Monday, May 21, 2007

Just a blog

I don't know if many people read my blog. I don't really mind. It is for anyone and everyone. I do have a problem with some things that I have been hearing lately and reading lately. The reason I'm writing this blog is I have some spare time and there are a few issues that have been raised in my mind that I would like to chat about.

Faith - where does it come from? Why must we have it? Does everyone have faith? Where does that leave us?

A really good friend of mine, someone who will actually listen to my rantings and ravings on "religious" (what I would call "relationship") issues in Christianity wrote a talk on faith and it got me thinking. Where does faith come from? What is the point? Why should we have faith? These are great topics to ponder on. It is at the core of what we believe. So I'm going deeper. I have some great external sites as well. Here they are a "Faith comes from me" site and here is a site I agree with

Where does faith come from? Wow what a great question. In 229 verses in the new testament, mentioned 245 times, faith seems to be quite an important issue to God. Faith healed people, good faith even gave people what they wanted (NOTE: GOOD faith) and faith has the ability to move mountains and uproot trees. It even seems (from scripture - Luke 7:20 "...Your faith has saved you...") that faith in God will reap our salvation. So here is a key point: Without FAITH there is no SALVATION. All of a sudden this is an important aspect to a Christian. Where our faith comes from is not some small part, it is our WHOLE part of salvation. Surely if our faith comes from ourselves, then we have done something to enter into the kingdom of heaven?

What is clear in scripture is that every man and woman had differing amounts of faith. There cannot be dispute over this. Many times the disciples were told that they were of "little faith" by Jesus and many times people were healed because of their faith or because of the faith of others. So surely it is OUR fault that we have little faith (read the whole article before you judge this statement) - look at what Jesus says to the disciples when they ask him to increase their faith (Luke 17:6) "And the8 Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say, unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you." This is not a yes or a no.

If it is by faith that we are saved, then by the faith WE (Acts 26:18) have (that is - created in us by ourselves) we have something to boast about? The simple truth is: Jesus so often refers to the faith in others as THEIR faith ("...thy faith..."). It is in them - and so they have something MORE of what others have that THEY have produced in themselves. These were humble people, and yet their faith was the key.

Wait a minute here. Surely everything other than God is created. This is something all Christians should at least agree on (the manner of creation does not matter in this context). So if then God created ALL things, he created FAITH. Surely our faith must come from God? Surely faith is good? Surely it is righteous? If we were able to PRODUCE faith without God (even in the slightest form - the form of faith that ALL men and women have) we would be creating something out of ourselves that is righteous? Romans 3:10 "There is none righteous, no, not one" and 3:11 " There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God". So faith CANNOT come from within ourselves. It must be something that has been CREATED in us.

Faith grows by a relationship. Plain and simple. The more we have in relation to something the more faith we have in the thing we are relating to. All men are granted faith by God - and it is up to God to grow and mold that faith (Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."). No one can create their own faith - or claim the faith they have as their own (in terms of boasting). So were does our initial faith come from? Really from God? Romans 12:3 " For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Faith is also not a human thing - it is not something we should compare according to human standards. 1 Corinthians 2:5 "... your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" - this is why I don't care if people do not understand if I have faith or not. It is not for them to know - my job is to preach the Gospel. Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith. He creates it and grows it - in accordance with his his will.

So now we know where faith come from. Ephesians 2:8 says "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God". I have a hard time finding what is not in ourselves in this verse (is it the faith or the grace or the salvation?) Well, we know where faith comes from (God), the product of this faith is grace (therefore from God if faith is from God) and by the Grace produced by faith we are saved (which means the salvation of God is from God - we already know this from Jesus' sacrifice).

So I determine that NONE of it is in ourselves. All of it is a gift from God. And therefore to him ALL the glory goes - I didn't do something with what I was given over my brother who was given the same. God allows people to have more faith (and therefore more righteous faith as well) than others. I have no reason to boast other that that of how great and glorious God is. He is sovereign. And to him all the Glory goes. Amen.

=============APPENDAGE=============
I wrote this article last night and was in a bit of a rush - I did not get through all the verses that I wanted to so here I go. I have the whole day today.
I got to Romans 3:11, so I'll carry on from there, and obviously leave out the verses I have looked at already. I think my argument is correct by the way, but I will look through scripture to determine whether I am right or not.

