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What does God want from me? Have you ever asked that question yourself? Or heard someone else ask it? It’s a most important question. A right question. And the answer holds the difference between Heaven and Hell. Between mere religion and true salvation. And the answer not only demonstrates the amazing condescension of God to fallen human-kind, but holds the key to the very reversal of the Fall itself.
The word faith in our day, has become something of a wax nose. People use it in a variety of ways: to refer to some sort of amorphous spirituality, as referring merely to a positive outlook, for belonging to some religion or religious group – as being part of a faith community and even just as a vague belief in God or the Bible.
Interestingly and most importantly, the Bible never once uses faith in such ill-defined ways.
Faith in the Bible always, without exception refers to acknowledging that God has spoken, that what He has said is true, and ordering one’s life in concert with what He has said. This is why Scripture can tell us that apart from faith, it is impossible to please God. Or if I could put it in a nutshell, what does God want from you and me? To be believed. And not believed vaguely – but so as to trust His promises, listen to His warnings, grasp His character, fear His judgments, and seek His blessing and rewards. To understand who and what He is and why He does all He does by virtue of what He has said and revealed about Himself in His Word. To be – believed. And to act as though what we’ve heard must be acted upon appropriately.
Why is this kind of faith so essential? Because failure in it is what led to the Fall in the Garden.
Adam and Eve disbelieved God and His warnings, and believed the Enemy and their own reasoning above what He had said. And from that day to this – that inherent distrust of God, and disregard for His revelation is at the core of all human sin. And all that sin brings with it. Had our first parents believed Him, and ordered their lives in accordance with what He said – the Fall would never have happened.
So it is in salvation, we’re brought back to this most crucial place. Will we believe what He has said about our guilt, our sin, our impending judgment and the Gospel of the cross – of believing the revelation of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement and be reconciled to God by believing and obeying it? Or not?
This, is saving faith.
But note this from our Hebrews portion today. How God’s promissory covenants are for our sake, not His.
He, who cannot lie, who is infinitely holy, in order to cement His promises in our minds – makes overt covenants or promises. He swears to us. He doesn’t do this as a necessary part of His nature. His intention is sufficient. But because we are fallen, unbelieving and faithless, He confirms such promises with signs and seals, and makes covenants for us to bolster our faith. They are a concession, not a necessary mode of acting on His part.
He does more than just wait for us to believe as we ought – He steps forward, makes His promises and then swears an oath before us so that we might know that His promises are sure, and cannot be broken.
What does God want from you? To be believed. Nothing delights Him more.
This is why faith obtains all that God promises.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.