Friday, October 06, 2006

What Is Faith? Definition Two - Ability to Believe

Faith is the ability to believe God’s Word.
24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:24-30 (emphasis mine)

Jesus in addressing the Jewish leaders speaks here of the vital connection, I know them, and the immediate result of this connection, that is, the ability to believe Christ and his word. If a person is part of His flock than his ears are opened and those who hear the voice of Jesus will follow him.

The faith that we call the vital connection immediately leads to faith as the ability to hear and understand spiritual things. The believer takes this ability for granted but it is such an important gift from our Father and absolutely crucial to our understanding. Paul describes this gift in his first letter to the Corinthians -

12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

We should point out here, as scripture does, that faith is the work of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. This transforming work that takes place at the time of regeneration permits us to make sense of the revealed Word of God. The very things that once seemed foolish to us when we were unregenerate now not only make sense but are the only explanations the have true value to the exclusion of the things we once believed in the flesh.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God. There seems to a veil over the eyes of the natural person and therefore intelligence and worldly wisdom give us no ability to discern spiritual matters. Believers will only be frustrated in any argument of spiritual things with an unbeliever. Believers will find that they speak a different language than the unbeliever, for our worldview has been expanded to include the supernatural and miraculous. The unbeliever will not accept the supernatural. The truths of the cross and the resurrection will be foolish babel to the unsaved -

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21

(Go To Part Three)

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