Just Living!

Some of my fondest memories, are of driving from one cow pasture to another, or from one farm or ranch to another with my grandfather and a car full of boys, my cousins. Wherever we were going, it seems we were always singing. God had blessed all of us boys with good voices and a natural aptitude for harmony. However that was not the case for our grandfather. My grandfather, R. H. Marlin, could not carry a tune in an oil tanker, but he loved to sing and did so at the top of his lungs. Some of his favorite hymns were; “Heaven Came down,” “When the Roll Is Called up Yonder,” and “Living by Faith.” As I consider his life, and the lessons I learned from it, I believe these three hymns sum it up pretty well. Having accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, heaven had come down to fill his soul; and he knew because of this, that when the roll is called, his name will be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But, of real significance to me, is the fact that he truly lived his life by faith. If I close my eyes and let my mind drift back, even now I can see the index finger of his right hand keeping time as his craggy voice sang;

I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know rules o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

I’m Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arms,
I’m living by faith and I feel no alarm.                 Wells and Winsett 1918

Living by faith is; “Just Living.”

Now over the next few paragraphs I’d like to expand on that statement. But first let me say, I love words, or more to the point semantics, and so as we expand on the statement; “just living,” I hope we will find in it, two meanings as it relates to faith in the daily life of a Christian.

What is faith?

In Hebrews 11:1 we find this statement written; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So faith is based on substance and evidence and not on emotion. Faith is acting on what you believe to be true, not what you feel to be true. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we find written; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” So then, walking or living by faith is the opposite of trusting what we see, hear, or feel (physically or emotionally). True faith, is to express belief in God who gives us faith (Romans 12:3), in Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and His Holy Spirit who keeps us in faith (2 Timothy 1: 13-14).

Faith is the pathway God has set before us, to bring us salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy and love for us, we receive faith from Him in the form of a gift. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)

The fact that we are justified in the sight of God by the faith which He gives us, is explained by the apostle Paul in Romans 5:1-2; “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And in his letter to the Galatians; “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)

Because we have been gifted with faith by God, it should be clear that we can do nothing to earn either grace or faith, that we have received them because of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Only by faith in Christ can we be made righteous (Romans 5:19; Galatians 2:16) and John wrote in his gospel; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). True faith in Jesus Christ involves more than just believing in His existence, it is believing that His atoning work on the cross is sufficient payment for our sin debt.

Positionally, the risen Christ Jesus is our Savior, and therefore is the object of our faith as we develop a personal relationship with Him. We are brought to faith through the work of the Holy Spirit who acts on behalf of Christ. He originates the process of faith in us by convicting us of our sins (John 16:7-10), and draws us to the Savior regenerating our unbelieving hearts. If you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ, then positionally you are in Christ, and if you are in Christ, then you have been given the gift of faith by God. You have been saved by faith.

The Bible, God’s Word, has been given to us as the instrument of our faith. It is the tool which God uses to establish, build, and strengthen our faith and within its pages we find everything which “pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1-3). Paul wrote to the church at Rome; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to convict man of sin and bring them to faith in Christ (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18). In the parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15) Jesus compares the Word of God to a seed which germinates into faith. And the psalmist writes that the Word is a lamp and light to keep him on the path of righteousness (Psalm 119:115).

Living by faith

Three times in the New Testament (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38) we find this phrase from Habakkuk 2:4 quoted; “the just shall live by faith.” Habakkuk is making the point that only man who is just in the sight of God, can and will live by faith. The three New Testament passages are repeating the same thought. So who are the just? They are those who have been made righteous by the faith which God has given them in Christ Jesus, they have been justified by God through faith (Romans 1:12; Romans 3:28; Romans 5:1, 19; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11, 24).

Living by faith is what Christian life is really all about, placing our complete trust in God to supply and meet our every need. Truly living by faith will take our lives out of the realm of the ordinary world into the realm of the extraordinary, supernatural world.

At one point the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, but Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, they could tell a sycamore tree to replant itself into the sea and it would obey, or they could tell a mountain to move from one place to another and it would (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:5-6). The lesson wasn’t that they needed more faith, but that they needed to exercise the faith which they already had. If they would do so their faith would grow.

Living by faith moves beyond merely believing in God, to having complete trust in Him to accomplish everything He has promised in our lives. This faith is essential for the Christian life, for without it we cannot please Him and certainly won’t receive His promised rewards (Hebrews 11:6). He promised if we ask we will receive (Matthew 7:7; John 14:14), and He tells us to ask in faith believing without fear (James 1:6).

Living by faith is standing on God’s honor and integrity, and acting on His promises to us, learning to trust Him in every part of our life. Living by faith involves believing that absolutely every bit of God’s Word is truth, and that in it we find everything we need for life, knowing that God has given it to us for that reason.

Living by faith is a lifelong process of spiritual growth and sanctification, which draws us ever closer to God the Father through our relationship with Jesus Christ, empowered by His Holy Spirit. God desires each of us to be living a life of faith, to be in that process, and that can happen when we quit doubting Him and trusting in ourselves. Imagine how much might be accomplished for the cause of Christ in these last days if we would simply trust God, live by faith, and let Him live through us.

How do we accomplish this?

Read the Word! Study it! Memorize it! Pray over it! Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding and teach you the precepts found within it!

Pray for wisdom! Pray for boldness to share the Word! Pray for God to show you His Will for your life! Pray for Him to give you strength to accomplish it!

