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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Friday, September 28, 2007
The just shall live by faith? What is faith??
Even if you are not an evangelical Christian, you may have heard the quote taken from the second chapter of a book called Habakkuk (in the Old Testament of the bible) that says, "The just shall live by faith".

The passage is a little difficult to understand if one doesn't really know what the words "just", "live" and "faith" are talking about. Now, I intentionally say "doesn't know what the words are talking about" as opposed to "doesn't know what the words mean because by now if you are able to read this you surely have defined these words long ago. Yet it is what the words are talking that interests me in this post.

The just for starters does not imply that there are people on the earth who practice some higher moral ethic and are therefore regarded as just. The "live" does not refer to the common day moving about without dying, and the faith does not simply refer to believing a thing to be true. Which is not to say, as some might imagine, that I am about to argue that the text means something entirely foreign to the words found in it - no! I do not say that. But rather that these words are pulled together to make spiritual as opposed to natural points, and though they could not have been knit together any clearer, yet spiritual truth is not discerned because we have mighty intellects, but because we ourselves are spiritual who are in Christ.

I tend to be long winded about these sort of things, but I am opting for an abruptness this morning due to uncontrollable constraints on my time. For that reason I may not be as clear as I should like - but I will accept that as a possibility and forge on.

The "just" refers to those who shall live through the judgment, in the same way "live" refers to being in full possession of one's life on the other side of judgment (justice). Faith refers to the path through that judgment - since we pass through judgment by faith.

Yet our intellect sometimes spins its wheels here. What is faith? How do I bottle it? I want more of it, what do I do???

First and foremost, let's talk about what happens when you go about doing religious stuff without faith. Even a cursory skimming of Paul's epistle to the churches in Galatia provides the answer: you tend to try and build a bridge to God by your own effort. -That- is what faithlessness looks like. It isn't (necessarily) that you run away from the church and do as much evil as you can, nor is it (necessarily) sitting with your knees tucked up rocking back and forth while weeping in the cellar because you just can't make yourself believe... It can be those things, but more often than any other way, I believe faithlessness (doubt) plays itself out practically in empty religious activity.

I won't paint a picture about what empty religious activity is - I will let God's spirit do that. You who are reading will know what is revealed to you, if this teaching is indeed a spiritually true thing.

I mention what faithlessness looks like to give a more clear description of faith. We tend to think of faith as "believing" in some vague sense, and when we want more faith, we tend to think we need to "believe" more acutely or perhaps with more "perspiration". Yet let me try in one sentence to describe faith to you, and let the Spirit be glorified if you can see it:

Faith is trusting that no matter what your walk looks like, GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH IT TO THE OTHER SIDE OF JUDGMENT.

That is all there is to it.

Really, that is the heart of faith. It is trusting that God is going to see you through to the other side. It is the heart of the gospel, because it begins and ends with Christ. It cannot be apprehended by effort, but can only come by hearing the truth in the Spirit.

The heart that wonders how many commandments it must keep in order to be certain of salvation does not understand grace - it does not understand faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen. It is -not- the evidence you find in your works, it is not a substance that can be examined as such, it is a resolve in your heart that contrary to what your flesh might imagine - God is going to finish in you what He has started.

Period.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 9:12 AM  
19 Comments:
  • At 10:17 AM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Brevity is good.

    The Spirit moved the tears from my heart to my eyes in reading this. I needed this. Thank you.

    I am an impatient woman, and I want Him to change me now. I must wait on Him and trust.

    I'm out of words. Except for thank you.

    You've driven me to much-needed prayer with this.

     
  • At 11:15 AM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Prayer is always good.

    We are, all of us, impatient. That is why Hebrews 6:3 is so profoundly helpful: and this we will do if God permits.

    What will we do? What is it that "we" will do that only -if- God permits??

    Answer: become mature believers.

    Wah??

    That's what the text says.

    huh?

    That's what the text says.

    We do not progress on to maturity unless/until God allows it, and we only progress as far as God allows it.

    Faith is trusting that our sanctification is exactly where God would have it be, no more, and no less. It is not an excuse for sin by any means, but we must remember that God "perfects" us (makes us mature) through suffering. It isn't always physical suffering, but more often than not it is this one struggle: I want the flesh to be sanctified right now, I expect it to be sanctified right now - and secretly, I think God will reject me if it isn't sanctified right now. That is the core religious motivation of unbelief - it sincerely wants to be sanctified, but not because it trusts God, but rather because it does not trust God and wants to be certain that the deal is secure.

