How do we live the Christan life? The answer to this question was provided years ago in the book of Habakkuk 2v4, where the prophet reveals, “the righteous shall live by faith.” But how do we live by faith practically? The crucial component is the Gospel, whereby we are established in righteousness by faith!
Many people believe hearing the Gospel is a one-time event, but we need to keep on hearing the Good News, enabling us to walk confidently in His righteousness. The Gospel is the foundation of our faith. Gospel faith is specific, it’s not based on ourselves or situations but the faith, notice (the) definite article, points specifically to Jesus because He is the faithful One.
Friends, we have a living faith; it is not a one-time event but a continuous process where we keeping growing, maturing by trusting, and relying on Christ. We exercise the faith in everything we do, parenting, marriage, work, school, even remaining in rest.
People have many ideas of what the Gospel means, but it simply means Good News. What is the Good News? The Bible gives us the answer in the book of Acts13v38-39, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him, everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Friends, the Good News is our sins are forgiven, by no merit of our own but based on the finished work of Jesus, which takes faith, and this same faith that we used to receive salvation; we use every day.
As believers in Jesus, our lives are marked by the miraculous. Our position in Christ gives us access to all the resources of Heaven. Our part is simply believing in the finished work. Unfortunately, sometimes people twist the Gospel into a religious construct involving works to deserve the favor (grace) of God. But friends, grace is no longer grace if you must work for it. Grace is unmerited and undeserved favor; some may say God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Salvation cost us nothing, but it cost God everything, and it’s the Gospel message that keeps our eyes focused on the truth ~ the love of God for us.
It takes spiritual discernment to understand God's economy, which is vastly different from the natural. Where we see subtraction, the Lord sees multiplication, and where we see division, God is addition. In this life, we hear things like “you've got to do this or that to produce a result, or God helps those who help themselves.” It's challenging to bump against the waves of the world (opinions, philosophies, self-help), it is much easier to cave into their ways, but it isn't Biblical! It's counter-cultural to rest in the Lord and believe. It goes against everything in the natural to trust, but this is our life in Christ and what immense joy we have, in the Father who so loves us.
The Bible says Jesus paid it all, and we simply receive from His fullness. Now, this is not to say we don’t go to work; the apostle Paul explicitly penned, “For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone does not work, neither let him eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3v10. But as Christians, we work differently, from a position of rest. This notion of working to deserve God’s favor is from the flesh, which always has someone hankering after self. But beloved, we are accepted by God just as we are. He brings salvation. He is in charge of sanctification. He is the One who transforms us from the inside out. It is not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4v6), which produces lasting change. It’s not a work, but fruit.
Often it is hard for people to comprehend there is nothing for us to do except believe in Jesus; however, this is the grace of our Lord. Receive it. The Apostle Paul quoted the prophet Habakkuk in the book of Acts of a phenomenon we see today:
“Beware, therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:” Acts 13v40. “‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.” Acts 13v41, these words of Paul were taken from the prophet Habakkuk 1v5 “Look among the nations and watch— Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you.”
The Apostle Paul knew the Gospel is the Grace of our Lord Jesus. He also knew people might succumb to mixture (mixing works or the Law with God’s Grace), thereby missing the Gospel's utter simplicity. Beloved, it’s not based on us but based on Jesus. Living a life of faith is where we continue to rely on Jesus for everything, the large and the small, whether we are on the mountain top or the valley.
Something I’ve come to realize true humility defined is releasing our grip on life, letting go of our ideas, timelines, worldly aspirations ~ choosing to rest and rely solely on Jesus Christ. Maturity in Christ is becoming more dependent on Him, where He increases, and we decrease (John 3v30). As we press into Him and receive all, we need through His nail-pierced hands. The faith is having a good opinion of God and trusting Him with every outcome!
A few final thoughts, which I pray will bolster your faith. Consider the miracle of the loaves and fishes; in every Gospel account, we notice that the disciples gave their little to the Lord, and when they did, Jesus blessed it and gave them back more than enough to distribute to the people. This goes back to God’s economy, the disciples brought their little and placed it into His hands, and it became more than enough.
Beloved, may I submit this as an example of our lives of faith. We come to the Lord, placing our lives in His hands, and He receives them, blesses them, and then gives us the strength, power, and resources to help us as well as bless those around us. In our coming to Him, by faith ~ we are supernaturally supplied. The life of faith is that mustard seed Jesus speaks of in the scriptures.
Our faith isn't blind trust; it is directive, certain. We come to Him because He is faithful, capable, and willing to enter into our situations. You see, He wants to bless us more than we really know. He stands waiting for us to ”tag Him into” what is happening in our lives, but remember He is a Gentleman, not forcing His way. He delights in being invited into every aspect of our lives; if you haven’t, now is the time to invite Him.
Do you remember the story of the man whose son was filled with a demonic spirit, thrashing him about, and the disciples could not cast the demon out? When Jesus approached, the man begged Him to help his son:
“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9v23.
Often we think we need more faith, but I submit we only need the faith God has graced us with fixed in the right place; the One who is faithful in all things. Look at the words of the preceding verse:
“And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Mark 9v22.
“But if you can," we need to pause here because this is so incredibly important. Often this is preached as though the father did not have enough faith, and quite possibly that is so, but consider his words ~ it appears it is not a question of the man’s faith that his son would be healed rather faith in whether Jesus is willing to heal him.
Our Lord is so gracious that He gently redirects the man to place his faith in the One whom all things are possible and the One who is always faithful. Going back to Jesus’ statement:
“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9v23.
Jesus is the Him who believes. I am reminded nothing is possible with man, but all things are possible for God. Our faith must have a direction, and that direction is Christ! Isn’t that such a beautiful revelation? We may not be walking in the promises because we are so focused on the outcome rather than being enamored with the loveliness and beauty of our Savior. Let’s remain conscious of God’s love and kindness, as well as His authority and power.
Beloved, I cannot conclude without mentioning the importance of continuing to hear the word of Christ, which is in the Gospel. We are continually being saved through the Gospel's message, for it is where we come to understand righteousness is a gift. We must become established in God’s righteousness, which guards our hearts against the many snares in life.
If you haven’t heard the Gospel recently, let me encourage you to listen to Him, speak through His finished work today. In it, we experience the goodness of God and are enveloped in His love. We remember we are the righteousness of God in Christ, and given assurance, our position cannot be taken away. We are reminded we are sealed with the Spirit of promise given authority and power. The Gospel saves, and it provides hope. The same faith given to us to believe Jesus is the Son of God is the same faith we use to follow Christ daily. Each time we are washed by His Gospel, we are strengthened to stand against the darts of darkness. Let’s seize every opportunity to say yes to Him by immersing ourselves in His word.
Final word of meditation |
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”Romans 1v16-17.
Friends, as we leave 2020, let’s be intentional to have Christ's perspective and use spiritual discernment for 2021, flexing our faith, possessing our possessions, and walking in every promise of God, for He is faithful, Amen.
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” II Corinthians 1v20.
Until next time💕