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Faith and Repentance Basics
As I listen with pastors and preachers in the body of Christ, I have become to see that we minister to people many times on a level they have not yet reached. This is a very critical point when we start to look at the Sunday morning service. When we come to bible study or mid-week service we have a totally different group of people that we do on a Sunday morning. In the average Sunday morning worship service, if we can be real for just a moment, much of the terminology and Christian jargon is foreign to the ones that we are called to reach. We are there to save that which is lost, and a sinner is need of Salvation is is not going to know what we are saying if we exchange the simple word "Saved" or salvation for the theological term Soteriology. We are, as the say, not preaching to the choir, people that are there every Sunday and have matured in the faith.
We should never assume that just because a person has been in the church for a season it that we have no need to be simplistic. To be an effective minister we should still explain, as if to a child, what we mean when we say things like salvation, repentance, redemption and so on.
"Foundations of the Christian Faith"
After reading a chapter from "Foundations of the Christian Faith" By James Montgomery Boice I was moved to expound on his thoughts on this subject "Faith & Repentance". I would encourage all pastors to get this book, it is a very comprehensive and readable book of Theology.
"Faith and Repentance"
Thought many in the body of Christ have settled with viewing Salvation as a single event that takes place in the life of the believer, it is only the starting point of what I respectfully referred to as the "process."
Salvation is the God's point of entry and introduction. From that initial moment, the regeneration, or rebirthing process begins to take place.
The word rebirth is used to describe what happens when the life of God reanimates, quickens, and brings life to our spirit's that died because of the sin of Adam. - Apostle Wilson
With in the salvation process we have to without question look at the Faith, with its companions Grace and repentance.
Mistakes about Faith
In this book, Boice says that there are several mistakes that we make concerning faith.The first mistake that Boice addresses is that we look at faith subjectively.
This is is the faith of religious feelings divorced from the objective truth of God's Revelation"- James Boice
We see this a lot more in the church today than we have ever in history. What Boice means by subjective is we have people that "Feel" they are saved and have no substantial revelation of God given in this word. They firmly believe they are saved totally based on feeling.
Joh 5:39 KJVR Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. [Emphasis mine]
When we say feelings we are dealing with the carnal, soulish or fleshy part of man. This verse teaches us that if we are to have the eternal life that comes from knowing God we have to search it out in the Word of God.
Joh 1:1 KJVR In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word in this verse is the Greek word Logos. The Logos was the thought, intent and plan in the mind of God to bring a fallen people back to him. What was or who was the plan? If we read the verse we can see "the Word (Thought, intent & Plan) was God, God coming in a body!
Joh 1:14 KJVR And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
God's plan was that he would become incarnate, embodied in flesh, born of a virgin, Emanuel God with us.
Not a Feeling
Just by looking at this brief theological break down of the "The Word of God" we can see that we can not possibly know God simply based on a feeling. Though there will be many times we will feel God, you can not know God with your feelings. We have to teach the people of God that to know our father we have to use the prescribed biblical method of communion.
Joh 4:24 KJVR God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
If we are going to worship God who is a spirit, the verse says that we have to worship or communion, were we get the word communicate, with him with our spirits. Flesh can not communion with God.
Worship in this verse comes from the Greek word pros-koo-neh'-o, which literal meaning is to Kiss. When our spirit enters true heartfelt worship, we literally kiss the Spirit of God.
1Co 1:29 KJVR That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Many quote this verse and say, "no flesh shall glory". If we say, "Shall Glory" it somewhat changes the meeting. What this verse is saying is that when we are in the presence of God our flesh should not be the means of giving or receiving glory. The kiss that we give to God is our spirit communing with His.
(Pro 27:6) Faithful are the wounds of a friend; bur the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
We commune with other people with our body and soul, which is the seat of our emotions and feelings. However, God causes the rebirth in our spirit man so that we can commune with Him and Him only. This is what makes the occults and false religions so dangerous. They open your spirit to demonic forces. When Adam sinned his spirit died and brought the curse of a dead spirit upon all, because all or born in sin, or with the sin nature.
They Wish it to be True
Boice says that the second common substitute that we use for true saving faith is credulity. Boice says, "Credulity is the attitude of people who will accept something as true apart from evidence simply because they earnestly wish it to be true."
In a since this is faith, but not what we could call bible faith. When we speak of faith in God it deals with more than just believing something to be true. What you believe about God has to be based on what God has said about himself. An example is when people are in a sinful situation and will argue you down, "That God understands."
1Pe 1:16 KJVR Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
I know this will not set well with the super spiritual, but God is very narrow minded when it comes to his people. No matter what anyone wants to believe about God, before you die if you desire to make it into the kingdom, you have to know what God says about Himself.
God commands us to live out what He is, "be ye holy; for I am holy." This is not calling for perfection in the flesh, but a total submission of spirit to the will of God in every aspect of life.
Credulity is an attitude that leaves no room for the will or the commands of God. This is without question a form of self-righteousness.
Eze 33:13; KJVR When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
At the point that we began to trust in what we believe over what the Word of God says weather knowingly or out of ignorance, we move into self-righteousness. The same path that Adam and Eve took brought the curse on mankind.
The second part of this problem we see is when Christians sin they think the good that they have done in the past will be enough to cover what they are doing and that God will over look it. However, Eze 33: 16 says that when a person turns from the righteousness of God to "his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
Even after reading this there would be some that would still say, "I just don't believe God is like that." Look what it says in this same chapter.
Eze 33:20 KJVR Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.
I Love the message bibles translation of this verse.
Eze 33:20 MSG "'Still, you keep on saying, "The Master's way isn't fair." We'll see, Israel. I'll decide on each of you exactly according to how you live."
No matter what a person believes, God is going to judge us "exactly according to how you live."
Heb 12:14 KJVR Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Boice says the "third substitute for true faith is optimism, positive mental attitude which is to cause the things believed in to happen."
This is what I feel many churches were thinking during the faith movement. We started grabbing verse of scriptures and promise of the word, yet making the true object of the Christian faith, God, irrelevant. Again, this is a form of self-reliance and self-righteousness. It is not enough to trust the promise. We have to have faith in the one that issued the promise.
Jer 1:12 KJVR Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
Phi 1:6 KJVR Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:,B.
Rom 4:21 KJVR And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
No matter what promise you have, if the one that proclaimed the promise is not faithful you have nothing. Thank God, that he is a faithful God! Not only is he a faithful God by looking at the verses above we can see he is a God that is able to perform that which he has promised.
We need to know the promises of God and know how to apply them in every area of our lives. However, it is equally important that we have a relationship with the one that spoke forth the promises.
We have to have knowledge of the promises that are written in the bible, but our faith has to be in God not the bible.
By seeing & understanding the mistakes about faith we can see that true life changing faith is not based on a person's attitude or feelings. When all is said and done biblical faith is our trust in the trustworthy God, who is able & ready to perform in your life.
(c) 2005 Copyrights WilsonMedia
Bishop Wilson is the presiding prelate and founder of Unity Fellowship Alliance Int. The Unity Fellowship Alliance International will serve as a place of Fellowship, Training,for not only Christians, but leaders around the world.
Bishop Wilson is author, Motivational Speaker, Christian Life Coach, and Personal Mentor.
Sign Up for Tele Seminars with M. Christopher Wilson, @ http://www.freedom.ne1.net
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