    Oh, it is slippery as oil but it is there none the less - and I am speaking of my own heart and if what I find there is found in yours or any other then know that these things are common to us all - for in us no good thing dwells. The struggle of faith - the "good" fight, is trusting that God will really do it.

    Doubt is what fuels my soul to pursue bridge building. Doubt drives me to sanctify myself because I am trying to make my call and election -sure- by works and not by faith. I try and build the house myself as fast as possible, because if I don't, I secretly believe that God may not do it.

    I shine this light on my own struggles because I know that I am not alone in these things, but that they are common to all who hunger and thirst for righteousness. But the lesson is that we will be filled, and not that we fill ourselves. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit in that when the spirit shows us that God will provide and we trust that he will - we can hardly be impatient knowing that God will send what is needed the very moment it is needed. Can you imagine how silly it would have been had the fire fallen from the sky while Elijah was still pouring water on the sacrifice? God sends all things on time, every time.

    I am rambling on now. So I will just shut up.

     
  • At 2:45 PM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    You have no idea (or maybe you do) how needed that rambling is.

    I have no words to express all I'm going through internally on this. And you're right about it all.

    not because it trusts God, but rather because it does not trust God and wants to be certain that the deal is secure.

    I secretly believe that God may not do it.

    Yes, to my shame, yes. Lord, help my unbelief. I am so afraid sometimes because of my own wretchedness and how it doesn't just "go away" when I pray that He deliver me from it. When I envision myself holding on to Him as I pray, clutching with my fingers onto His robe, and clinging on for dear life begging Him that He won't abandon me to myself.

    And then thoughts return to me and I am ... well, despairing. For my sinfulness. Much of which I find linked to the current situation in which my "suffering" is found. But the blame for my thoughts is only myself. I can blame no one but myself for my dark heart and thoughts.

    The encouragement in knowing that God will complete His good work in me in His own time is received with gratitude.

    And you're right about the secret thoughts - because I know my unworthiness, I know my lack, I know my sin and my shame. I beg His forgiveness, and I don't want them to return. It's nothing I do in action per se, but the darkness of the heart is akin to the actual act, as Jesus noted. And I hate it.

    I believe the Lord is breaking me - slowly - and in this, I have hope. Because I trust His hand and I don't trust my own.

     
  • At 3:20 PM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, I am far more concerned over a Christian who does not have this struggle, than one who does.

    Faith comes at the -expense- of the flesh and its wiles. It is a stumbling block to say this is the work of God - believe on Him whom God has sent. We go, "huh?" - but that is the only answer. We have our hearts cleansed by faith, our walk is by faith, all things come by accepting that God has done it all already.


    Walter Marshall was a puritan minister who wrote a book called "the Gospel Mystery of Sanctification." It is available online at the linked address, and although it is not the easiest read in the world, it may be something you might appreciate.

    Let me know.

    Dan
    <><

     
  • At 3:44 PM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    When I saw another comment from you I was a bit concerned - thinking I'm going to need another box of tissues.

    The link is edifying and presents the information in a way I can grasp. At least so far in the first two chapters. Haven't read the rest yet. I'm grateful that it's available on-line for immediate (and affordable) reading.

    I appreciate Marshall's title as well; sanctification is a mysterious reality. It is sometimes frighteningly painful - and yet more frightening not to go through it at all.

    I hadn't really considered it sanctification, due to my dwelling on the wretchedness of my thoughts and why they recur, and yet.. there's something else going on here. Because I can't see where the Lord's going with this, perhaps I failed to keep my eyes on Him and looked instead to the water where I'm sinking.

    I do appreciate your providing that link.

    No need to stone Mark - yet.
    :-)

     
  • At 3:50 PM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    if there is no need to stone Mark, that means that you are definitely "crashing". . . .


    I want you to come out of this without a crash, then I can stone Mark good and proper. ;^)

     
  • At 7:00 AM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Daniel,
    I appreciate this post a lot. I appreciate your definition of faith. That is precisely how I see it. It is good to rest in the tetellesti of Christ.

    Susan,
    I prayed for you on my walk this morning. I want you to know that your transparency elicited prayer through the Spirit. God bless you.

     
  • At 9:35 AM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Thank you, Rose.

    What is telellesti?

     
  • At 12:49 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said…

    Apart from the quotation from Phillipians at the end, this is good stuff.

