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Devotionals

10 Insights Into the Mystery of Faith

There are two primary definitions assigned to the word faith. First, our faith can be the sum of religious principles on which we base our lives; second, it can be the act of believing in God and trusting His promises.

The word household can mean either a family or all those residing in the same home. As born-again believers, we are part of the same family, dwelling under the same covering of the redemptive love of God. Our privilege is to experience life together with hearts intertwined in covenant relationship. The glue that holds us together is not some denominational affiliation, but our mutual faith in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Strangely the word faith only appears twice in the Old Testament, but over 240 times in the New Testament—so it is definitely an emphasis in this era. There is much to be learned about this spiritual "substance" Paul described as a "mystery" (Heb. 11:1; 1 Tim. 3:9).

The following 10 insights are some of the most important:

1. Faith is a gift from God – Ephesians 2:8 declares, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God." A gift is not something earned; it is given freely as an expression of love. God so loved us that He gave us the capacity to believe. The Scriptures title Jesus "the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2). He initiates faith within our hearts and then continues growing and developing that faith within us for the remainder of our lives.

2. Faith is allocated by God – Every child of God is granted a "measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3). In other words, in His omniscience, God anticipates all that His offspring will be called to do in the kingdom, and all the battles and challenges they will face in life. In advance He assigns enough faith to each one of us that we might succeed in every arena. Because of this, it is "not of works, so that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:9).

3. Faith is awakened by the Word of God: – "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). As we speak the "word of faith," confessing with our lips that Jesus rose from the dead, we are saved (Rom. 10:8).

4. Faith empowers us to receive the Spirit of God – We "receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14). Then, after we are begotten of the Word and born of the Spirit, we move through life speaking "the word of faith," aided by the "Spirit of faith" (a title for the Holy Spirit), thus empowered to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God (2 Cor. 4:13).

5. Faith makes us righteous in the sight of God – Christians are "justified by faith" (Rom. 5:1). To be justified means to be legally acquitted of all guilt, as if we never sinned, and recognized as righteous in the sight of God. Contrary to all other religions, the miracle of Christianity is that "with the heart, one believes unto righteousness" (Rom. 10:10).

6. Faith is a spiritual weapon – Paul exhorted Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith" and to "lay hold on eternal life" (1 Tim. 6:12). There are so many adversaries on this journey from time to eternity, within and without. We war against literal powers of darkness, as well as dark attitudes and thoughts that churn within our own hearts. One way we fight is by adamantly believing and confessing God's Word. Hebrews 11:33 reveals that "through faith" we obtain "promises."

7. Faith grants ultimate victory – 1 John 5:4 says that "whoever is born of God overcomes the world, and the victory that overcomes the world is our faith." There is nothing that this world will throw at us that faith cannot overpower, even the worst thing—death. If faith can overcome the most grievous adversary, it can certainly empower us to rise above lesser problems. No wonder the Scripture uses the past tense in declaring that, "you have overcome the evil one" (1 John 2:14). It is as good as done.

8. Faith activates resurrection power – At the grave site of Lazarus, Jesus asserted, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). When we believe that the Father raised the Son of God from the dead, our souls are saved (Rom. 10:8–10), but then we go on to believe God will raise us from the grave also to live forever in His presence.

9. Faith will bring us to perfection eternally – Ephesians 4:11–13 reveals that the five-fold ministry (pastors, evangelists, teachers, apostles, and prophets) exists to build up the body of Christ "until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." The New King James says, "to a perfect man." So it is faith that will bring the entire body of Christ to perfection, completion and fullness and cause us to finally emerge in the full image of the firstborn Son.

10. Faith without works is dead – James declared that "faith without works is dead," or non-existent (James 2:26). Works will automatically result from real faith, and they indicate its existence. As General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army explained, "Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again—until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other."

Declare Who You Are in Christ

"I declare that I am a member of the household of faith! Knowing that faith pleases God, I have determined to respond to the challenges of life with unwavering trust in God's Word. Because I believe in the name of the Lord, His crucifixion and resurrection, I already have overcome the world. I refuse to stagger at the promise of God through unbelief, so that my faith might result in "praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:7)—when the author and the finisher of my faith returns in all His glory. In Jesus's name, amen!

Excerpted from Mike Shreve's book, Who Am I?: Dynamic Delcarations of Who You Are in Christ (Charisma House, 2016). You can purchase the book by clicking here. {eoa)

Mike Shreve was saved in 1970 during the Jesus movement era. He was a teacher of yoga at four Florida universities until an encounter with Jesus changed everything. His conversion story is featured in several books: In Search of the True Light (a comparison of over twenty religions), Truth Seekers (co-written with Sid Roth), and a mini-book called The Highest Adventure: Encountering God (offered as a free download on his websites). Shortly after receiving salvation, Shreve began traveling evangelistically, preaching in hundreds of churches and conducting large open air crusades in various nations, such as India, Costa Rica, Liberia and Nigeria. He and his wife, Elizabeth, presently pastor an interdenominational church in Cleveland, Tennessee, called The Sanctuary.

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