Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 93 of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to continue our series on the elementary teachings of Christianity with this, our third installment.

I would encourage you to start at the beginning of this series in season 2 episode 91 about baptism.  The topics in this series are the milk of Christian theology.  What I mean by that, is that these are the things we understand to be the very first basics that you should teach a new Christian you are discipling.  Something we don’t see a lot of these days so a lot of Christians haven’t been taught this stuff.  This list comes straight from Hebrews 6:1-2 CSB, “[1] Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, [2] teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”  In this installment we’ll be taking about faith in God.

When I read that phrase “faith in God” in Hebrews 6:1 I’m immediately reminded of the early churches tendency to use the terms Christ and God interchangeably as we read in Hebrews 11:26 CSB, “For (Moses) considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward.” 

As usual, let’s take to the scriptures to see what is meant by the phrase “faith in God” found in Hebrews 6:1.  I would have to say the most direct reference to this concept in the Bible is 1 Peter 1:21 CSB, “[21] Through (Christ) you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”  Or if you prefer, we can turn to the words of Jesus Himself as recorded by John the Disciple.  In John 5:24 CSB it’s recorded that Jesus said, “[24] Truly I tell you anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgement but has passed from death to life.”  Later in the Gospel of John 12:44 CSB Jesus lays it out even clearer, “The one who believes in me believes not in me, but in him who sent me.”

There are some commentaries that connect this phrase of “faith in God” to the doctrinal teachings of the Trinitarian nature of God.  When we go back and take another look at 1 Peter and John 12 we do see evidence of this being a concept that extends from the trinity.  1 Peter 1, but this time we’re going to add verse 20.  1 Peter 1:20-21 CSB, “[20] (Christ) was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. [21] Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”  For Christ to be God, as the doctrine of the trinity teaches, He would need to be just as eternal as God.  For Christ to be God, He would need to have always existed; as we see expressed here in 1 Peter 1.

Revisiting John 12, only this time adding verses 45 through 50.  So that’s John 12:44-50 CSB, “[44] Jesus cried out, “The one who believes in me believes not in me, but in him who sent me. [45] And the one who sees me sees him who sent me. [46] I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me would not remain in darkness. [47] If anyone hears my words and doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. [48] The one who rejects me and doesn’t receive my sayings has this as his judge: The word I have spoken will judge him on the last day. [49] For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a command to say everything I have said. [50] I know that his command is eternal life. So the things that I speak, I speak just as the Father has told me.”  For Christ to be God, as the doctrine of the trinity teaches, He would need to be able to act independently of the other parts of the trinity while still maintaining complete harmony with the Father and the Holy Spirit; as we see expressed here in John 12.

While the concept of the Trinity isn’t exactly beginner theology, it’s difficult to explain how Christ is God and therefore to say “faith in God” is to express the idea of putting your faith in Christ without touching on the idea of the Trinity.

Let’s take a look at 1 John 5:1-13 CSB, “[1] Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. [2] This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. [3] For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, [4] because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.”  Let’s pause right there for a second, this portion of scripture calls back to John 14:15-17 CSB, “[15] If you love me, you will keepmy commands. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. [17] He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.”  If we love God then we love Christ and we keep His commands.  In keeping His commands, we receive the Holy Spirit as a counselor and conquer the world through our faith.  Other translations use the term comforter or advocate for the Holy Spirit there.

Back to 1 John 5 starting in verse 5 CSB, “[5] Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? [6] Jesus Christ—he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. [7] For there are three that testify: [8] the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. [9] If we accept human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that he has given about his Son.”  In this passage were brought back to something we talked about in the last installment of this series, “repentance from dead works.”  Jesus became the High Priest forever.  Here in 1 John the author is talking about that priesthood.  Like all priests before Him, Jesus was physically born – water, but unlike any priest before Him, He also became the sacrifice for sin – blood.  The Holy Spirit coming to those who have believed is the third piece of the testimony of God about His Son.

Picking back up 1 John 5 from verse 10 CSB, “[10] The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son. [11] And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life. [13] I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

What we have to understand is that our faith, our salvation isn’t so simply put as Faith in Christ.  But as Faith in God who has given us eternal life through Christ.  It isn’t so much that we are placing our faith in the physical man - Jesus, but that we are placing our faith in God who expressed Himself as Jesus to bring us salvation.  Faith in God.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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