     
  • At 12:56 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Rose~ said…

    It is the Greek word that would be used if one's debt to society - a criminal's - were paid. "Paid in full" is a way it could be stated, I think. It is the cry of Christ from the cross when He died: "It is finished."

     
  • At 12:57 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Rose~ said…

    "It is finished!"

    (I forgot the exclamation point)

    It means a lot to me.

     
  • At 3:28 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Rose,

    Interesting. Thank you.

    I see in the gospels the only place where "It is finished:" appears is in the book of John (19:30), and there the word is τελέω
    teleō
    From G5056; to end, that is, complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt): - accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform.

    I wonder how the word has since morphed to telellesti?

    Just FYI, I performed a google search prior to asking you and had difficulty finding the answer, although I saw references to it, no explanations.

    Thanks again for your prayers this morning.

     
  • At 7:08 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    If Susan and Daniel want to stone me then I'm worried about what Rose and Matthew might want to do... I can't even bring myself to imagine that.

    Tough crowd here.

     
  • At 8:38 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, tetelestai is just an inflected form of teleo. Tetelestai is the perfect passive indicative third person singular form of the verb "teleo", and it appears in John 19:28 as well as 19:30 in exactly the same tense.

     
  • At 8:41 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Mark, we aren't going to stone you "to death" that would be cruel. No, we are just going to stone you a little, maybe just to you cry. ;-)

     
  • At 9:07 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    yikes!

     
  • At 9:21 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Daniel,
    All that and you spelled it right, too! ;~)

     
  • At 8:57 AM, September 30, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Thanks, Daniel.

    Mark, I'm just teasin'. I didn't get the joke in the first place, but it sounded like too much fun not to play along. You know I could never stone you; I appreciate your heart toward me as a brother.

    I've been praying and thinking quite a bit since Friday night. I'm beginning to see that sanctification is not unlike repentance in that they are both things that the Lord must do or grant - in His time. To His glory and pleasure.

    I had recently been wondering why we are told to repent in Scripture if it is something the Lord grants. When I asked a Bible study teacher at church last Sunday this question, he replied that it is like unto the gospel message. We are told to preach it, but it is the Spirit who uses it as He will to save whom He will.

    So I continue to pray for the Lord's hand on me - to deliver me from thoughts that plague me. They are not separate from the "suffering" of my situation in which I pray God sanctifies me. I suppose I can only pray and cry and plead and am at His mercy. I wish I knew why it takes so long - if His hand will change me at all.

    Daniel, I'm reading the Gospel Mystery of Sanctification very slowly. I started again in chapter one and am trying to read a chapter a day. (Toddler underfoot slows things down.) I want to absorb it well, not read over it quickly. There's a lot to it.

    Friday night, my daughter and I were home, and I was sitting at the computer reading when she told one of her stuffed animals that she was going to sing it a song. She began, "Father, let us believe..." I have no idea where this came from in her. She continued for a few seconds, then tricycled around the house singing it before disappearing into another mode of play. Her dad wasn't even home, and she calls him Daddy. When we pray, we haven't said Father to her; we say God. So it was really a bizarre moment. (And sweet - because she has problems with pronunciation, and it came out as "Fada - wet us beweev.") Later in the evening, she did the same thing again, only it was something about Father, make us Truth or something like that. Again, I stopped what I was doing and just watched her. She wasn't looking at me, but her toys. I'm not sure what the verb was in the second one, but Fada and Twoot (truth) were in there.

     
  • At 7:26 AM, October 01, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, in the OT if a man prophesied and what he prophesied did not come true, that identified him as a false prophet, and the instruction to stone such a one to death is the heart of the joke. Mark "prophesied" that you would indeed crash, and I said that if you don't crash we will have to stone Mark for asserting a thing that wasn't certain.

    When my youngest daughter (she's four) plays with, well, ... toothbrushes (she pretends they are people for some reason?), they always talk like the people in the princess videos we rent for the girls (they love anything with princesses in them), which is to say that although my own children hear me refer to our heavenly father as such, they also speak in princess language when playing with toothbrushes - "oh father, whatever will we do?" My own kids call me Dad, but when the girls play the father is always referred to as "father" for some reason. I wonder if my own children think of me as "dad" and keep that separate from every pretend "dad" they make up for their games - since it seems pretend dads are never called daddy, but always "father" - at least in my house, and possibly because that's the way they do it in kids shows?

    That's what I think of when I hear about your little one. It sounds like my own children.

     
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