Saturday, February 18, 2012

Radical Christianity Exists On Faith Alone: Are You A Radical Christian?

Can we talk candidly about faith? We talk about a lot of things but one of the basic things that we take for granted is not all that often touched on. I know there are a lot of things that are said about faith but I am not sure that we grasp the profoundness or the importance of this thing. It is something we don't find a lot of even though we have so many mega-churches growing in the world.

The writer of Hebrews stated:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Paul stated in his great letter to the Romans:

"Everything that does not come from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)

Jesus often corrected his disciples and listeners with the term, "You of little faith". An example was when Peter started sinking into the sea. Jesus reached out:

“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)

According to Hebrews 11 faith is the absence of doubt:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Confidence and assurance of what we do not yet possess. This is faith. Faith goes beyond simply believing. It is not good enough to say that you believe in God's existence. It goes beyond just worship. James wrote:

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:19)

The Word states that faith goes beyond believing. Faith is when we believe what God says is true and act on it. James possess the question:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? (James 2:14)

And then he gives us this response:

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is uselessWas not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:20-22)

He also gives us this conclusion:

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

So you can see that faith is required to please God and any action we take without faith is sin, but faith requires us to act on the promises and commandments of God. Such as when you see someone needing help and you only have a few dollars which you need for lunch. Faith is trusting God when he says he will supply your needs and taking the decision in faith to act on the commandment to love your neighbour. That is the faith that James talks about, the faith that Jesus demonstrated to us.

The good news is that God does not expect this type of faith to pour out of you in bucketfuls, at least not to start with. Jesus gave us a very simple lesson about faith:

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” (Luke 13:18-21)

Faith never starts off in large quantities but the quality matters. Faith must be without doubt, even if it is a small thing that we act on in faith. It starts off small like a mustard seed. That seed, that first act of faith , will grow and become something of great significance that others will benefit from. Just like the small amount of yeast that is mixed in the dough, it will spread throughout our being, becoming part of our character, affecting every aspect of our lives. But is starts with one small action as we step out on one of the commandments or promises of Jesus.

By it's very definition faith requires action. Without action faith is only a belief that sits dormant in us and has no effect whatsoever. But faith is like a seed that is planted, that will grow and become so much more than we could have imagined. It will grow to the point where we can act on every promise and commandment of God without blinking an eye. We will cause mountains to leap just by walking into the situation. The sick and injured will be healed just by touching us. We will become such people of faith that others will be encouraged in their faith through us. We will have consistency of faith just as the dough has the consistency of yeast throughout.

We cannot please God without it. Don't claim to have faith and in the next breath speak words of doubt against God's promises. If we believe then act on. Proclaim the name of Jesus in the darkness and in the storm because you trust his promise of rescue. Reach out to address the need of your neighour even though you are in need yourself because you believe the promise of God's provision. When you pray over the sick believe that they will be well because it is the authority Jesus promised to us. Believe and do not doubt. Believe and take action. Live your faith and you will please God.

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