S3EP23 - Faith

Hello and welcome to season 3 episode 23 of The Berean Manifesto; 10 minutes or so a week of Faith, Hope, and Love for the Modern Christian.  I’m Pastor Bill of The Ekklesian House, and in this installment we are taking a look at faith.

In Hebrews 10 we find the author encouraging the Christian reader with the permanence of the salvation Christ brought versus the temporary covering of sins that the law brought.  They remind us to continue to meet together and encourage each other so that we don’t fall back into the sin that once held us captive. Then we get to Hebrews 10:32-39 CSB where we read, “[32] Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. [33] Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. [34] For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, because you know that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession. [35] So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. [36] For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. [37] For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. [38] But my righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. [39] But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and are saved.”

As believers today, at least in the United States where this podcast has its largest audience, we don’t really face this kind of persecution when we decide to follow Christ.  This isn’t true everywhere though.  When I was fifteen I went to Thailand for a month on a missions trip.  On one of our ministry days we met a young lady who wasn’t interested in becoming a Christian but wanted to tell us a story.  It wasn’t a long story, but she told us about her brother who had made their family proud by becoming a Buddhist monk.  Until one day a group of Christians came and made him into a Christian.  She told us her brother left his temple, betrayed their family, and brought shame to their whole family.  She told us how their whole family almost lost their jobs and how their long time family friends wouldn’t talk to the family anymore.  She told us how they had told her brother to leave and she hadn’t talked to him since.  She was angry, hurt, sad, and confused.  As she got into a car and drove away the translator that we’d been talking through to this young lady burst into tears and sat down on the ground.  That was his sister.  He was her brother who was a Buddhist monk and became a Christian.  That was his family that disowned him for becoming a Christian.  He was broken, my heart broke, and we sat there and cried until it was time to go.  Ultimately, for him, this was a test of his faith and a reminder why he was in ministry with his church.

The King James Version phrases Hebrews 10:38a CSB as, “Now the just shall live by Faith."  It sounds like, and has been implied, that this is saying that righteous, or the “just” live be faith.  The hopefully unintended consequence there being the takeaway by many that those who aren’t righteous or aren’t “just” can’t have faith.  But it’s really the other way around, those who live by faith are righteous or “just”.

The word, "just"? The word in the Greek there is:

G1342 δίκαιος dikaios dik'-ah-yos From G1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): - just, meet, right (-eous).

Living with faith in Christ makes you equitable in character, innocent, holy, justified, righteous.

Now faith in and of itself has been a touchy topic in the modern church to the point where some have avoided or even rejected talking about it all together, rejected it, all together. So in true Berean fashion let's talk about what faith is.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I had a conversation with someone once where this gentlemen told me he had a problem with people that believe in faith and with the faith movement in the belief that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I brought up that he had just quoted Hebrews 11:1 to me and he was quite upset by that revelation that the thing that he had against the faith movement was a scripture in the bible. But, I digress, lets move on.  What does it mean that faith is the substance of things hoped for? The word for substance there is the word:

G5287 ὑπόστασις hupostasis hoop-os'-tas-is From a compound of G5259 and G2476; a setting under (support), that is, (figuratively) concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively): - confidence, confident, person, substance.

In English we would equate this to a foundation, like the foundation of a building. When building a skyscraper you first have to dig down to make the foundation so it can be rooted and grounded. Faith is the foundation for hope. And the specific word in this verse here that was translated as hoped for is:

G1679 ἐλπίζω elpizō el-pid'-zo From G1680; to expect or confide: - (have, thing) hope (-d) (for), trust.

So Faith is the supporting foundation for things that you expect. Without faith you cannot trust. You cannot move on those things that you expect.

The second half there is that faith is the evidence of things not seen. Let's take a moment and look at what the word for faith is in this verse. It's the word:

G4102 πίστις pistis pis'-tis From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: - assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

My favorite translation for the word pistis is that word fidelity. It's being faithful, it's knowing the truth and sticking to it regardless of the evidence.

Faith is pulling up to a train track that wasn't there a month ago, you've never seen a train pull down this track before, you don't know if they've even opened this track yet. But, those lights start to blink and those arms come down and you still stop. You have faith that a train can be on those tracks and you move on hope, you move on experience, and stop.

Faith and hope are inseparable. Faith is useless without hope, it goes nowhere. Because just to believe something without action takes you nowhere. Hope can't be moved upon without faith. I can sit in a chair and my experience tells me that the chair will hold me, but it takes faith for me to believe it's going to hold me this time. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Why is that? Well it's because without faith there is no hope and without hope you can no longer follow and keep Gods commandments. Jesus said in John 14 that if we love Him that we will keep his commandments. So without faith you can't hope (You can't move on expectation or experience), and without hope, you can't love God. Because to love God is to keep his commandments, and you can't keep his commandments without hope and you can't have hope without faith.

You have to believe the promises of God without question, that's faith. You don't question the promises of God. You can go back and look in Hebrews 11 at a whole list of people that believed the promises of God without question. Then, because you believe, you can act on faith, which is having hope, and in that way you are able to keep His commandments which is loving God. Faith leads to hope, leads to love. Those three remain, and the greatest of them is love.

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

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