My reasoning is as follows: If faith does not come from God - where does it come from? A sinners (Romans 3:21 "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God") heart? Satan? Can a sinful heart ever produce that which is pleasing to God on his own without God? I really cannot believe that. If there is ANYTHING "good" that a man can produce on his own, then Christ died in vain - because we do not need a saviour. If it is really MY choice to improve on the "stock standard" faith that God has given ALL men, then I have something of which to boast that is NOT of God. I'm sorry if you find this offensive, but if I am wrong, give me scripture and plain reasoning.

I have been searching for a while for scripture to show me where faith comes from. Do you know that faith is a fruit of the spirit? A fruit? That means it is produced! Produced by what? THE SPIRIT! Which spirit? Well, in the context of Galatians 5:22 it is God's spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith" - These aren't all the fruits of the Spirit, they are carried over into verse 23. So faith is a fruit! What wonderful revelation! We are told several times to follow after these thing (2 Timothy 2:22 and others) - but then we need to ask God to give it to us if it is a fruit of His spirit. Here is a scary truth - it is impossible to please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6 "But 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". How can we be pleasing to God when all of our humanly good works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)?

We must ask God for saving faith, for that is a fruit of Himself. God has always been the provider, why would he stop when it comes to something that PROVIDES salvation? HE PROVIDED CHRIST, and so he provides salvation - in which he will provide the faith. Does that mean I can blame God for lacking in faith? No way! If you do not ask, you will not receive. We must act in accordance to God's will, not our own! Can we offer faith to the unrepentant sinner? No! How can we say "Just believe" - we cannot - God must touch that persons heart!

Faith is referred to as precious(2 Peter 1:1), a virtue(2 Peter 1:5) and most holy(Jude 1:20). So is faith a good thing? Yes! All Christians have to concede that. So then, if faith is good, good according to God's standard, then how can it come from us? And than explain this scripture to me: James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." I cannot see how faith is not a gift. It is not within us by our doing. God creates faith. Jesus authors faith. The Spirit produces faith.

Is faith enough? James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James 2:24 "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" - Before you scream "Salvation by works!" read the whole verse - '...not by faith ONLY'. Faith produces works, we do not have faith through works. We are justified by Christ ALONE this may be seen through those faithful works.

Where does this put us? At the mercy of God. It forces us to be humble before him for ONLY through him are we saved and only through him are we given what is truly good. I've been hearing things like "God is a gentleman" and "God is infinitely polite". Such ramblings should not be heard in a Church. If God is gentle, it is because he is the definer of gentleness. Too often we measure ourselves and expect God to fit in with our measurement. That is not the purpose of his creation. It's not about us. It's about showing His glory, his mercy, his wrath, and his magnificence. If you think I'm wrong give me scripture. The word "gentle" is mentioned 5 times in the Bible, never referring to God. "Gentleness" occurs 4 times - and 4 times it refers to God, he is gentle, I'm not saying he's not, but He is because He IS. He is the measure by which ALL gentleness should come, not according to our understanding of it. Polite occurs a grand total of 0 times. Why should God be polite with his creation? He does what He wills, not our will. Read Job 40 onwards with regard to that.

I pray that this does not come as harshly to you as it did to me. I wish that this could be an easy discussion and that all people could embrace it. But it will not be so. Remember that I am open to honest scriptural debate. Humans will always be obedient to something - be it God or their sinful selves. If you do not want to accept certain scripture you must ask yourself "What sin am I trying to get around". If I am sinning in this I do not know of it yet, and I urge you to help.

"Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:21

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Information

I am still alive and praising God. I will blog again soon - but there is a lot on my mind so please forgive me for not blogging as regularly as I can. I want you to know that you must read the FULL article and it's comments before you judge me, but please judge me - I need the correction. But remember you must use scripture or at least plain logic, preferably both.

I will be back soon - I have a few cool ideas for blogs just time to research is getting less and less - some ideas:
- The role of television in the Christian lifestyle, is there one? (Really interesting)
- The ten commandments, who are they for? How did Jesus preach the Gospel? (Gonna burn stuff down on this one)
- Fruit or root? What is fruit and how do I get me some of that? (I want to look at the beatitudes)

That's all I can think of at the moment - there are other articles I want to do like "Confusing Scripture" - but I forgot what I was confused about (not that I understand it now, rather I forgot the references that confuse me). So I'll have to get back into my bible for that.

Please know I have broken my glasses and have to get new ones so I'll only be blogging once life calms down and I get them glasses fixed. For now I'm running on min and will only respond to comments.

God bless all!