Be a disciple, find someone who is living by faith and ask them to disciple you! Learn to disciple others yourself! Get involved in a local church which is teaching the Word of God and the Word of God only! Surround yourself with friends who also desire to live by faith!

Living by faith is not for the faint hearted or those weak in character, but it is for those who realize that strength and character come from God, and that living by faith, is living in complete dependence upon God. Living by faith is something that only can be accomplished with the strength and power of God in your life, surrendering your will to His Will. Living by faith is truly life in Christ, and for the Christian, it really is; “just living.”

Just living = having been justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus!

Just living = what the normal life of a Christian is, when he is Living by Faith!

I’m Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arms,
I’m living by faith and I feel no alarm.

Yes grandpa, I was paying attention.

Anti-Semitism, by any other name…

It is still anti-Semitism, whether you call it; Supersessionism, Replacement Theology, Liberation Theology, or the BDS movement, it is still the unadulterated hatred of the Jewish people because of their race. Anyone who embraces any theology or position that denies Israel’s right of possession of the land which their Nation State now occupies, is denying a literal translation of the Bible, which is frankly a denial of its veracity, and places them outside of a position of true faith in Jesus Christ who is in fact the Word.

Unfortunately these false teachings, false doctrines, and patently unscriptural theologies have plagued the Jews through the “church” for 1900 years. By allegorizing, spiritualizing, and otherwise denying a literal translation of the Scripture, the proponents of this doctrinal error have throughout history promoted anti-Semitism which led to Jewish persecution and extermination from the ghettos in Eastern Europe, to the Spanish Inquisition, and to the Holocaust of World War II.

It is essential that True Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, approach the Word of God with a clear understanding that God breathed His infallible Truth to the writers of the Old and New Testaments (2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 1:19-21), and in doing so has given us the mind of Christ (John 1:1-17, 1 Corinthians 2:16). When Peter teaches in his second epistle that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” he is telling us to read the Bible literally, interpret the Bible literally, and if we will simply do this we can avoid doctrinal error.

In the book of Genesis 17:7-8 we find God’s promise to Abraham. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants (Israel) after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” A covenant is a promise, and this promise God made Abraham was not conditional, it is clear in this passage that the covenant is everlasting, that means it will never be canceled.

This passage, in and of itself, is all the evidence we need as Christians that we (the Church) do not replace Israel in God’s plan. God does not change His mind, and He certainly is not a liar. In Leviticus 26:44-45 God says; “Yet for all that, when they (Israel) are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.’” In Psalm 105:7-12 we find these words written; “He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance, when they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it.” Again, God’s promise to Israel is “as an everlasting covenant” and “He remembers His covenant forever.”

For anyone to deny the eternal covenant or promise that God made with Israel you have to ignore the Holy Spirit inspired words of the apostle Paul in the book of Romans. Romans 11:1-2 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” And little further down in the passage he writes; “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable“ Romans 11:29. The plain sense understanding of the Scripture is this, the reason that God has not cast away His people (Israel) is that God’s gifts and calling are never rescinded. God does not take back His gifts, He does not break His promises, His word is truth. The nation of Israel is mentioned 71 times in the New Testament and never is represented as the church.

In Ezekiel 37:11-14 we find the Dry Bones Prophecy which is a prophecy about the restoration of Israel at the end of the age. It says; Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’” God clearly says the Jews will be “my people” after the nation is restored.

In the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we find from Revelation 4:2 through chapter 19:3 the future record of God dealing with the nation of Israel and punishing the nations for their persecution of Israel and rejection of God. God is not through with Israel, and the teaching that the Church has permanently replaced Israel as God’s people is a false doctrine. I could write volumes and quote much more Scripture as proof that God’s promise to Israel is eternal, but unless one’s mind is truly open to the Word of God they are going to continue to wallow in the error of the false doctrine which spawns anti-Semitism.

This week it was announced that the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.) has joined the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement and approved divestment from 3 US companies (Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions) doing business in Israel. The stated goal of the BDS movement is to delegitimize the State of Israel and even dehumanize the Jewish people. This movement calls into question Israel’s right to exist and seeks to make them a pariah state. While I view this news as tragic, I am not surprised because they long ago embraced Replacement Theology. So the apostate Presbyterian Church joins the ranks of those who accuse Israel of human rights violations while ignoring the fact that it is the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors who kidnap, torture, abuse, attack, and bomb Israel as they vocalize a desire to wipe her off of the map. This is anti-Semitism in its basest form and in my opinion anyone who is a member of this denomination and does not leave it and denounce this apostasy, in truth has no relationship with Jesus Christ.

The BDS movement is anti-Semitic at its core demonstrating a hatred for the Jews by singling out the nation-state of Israel for supposed human rights violations while ignoring human rights violations documented in other nations, especially those of her Islamic neighbors. The BDS movement has no real desire to help the Arab citizens of Israel or those living in the territories administrated by Israel, but instead desires the destruction of the Jewish state through economic and social warfare. Make no mistake, the anti-Semitic BDS movement isn’t preaching peace but rather hatred. The fact that this movement is growing in intensity in the US and being embraced by so-called “christian” denominations is simply more evidence that this nation and much of its population has turned its back on God.

The knowledge that our government has abandoned Israel and is increasingly persecuting True Christians is telling proof that the US is in desperate need of a spiritual revival. As apostasy grows by leaps and bounds in the “church” which has also turned its back on Israel and Israel’s God, those of us in the True Church must be willing to stand together and with Israel. The Rapture is imminent, the End Times are upon us and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome