Sunday, June 26, 2011

PT3 THE GREAT ADVENTURE i.e. Practical Faith (Pt7 Living Life To Its Fullest)

"Ave Christus, morituri te salutamus!"
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (NKJV)
    Consequently, we now have a definition of faith that helps us better understand what it is; "Faith - an intimate and personal trust in the truthfulness of God and the reliability of His word."
    Yet a little more is needed to fully understand faith.  Hence another look at Hebrews 11:1 will complete our understanding/definition.  As before, we will look at specific words in the verse, i.e. the two words "substance" and "evidence" used in the passage;
substance [seb-sten(t)s] - noun;
a: essential nature
b: a fundamental characteristic, part or quality
synonyms: essence, sum
evidence [e-ve-den(t)s] - noun;
a: an outward sign
b: something that furnishes proof
synonyms: indication, testimony
    Using these definitions shows us that faith is also the essential nature, fundamental characteristic, or essence" of things hoped for" and is the outward sign, proof or testimony "of things not seen".  Like faith both words are nouns and not verbs. So, while it is less succinct then the one in Hebrews we now have a definition of faith which helps us better understand what it is;

"Now an intimate and personal trust in the truthfulness of God and the reliability of His word is the essential nature of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen." 

   In essence what Hebrews 11 :1 is saying is this trust is so intimate and personal that faith and what it produces may often become synonymous;

"...the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  (NKJV)

    This definition points to the outward (often practical, but not always) manifestation of faith in our lives.  It is the type of faith that;
  • enabled Joseph to excel and do well despite of all the adversities and injustices he suffered.
"And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand.  So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. " (Genesis 39:3-5/NKJV)

But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper." (Genesis 39:3-5/NKJV)

  • enabled Joseph to forgive his brothers and see God's hand in all that had happened.
"Joseph said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.' And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them." (Genesis 50:19-21/NKJV)

It is the same faith that;
  • enabled Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to not bow before the golden idol despite the threat of death from Nebuchadnezzar.
"Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, 'Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?'” (Daniel 3:14-15/NKJV)
  • and enabled Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to state the following to king Nebuchadnezzar.
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.' (Daniel3:16-18/NKJV)

    This intimate and personal trust is so strong that it produces actions (which produce lifestyles) that are seen in everyday life (hence the term practical faith).  It is a faith in the One who makes "all things possible".

"Simul iustus et peccator"*
*Martin Luther

cowboy image source;
Visualphotos; Cowboy Riding Horse through Plains
fiery furnace image source;
Imagekind; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

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