June 5, 2010

How Faith Works

God has spoken to man and has revealed basic truths about life. This revelation is quite different than what man’s unaided reason feels is the explanation of secrets of living. This revelation centers in Jesus Christ.  If we accept the revelation and act on these truths, (that is what faith is, accepting and acting on them), reason then will find its proper place in life and will make sense as God intended it to do.  But without Faith we only struggle on in a confused cycle of bewilderment, boredom and frustration.
Therefore life of Faith begins by an acceptance of Jesus Christ. Faith as we already know is a desire for something better. It starts with hope. Then becomes an awareness of Someone else in life; an Unseen Someone, who is nevertheless very real. Faith involves an assurance consequential that obedience to that Someone will bring us to the something better. Faith, therefore, is a very practical thing, is it not? We read in Hebrews Chapter 11 of men and women with like passions as ourselves living in the kind of a world in which we live confronted with the same kind of problems, who mastered their problems and overcame the obstacles and won their way to a tremendous fulfillment by faith. You can test your own faith as you read this chapter which is self explanatory by carefully looking at distinguishing marks of genuine faith displayed by these outstanding characters.
Perhaps the most characteristic thing is that faith always anticipates i.e. it moves towards a clearly expected event in the future. Faith believes that God has revealed something about the future; not everything, but something. And what he has revealed is quite enough for us to know. Faith seizes upon a revealed event and begins to live in anticipation of it. Therefore, faith gives life goal, purpose and destination. It is a look into the future.
This is seen in Abraham as read in (Hebrews 11:8; "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go,")

That is rather unusual. Here is a man who left home and went abroad without making any reservations. He went out on a journey without a map, leaving his friends and his influence behind. There must have been many who said to him, "What an absurd thing to do, to go out not knowing where you are going. What is your destination?" And Abraham said, "I don't know." He did not know where he was going, but he knew whom he was going with, and what a difference that makes. Because he obeyed, the land became his and his children's. Even to this 20th century hour we have ample evidence in the existence of the nation Israel in that self-same land that the promise God made to Abraham is valid, forty centuries later.
But perhaps the most striking quality of all is that faith dares. When God has spoken, faith ignores the contrary evidence even though it seems to be absolutely impossible.

Culled from: PBC Library by Ray C Stedman