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.

Without Excuse

As I understand it, God sends His wrath from heaven against sinful people because He created them with the ability to know the truth, but they suppress the truth. People have known about Him and His power since He created everything so those who suppress the truth are really without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20).

Consider those who lived in Judah during Old Testament Times. About 140 years before it happened, God told the Jews they would be taken to Babylon (Mic. 4:10). About 100 years before it happened, God told King Hezekiah Judah’s treasures would be taken to Babylon (Isa. 39:1-6). About 35 years before it happened, God told Huldah the judgment of God would fall on Judah (II Chron. 34:22-28). About 20 years before it happened, God told Habakkuk Babylon would destroy Judah (Hab. 1:5-11). And shortly before it happened, God told Judah Babylon would destroy them because they had ignored His words (Jer. 25:8-11). The Jews were given many chances to repent, but they didn’t do it so their destruction was their own fault because they chose not to listen.

Many people today have the same attitude that the people of Judah had. But instead of speaking through prophets like He did in Judah’s day, God speaks through prophecy writers, pastors, church members, family members and in many other ways. If they won’t listen, He will eventually decide that they have had enough chances. Then His judgment will fall and they will be without excuse.

As I see it, God is kind, loving, merciful, patient and full of grace. He is also holy, righteous and just: characteristics that require Him to deal with sin. He rules over this universe and He has told us how He wants us to live. To live any other way is sin. He doesn’t judge people without reason. He gives people many chances. Sinners can be forgiven, but only by putting their faith in Jesus and giving up their sins (John 14:6). If people choose to ignore this, He will be patient, but absent repentance He will eventually act and it will be their fault.

Also, as I see it, many people don’t want to hear Bible prophecy because the idea that a holy, righteous and just God will send judgment upon people, nations or the world scares them. Some may not be saved or they may have loved ones that are not saved and they prefer to ignore the fact that individuals, nations and the world are accountable to God. They would rather suppress the truth than to face the fact that they or their loved ones need to repent or God will eventually hold them accountable. It is especially scary when it is loved ones that are unwilling to repent. The thought of what might happen to them is difficult for kind-hearted people to think about.

Others don’t want to hear Bible prophecy not because it scares them, but because they don’t believe it, they are turned off by it, they are afflicted by self-righteousness, they have been disillusioned by false prophets, or whatever. They have reached the point where they prefer to hear what the god of their imagination says, than what the God of the Bible says. They prefer to heap unto themselves teachers that will tickle their ears. Those who do that are trying to silence God in their life.

Nevertheless, I believe God wants Christians to keep trying to witness to them. He loves them and He wants them to hear it whether they want to hear it or not. He wants them to have many chances to be saved whether they want them or not. Every time they are told about what is going to happen, how close we may be and what they need to do God is giving them a chance to repent, accept Jesus and go to heaven. If they choose not to do it, that is their decision. And they are not really silencing Christians or silencing God in their life, they are silencing themselves at the Judgment. When they stand before Him there will be no acceptable excuses for ignoring His will.

So keep watching, keep witnessing and respect your calling as a Watchman (Ezek. 3:15-19). In so doing, your heart is right with God whether others listen or not. If they listen, they will be saved and you have a crown. If they don’t listen, it is their decision and it is not your fault. Don’t think of them as though they are going to die in the future. Think of them as though they are already dead and God is really giving them a chance to live.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net