For many who have been walking with Christ for sometime, yet can not seem to settle it in their minds that they are truly His Child because they have stumbled a time or two, or come short of the mark which some mainstream religious communities impose on them, I would like to start this section of the study with just a few verses which irrefutably say: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23
Of course many will say that this verse only applies to those who have not yet come to Jesus and asked for forgiveness of their sins, and therefore was written by Paul in explanation of how we all need a savior. This is true in context I will admit, for that specific application. However, and I will not expound at this time why I believe it also applies to those of us who have already come to Jesus with a contrite heart, and have already been forgiven. Instead, I’ll just use another verse in which most scholars, and anyone else who takes the time to read the first chapter of 1st John will agree that the message was written to the Children of God. In fact, the second chapter even begins by saying: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1
And while we are on this same line of thought let me also add this verse:
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. Proverbs 24:16
Note the emphasis of this verse is upon the “Just” person…Or, one who is “Righteous” under the blood of Christ and “His” righteousness. ( Though this is an Old Testament verse I will later elaborate on how it applies to the Gospel of Christ)
No one is alone in the walk with Christ to begin with, because He tells us in so many ways that He will never leave us or forsake us. Hence, just because one has fallen, and gone back to their worldly ways for a time doesn’t mean they are not still a child of God. Just because we make a mistake, or take a little longer to come to the saving knowledge of JESUS Christ than some others do, does not make us any less saved once we get there. Let me clarify my belief on this however. I am in no way condoning backsliding. I am only stating what I have found in my own life, while posting the scriptures to back it up. Albeit, if we fall away from God, and we do not have the still small voice in our conscience telling us what we are doing is wrong, and a strong desire to get back into Gods Word and ways, then we have a problem. Also, if we walk away from God out of confusion, or what ever the reason, and find ourselves in some sort of dilemma which causes us to realize either there is no hope, or He is our only hope, then we can rest assured it is God who allowed the dilemma. I think of it as “He made us” “He knows what it takes to break us.” To get our attention that is. I strongly recommend reading all of “Psalm 107,” not only for validation of my last claim, but also just-well, just because you should read it.
Hebrews 12, lovingly lets us know as well, if we are a Child of God, He will let us know that He knows when we have done wrong, and He will deal with us accordingly. Not by judgment, or condemnation, but by some form of discipline. If you have ever wondered where the phrase; “God loves us right where we are, but too much to let us stay there” comes from, Well, now you know. And, I’m not even sure who to give the credit as a writer, or thinker to on that quote, but I do know that whomever put it into those words, has been behind the proverbial woodshed with Father God on at least one character changing, life lesson session if not more. I believe of a certainty that the most important lesson for us as Christians from such an occasion is to recognize that what is taking place in our lives, regardless of how bad it seems to us at the time is for our own good, and ultimately we will see it as just that.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Hebrews 12:5-6
I touched on a matter at the end of chapter 3 of this study that I will get into before the end of chapter 4, and that is Hebrews Chapter 11 which many call the Bible’s “Hall of Faith”. Meanwhile, let me take a moment to expound just a bit on a few things these verses have brought back to my own once unsettled mind. At times when I myself have struggled, and fallen into bouts of doubt and confusion, I cried out to God, (After experiencing some of those dilemmas I spoke of ) and, that’s putting it mildly, Anyway, I cried out to God, as I had come to the end of me. That’s when God shows up most of all, because when we think about it, and study and walk with Him and learn, that’s really all He is trying to get us to do. “Trust in Him”
There is as big a difference in conviction, and condemnation, as there is in life and death!!!
Many mixed messages, However, coming from the all too many voices and views, ( yes, unfortunately, even from some pulpits and churches ) will certainly confuse us to the point of not knowing which is which if we are not in the Word of God for ourselves. Sadly, this is because many of those who are speaking these mixed messages are themselves thus confused between the truth that could set them free, and the traps of the powers that be.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s take a look at faith.
What is faith? It’s not a feeling ..is it? Of course not. We sometimes go through spiritual droughts, or spiritual battles, and storms, wherein we just can’t feel God. We are wanting to do something, or hear something from God that we are certain is of great magnitude in His revelation to, or in His usefulness of us, and we just want to know; “what is the message in all of this God”? You know what I’m talking about. I am sure we’ve all been there. And what do we keep praying for? “God, please show me your self”. “Let me feel you”. “Let me know that you are there.” Or the ever so often asked, “Please God, Bless me” Take me to a higher level.” Then there’s always the wondering, and asking God to reveal to us the lesson, or reason for our spiritual storm to begin with. Regardless of what we as individuals may ask God in those times of confusion, and soul searching, speaking from my own experiences in such spiritual storms the immediate answer from such prayers are more times than not, silence. No answer. No lightning bolts from the sky, no shooting stars of recognition, and not even a change in my feelings. Well, other than a little added frustration. But, in most, if not all of these “Lost at stormy sea lessons” Once I come to the end of me and stop asking Him what He wants “Me” to do, and just begin to “Rest” in Him, and know in my soul that He is in control of all the outcomes of everything. Then He opens a certain “Rhema” scripture to me, or in some way uses someone else to show me what He was trying to get through to me the whole stormy ride. Overwhelmingly, at that moment it’s as if the seas stop rocking, and winds in my head no longer roar, the storm clouds lift, and I see Him standing beside me in the boat smiling. That’s when seemingly from another voice from within me I whisper with a tear falling from my eye, Lord, you were with me the whole time? And He smiles and says; “Trust me child”
You see, If we went around feeling God all of the time… How would we ever use our Faith?
Which brings me back to the earlier question. What is Faith?
The Bible answers that question this, among other ways…
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Martin Luther said it like this: “Faith is a Living, bold, trust in Gods Grace, so certain of Gods favor, that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.”
Faith is not a half- heart-ted belief that there exist some higher power out there somewhere that created us. Faith is trusting the one who created you and wants you to know He loves you enough to walk with you through all the things that come into your life. They may not all be good things, but He is in control of the outcome of all things. More assuredly, He even said “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. Romans 8:28
“ALL” things. Not just the good things. What wonderful promises we have to assure us in His loving Word.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Here’s a few of the seemingly heroic people who made the “Grade” of being highly esteemed on the walls of the “Hall of Faith,” straight from Hebrews Chapter 11. I ask you to go further and meditate with God, about these people in the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, and if you haven’t already, or you just need a refresher, I implore you to also get into the entire Love letter God sent you, Which His Son JESUS signed, sealed, and delivered on that faithful Cross 2000 years ago.. and you will see that none of those people began from anything more than what you and I may have come from. Yet, through Faith..Just Like Jesus, they became sons of God.
Hebrews 11 1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
King James Version (KJV)