Through the Word in 2020 #69 July 7 – Real and false – faith.

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There are some principles in Scripture which need to be revisited over and over. They are like the foundation stones of a skyscraper. If they give way, everything gives way. If they are compromised, instability is the inevitable result. These principles can appear quite inconspicuously, unless you really stop to consider them. They greatly inform key strands in Scripture and the Christian life in such a way that they prevent the Believer from very destructive and debilitating thought patterns. We’ll look at one of those principles in Luke 5:1-16; which along with 1 Chronicles 15-17 and Philippians 3-4:1 comprise our reading block for today.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and you’re listening to Through the Word in 2020.
As I’ve already mentioned, our passage in Luke brings up one of the most important foundation stones for living the Christian life; the necessity of developing right thoughts about faith. Faith, real faith, Biblical faith, not what is often foisted off on us as faith, is truly an issue of the utmost importance. So rehearse it with me again today.
In vs. 5 of Luke 5, the words and actions of Peter in response to Jesus telling him to put out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch, hold the clearest and most succinct exposition of faith to be found anywhere. Faith reasons in the face of everything else – “but at your word.”
So note carefully, faith does not groundlessly hope. It does not pluck its expectation from the air. It is not the product of imagination, or a contrived desire. We cannot have faith regarding that which God has not said. No. It roots itself firmly in one place: What God HAS said. And then acts accordingly.
So many, sadly, do almost irreparable harm to their own faith. They do so when they hold God to promises He never made, or to impressions they thought came from Him. Then, when He appears not to have come through, they inwardly undermine their own ability to believe Him in the things He HAS said.
Though stated in another context, Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 4:6 have broad application and especially in this issue: “learn by us not to go beyond what is written.” What God has said, what He has inspired by His Spirit to have written down for us in His Word – these are the things (rightly interpreted) in which we can have absolute faith. And when we go beyond that into thoughts, desires, impressions or hopes of our own creation – we open ourselves to faith-destroying disappointments.
Let Peter’s example be your guide – “But at your word.” And you will find a safe haven for your soul. A truly firm foundation for your faith. But if you hold God to something you may THINK He has said to you, or an impression you have in your heart and mind – no matter how vivid, and it does not come to pass – in time, you will not find it reasonable to believe what He has actually said in His Word. Faith will either become some sort of strange means of manipulating God – superstition – or it will simply wilt and become useless.
God cannot lie. If it appears He has – then we’ve either misinterpreted His Word, or put our trust in something other than His Word and His character. Know and trust what you can verify He has said by soundly understanding the Scriptures. And your faith will be increasingly steadfast and sure.
God bless. And God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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