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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 102

The Gifts Part 7

Faith

We continue our discussion on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, with the gift of faith since it is third on Paul’s list in his letter to the Corinthians. No, these gifts were not itemized by Paul by order of importance, since all gifts which come from the hand of God are good and work together for the building up and the edification of the Body of Christ.

Paul does say that we ought to desire earnestly to prophesy, but he never implies or infers that the gift of prophesy is better than all the other gifts.

1 Corinthians 14:39, “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.”

Every gift of the Holy Spirit has a place and a purpose within the Congregation of God, every gift of the Holy Spirit has a place and a purpose within the household of faith and each one operates as the Holy Spirit sees fit, and as God wills.

Faith is a unique gift in that all the children of God can possess and must possess faith, we are even instructed to build ourselves up in our most holy faith, but it is also a gift of the Holy Spirit that can be poured out upon believers.

The word of God does an excellent job at defining faith, what it is, and how it has served the servants of God throughout the ages. It shows us that there is true power in faith, and that once we begin to build up our faith, once we begin to mature our faith, once we begin to grow our faith, we will begin to see the power and presence of God more thoroughly than ever before.

I realize this is a teaching on the gift of faith, but I would be remiss if I did not include the definition of faith as well, if only for those who are unaware of it.

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

So now that we know what faith is, or at least what the Bible defines it as being, the obvious question is what is the gift of faith, and how is it used within the Body of Christ.

Galatians 3:2-5, “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

I wanted to begin our discussion on the gift of faith with this scripture passage, because it would seem we are reliving the times of the Galatians wherein men who began in the Spirit are reverting back to the flesh, believing as Paul suggests that they are being made perfect by the flesh. I also wanted to include this scripture passage because it highlights the fact that the hearing of faith is what activates the gifts of the Holy Spirit within a congregation, working miracles among the brethren.

Today I want to discuss the gift of faith, that faith that comes from God, that faith that is pure and righteous, although there are two other kinds of faith that we could talk about. The two other kinds of faith I am referring to is of course futile faith, a fruitless and purposeless faith in the most general sense, as well as the natural faith that men have concerning certain outcomes if they take a particular course of action.

As far as true faith is concerned, it takes on three distinct aspects that the Bible speaks of, three ways in which faith works among believers, which are in reality three branches of the same three, or three works of the same gift.

The first aspect of true faith that the Bible speaks of is what Paul refers to in Ephesians as saving faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

What we readily understand from this passage in Ephesians is that both grace, and faith are gifts from God, and we obtained both faith and grace not of ourselves, but from Him. We have been saved by grace, through faith which comes from God as a gift that no man might boast, that no man might lay claim to that which God freely gives.

So what is saving faith? In essence, at its core, saving faith is the certainty that no one can free us from the shackles of sin, no one can free us from the prison of death, and no one can free us from the pit of despair but for Christ Jesus the Son of God.

Having saving faith is paramount for all believers, of such import that although Jude desired to write the brethren concerning their common salvation, he found it necessary to write and exhort them to contend earnestly for the faith because of those who had crept in unnoticed, those ungodly men who turn the grace of God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 3-4, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith in anyone or anything other than Jesus is futile faith, it is vain faith, it is empty faith, it is a faith that will produce no results, because it is not anchored in Christ. Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is saving faith, and this is a truth that we must contend for, and earnestly so, because those who have crept in unnoticed, those who attempt to turn the grace of God into licentiousness are more numerous than we first imagined.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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