Monday, December 13, 2010

Meditations: Live By Faith

A good students knows that when the teacher repeats something, it will probably appear on an upcoming test. When God says anything, we ought to sit up and take notice, but when God repeats something, or says something a third time, we'd better pay attention!

Hebrews 10:35-39 - Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."

Habakkuk 2:4 - Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

I'm sure we all want to be counted among the righteous. Psalm 11:7 - "For the LORD is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face." To be righteous, we have to live by faith. A quick look through the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11 gives us many examples of the righteous and faithful:
  • vs. 4 - By faith Abel...
  • vs. 5 - By faith Enoch...
  • vs. 7 - By faith Noah...
  • vs. 8 - By faith Abraham...
  • vs. 11 - By faith Sarah...
And the list continues as the Hebrew writer lists more great heroes of faith from the Old Testament.

But just how do we LIVE by faith? Living by faith is more than just a vague set of beliefs or moral code that we attempt to follow. Living by faith is an active pursuit. The author of Hebrews further describes our efforts in 12:1-2 and 12-15:
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...

Therefore, strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord; looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
We are given a wonderful visual aid here to assist us in our understanding. Even those as nonathletic as I am can mentally picture this race... this is not a sprint, it is a marathon, maybe even a cross-country style marathon where we come across muck and mire, hurdles and obstacles. But if we keep our eyes ahead, we can see Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith". He ran the very same race, and after paying the ultimate sacrifice, he sits crowned in glory at the right hand of God, cheering us on as we race to the finish. There is no one winner in this race, rather everyone who finishes will receive the reward. But how do we get there?

Matthew 7:13-14 - "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

Go the way of Wisdom: Proverbs 8:20 - "I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice."

And just how do we live by faith?
  • vs. 1 - lay aside every weight and sin
  • vs. 1 - run with endurance
  • vs. 2 - keep your eyes on Jesus
  • vs. 12 - strengthen yourself, don't drag along behind! (re: "Roll the Gospel Chariot")
  • vs. 13 - make straight paths for your feet
  • vs. 14 - pursue peace and holiness
  • vs. 15 - look carefully - avoid bitterness and trouble, don't let yourself be defiled
See how much of this list uses active verbs - run, strengthen, make straight, pursue... We cannot be casual, remember this is a race!

Hebrews 10:35-39 - Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

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