Faith - Part II
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6
WHEN IT COMES TO receiving the promises of God, more than likely there will be a timeline from when the promise is given to when that promise is received, and there’s a reason for that. For the most part, if God were to give us the promise immediately, there would be no reason for us to trust or believe Him for things that seem impossible. What reason would we have to stretch our faith, press through, or believe Him in spite of circumstances? We could all be tempted to say, “Why believe when I can have it now?
God never works on what I like to call the “fast-food” mentality. Consider the process: You pull up to your local fast-food drive-through, place your order, pay at the first window, and pick up your food at the second window. Too many Christians look to God in this same way: They pray, tell God what they want, then expect to immediately receive what they want. Do you see what’s wrong with this viewpoint?
If God were to answer all of our requests immediately, there would be no reason to trust Him. In this Christian life, God doesn’t give us what we want when we ask for it. He allows a space between the promise and the possession of that promise to teach us trust in Him for all things and that He knows exactly what He’s doing.
At the same time, not only does He use these opportunities to teach us trust, but He also uses them to prepare us to receive said promises. There are so many things in our lives that need to be removed in order for us to receive the promise, and only the Holy Spirit can do this. This means that we, for the most part, would not be able to handle receiving the promise right away. If we did, it may cause us to become lifted up in pride, or even lose our way.
So, the Holy Spirit has to go to work on our behalf to root out that which needs to be removed, and replace it with what’s needed for us to receive what God has promised us.
I’ve been waiting for what seems like an eternity for some things that God has promised me, but God is still working, not only in my life, but also in ways that I can’t see so that His promises to me will come to pass. I must continue to trust Him, depend on Him, rely upon Him, and continue to declare that by faith, those promises will be received.
Paul discusses faith quite extensively, but when he uses the term faith, he is always referring to what Christ did at the Cross. This is most important part of faith. For faith to be faith, it has to have the right object, which is the Cross of Christ. Faith in Christ and the Cross is the only type of faith that God will accept. Faith in anything else, whatever it may be, and no matter how good it might be, can never be fully recognized or accepted by God.
What I’m about to say will not sit well with many Christians, but it must be said. If a believer is looking to something else—prayer, reading the Word, witnessing, fasting, or any other Christian discipline—as the means by which he receives from God, then God cannot honor such. God only honors faith in Christ and Him crucified. The reason for that is that the Cross is where the price was paid, the sin debt was handled, and sin was defeated. If the Cross handled those things, then it has procured everything that we will ever be in need of.
Much of the church world is in the condition that it’s in because of a lack of teaching on the subject of faith, or a total misuse of faith. If we are to please the Lord, and I have no reason to believe that any Christian does not desire to please the Lord, then the only way that we can is by placing our faith in Christ and the Cross. It can’t be done in any other manner. Paul was very adamant: the only way that we can please God is by faith, but our faith must be anchored totally and completely in Christ and Him crucified. For the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, our faith must be anchored in the Cross, for this gives Him the ability to work in our lives in the way that He sees fit.
The Holy Spirit works exclusively through the means of the Cross, and the Cross alone. He cannot work through any other avenue. And if we are looking to something other than the Cross of Christ, then the Holy Spirit will be severely limited as to what He can do.
It’s important to understand that the Holy Spirit is God, and because of that, there is nothing that He cannot do. Notwithstanding, if we do not understand the effects of the Cross in our everyday lives and living, then the Holy Spirit will be restricted in His working in our lives. Let us say it this way: we cannot afford to live our Christian lives without the help of the Holy Spirit, but we limit Him by placing our faith in something other than the Cross of Christ.
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