christianity argues that we all have free will, agreed. We can choose to obey God and obey His prescribed ways. However, we cannot choose to obey God and change the way He asks us to do things. By choosing to hear the voice of God, we must be obedient in observing the instruction. So in this sense, we do not operate free will. Choosing to obey God is the only free choice we have. There is no choice in obedience. We simply obey. Obedience demands ‘the way’ and not our many ways. We cannot engage with God across the table to discuss avenues of obedience or any aspect of His sovereign will. Although God wants us to obey Him and have faith in Him, He still wants us to do so freely, and so He gives us choice. We may choose freely to do the exact opposite of what God wants, through a rebellious spirit, and God will stand back and watch as the effects of that choice play out. His hope, even though He is omniscient, is that we will make this choice:
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14: 15)
In 1 John 5: 2-4 (NIV) 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God, by loving God and carrying out His commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Obedience to YHVH tells us that we cannot take the wrong path because He makes it clear and straight – there’s no shadow of turning. But predestination is different. This is YHVH’s sovereign omniscience at work. This is an illuminating moment. This is the ‘I AM’ and the ‘Dabar’ moment in one; the ‘what will be’ event and the ‘spoken’ moment coming together.
This is what we speak in faith. I am not saying that we take the place of God as ‘I AM’ but what we are doing is reflecting Him and His nature because He has given us authority to do so.
We are to be imitators. Prophecy works in the same way. It can be changed if things fall in line. For example, we may receive prophecy and it will only come true if we are obedient to God; that’s foreknowledge. And there is prophecy that cannot be changed; that’s predestination.
The promises of blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28 tell us about two courses that we can take. The foreknowledge of God tells us what will happen if we choose to obey one or the other. That is not predestination.
Now, look at this passage in the book of Acts chapter 13: 48.
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly:
“We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ “
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
Here we seem to approach the subject of predestination and foreknowledge. YHVH is omniscient; He knows all things. If He interfered in every part, thought and response of our lives, we would be robots, all responding to Him alike. What sort of relationship would that be? We see the foreknowledge of God at play. Because God is omniscient, He knows what the outcome will be if we choose to take another course. We all have foreknowledge. That is not clairvoyance. If I asked someone who had never drunk alcohol to drink a bottle of wine, I know he would get drunk and probably not be well after it. I know that through my foreknowledge.
In faith we live in Christ because He is our substance. When a new believer begins the walk of a new life, that substance is the light of God. When we turn on a light, it does not stay where it is. It shines into the distance, touching everything around it, until it dies or is turned off.
Scripture tells us that the word of God is a lamp to our feet. It lights the pathway ahead and into the distance, showing us where we should walk. If the word is our light, then it illuminates what is there plainly in our sight. So we can trust in what we see. The light points to a future mark or destination, but we can only get to that mark in another moment of time. But what if the light dies on our journey and we cannot see where we are going? Well, we either stop because we physically can’t go any further, or we wait till dawn, in which case we lose time unless we have come prepared and have enough power to keep the light on. The latter is what we are called to
be — prepared.
Now at the future point, there will be people waiting for us. That is our inheritance because an inheritance is a future event. We don’t have it now. This makes sense when we look at faith and how YHVH called the descendants of Abraham his inheritance.
The point that is really being made for us when we look at the patriarchs particularly, and I include Moses amongst these, is that YHVH is saying that the moment or the life space you occupy now, is not for you; it’s about your descendants, your fruit, and your multiplication. But nonetheless, without you, there cannot be any fruit. “I am going to use you to fulfill My will, to multiply My image, and I’m going to cause your descendants to imitate you”, says the Lord.
If we ever think that this life is about us, then we are shamefully full of pride. The prayer of faith ultimately secures our future. The predestination event is one where YHVH will fill the earth with members of His household, which will be the fruit of the marriage of the Lamb.
We have already looked at what prophecy is and isn’t. It certainly isn’t about you or what you can have and achieve. The foreknowledge of God gives us choice and with prayer, humility, and the seeking of the Lord, we cannot help but walk the path and receive the outcome He desires for us.
In the latter days, many false prophets will arise and they will be like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They will entice and lead many astray. The message preached in many of the mega ministries teach personal prosperity and material gain. You can choose to listen to those voices and you can have all that they offer in this life, but your inheritance will be lost. The scripture tells us that the rich have their reward on earth whilst they live. Be careful also of prophecy spoken from many platforms. Many false prophets seem credible because they speak the word, but they are often echoes from other voices. They will hook you in, making you believe that the word is alive in them. If the Lord has not put His word in your heart first, be careful of what you receive. Prophecy is a future event – not a now event. God does not change. He has set out a pattern of events and abides by His own laws. It is good for us to understand this.
Faith, therefore, is believing God for who He is and what He will do. He has proven Himself to be faithful, loving, and unchanging. That’s a truth moment. If the truth is absolute, then we can put our faith in it. When Yeshua, who is the Word, told us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life’, and we believe that with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then what’s the problem with faith?
The words in Hebrew: amanah 548, emet 571 refer to truth in the old testament, meaning: assuredly, establishment, faithful, right, sure, true, verity. From these words we get the affirmation ‘Amen’.
In the new testament the Greek words ‘pistis 4102’ and ‘aletheia 225’ refer to faith. For example in John 4:24 “God searches for those who worship in spirit and truth (aletheia)” and John 14:6 Jesus refers to Himself as ‘the way’, ‘the truth’ (aletheia), and ‘the life’. The word ‘pistis’ is used in this scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘we walk by faith (pistis – the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ), not by sight.
If we ratify, therefore ‘truth’ with ‘faith’, we are convicted, knowing that truth is absolute. We are unwavering, as there can be no shadow of turning. ‘Truth’ and ‘faith’ being absolute, reflect therefore the nature of YHVH.
Coming to this conclusion tells us that there cannot be any problem with faith. We are of the ‘House of Faith’ absolutely.
The believer, in his relationship with God, is affected by the light of the word shining on him, because more about him is revealed. He is acutely aware of his former nature and hopes that conversion will do what it promises. But faith is built on the truth. We, in a sense, have been found out. Our fallen nature has been exposed. Luke 8:17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be known and illuminated.
We may grasp from this passage, both evil intentions made in the dark, sin, and that which is intended for good; both are revealed by the light. Regarding the latter, when God shines His light on us, it reveals who we really are; in this case, the person we are meant to be. We were hidden and lost, but now we are found.
The danger is that we can often be self-condemning, but forgiveness on God’s behalf has dealt with that. We have to accept that, or we are rejecting God’s precious gift of mercy. 1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
The new man must regenerate with a new mind. To know more about God, demands a deeper understanding of the grace that tells us that even though He knows all about us, He nevertheless wants to know us too. That level of intimacy comes from faith. Just think about that for a moment. As humans, our nature is to draw near to those whom we know and trust. Every relationship has some element of it. We want to establish these principles in those relationships. The greatest faith we can share, is with our spouse or with our closest friend.
What kind of relationship results from one of distrust? The breakdown of trust that brought the humans and God together in the Garden of Eden, resulted in the fall of man from His presence. The thread within the whole of scripture is about renewing that trust and restoring the relationship.
Hebrews 10: 38 Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.