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Continuing in Our Faith

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The apostle admonished us to hold onto and to continue in our faith, but what did he mean?  Did he just mean to keep believing?

For the immature, faith is to believe, like the man to whom Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” [Mark 9.23]  But for those of us who are His disciples, continuation of our faith is not just a continuation of belief, but it is a continuation of obedience and loyalty so that it does not conflict with the principal that was outlined in Ezekiel 18.

We can continue in our faith as long as we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but the continuation of our faithfulness is the challenge, that is, the continuation of our obedience and our loyalty.  Thankfully, there is no one who does not have difficulty maintaining a continuation of his obedience and loyalty at one time or another in his ministry.  The challenge then is to maintain the faith as a continuation of belief, obedience and loyalty.

The disciples who left Jesus in John 6.66 had difficulty maintaining their belief when Jesus taught them to eat His flesh and drink His blood.  They got into difficulty because the Lord brought out something new, and that newness killed their faith because they could not agree with what Jesus was saying.

When Peter heard what Jesus was saying about His death in Jerusalem, it was too much for Peter and he opposed Jesus, earning for him the privilege of being called ‘Satan’ by Jesus for not having in mind the things of God but of men.

Our faith, that is, our obedience, can be destroyed because we cannot agree with what God is planning.

When Judas saw that Jesus actually enacted the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood by giving him a piece of bread and a sip of the wine, that was too much for Judas and it spurred him to take immediate action to have Jesus arrested.  Listening to Jesus teach on what he had difficulty believing was one thing, but to see Him do it was another.  And so his loyalty was destroyed that night because he could not agree with what Jesus was doing.

As such, the continuation of faith is the ability to continue to believe what Jesus is saying, not just what He has said.  It is also the ability of continuing to agree with what He is planning, that is the obedience, and the acceptance of what He is doing, that is the loyalty.  A dogmatic religion that is frozen in the past by its tradition cannot continue with faith in the Lord, for a continuation of faith is not just a continuation of upholding that which was, but to continue in what is and what is yet to come as well.

However, if you cannot even hold onto what had already been said and done, then it is pointless to go onto what is being said, planned and what is yet to be done.  That is why those who agree with James the Younger and his recommendations have difficulty holding onto the faith when the new things are introduced by the Holy Spirit.  For James did not hold onto what was said and done, but took us back to what was undone by Jesus.  If what Jesus said and did was what allowed the power of the Lord to be available to His disciples through the Holy Spirit, then logic dictates that undoing it, ignoring it and opposing it would prevent further power from being available.  If anyone wants proof of that, just look at the churches that uphold the recommendations of James and ignorantly incorporate into their liturgy and practice what was intended for the twelve tribes in his letter.

As such, the continuation of faith requires that there is faith to begin with.  That is why the Lord restored to us the commandment to listen to Jesus and to practise His words, so that we have the foundation of our faith built on the solid rock of practising His words that we have heard solely.  From that foundation, as we prove our obedience in carrying out that which was commanded and being loyal by refusing to deviate from it even when it clashes with tradition and the recommendations of those who claim to even be apostles, we are then privileged to go onto what is being said, what is being done and what is being planned, so that we can contribute to what is yet to be said, what is yet to be planned and what is yet to be done… even the very dreams of God.

As we understand the relationship of faith and what was said, planned and done, then we also understand the reaction of those who call themselves believers and servants of Christ to His present and future plans, and why some will be allowed to partake of them while others will be retired.

So, then as the apostle admonished us, we should check our faith.  Does the belief lead to obedience and loyalty, or does it cause us to lock ourselves in upper rooms, afraid of the world while the Lord has commanded us to go to Galilee?  Does it allow us to hear and believe what the Holy Spirit is now saying, doing and planning, things that the eleven could not bear to hear?

Hr. Ed, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop

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