It is very common to hear the words, "saved by faith," yet there is also something else that is necessary for salvation which is seldom mentioned, "we are saved by hope." Hear the words of Paul in:
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Perhaps when you first read this it may sound contradictory yet it is not contradictory but complimentary. Those without hope have no faith. Those who have faith have hope because faith is built upon the foundation of hope which is the word of God.
How so? Let's read what the English language says of hope:
|hope:||a) to want, to wish
b) to desire with expectation of fulfillment
And what of the Greek?
|elpis:||a) expectation... mixed with b) confidence|
Looking then at the word hope you can see that it is based on what a person wants, wishes, desires to have and in some cases, a strong emphasis given to expectation of fulfillment. In the Greek however there is no idea of simply wanting, wishing or desiring. In the Greek there is only the expectation of fulfillment. Of course this cannot happen in a void. A person needs to be made aware that the something exists for them to expect fulfillment. They receive this information through the word of God in whatever form it takes. Personal reading of the bible, teaching, preaching, witnessing, evangelism or perhaps the life of a Christian whose acts and character show the word of God written on their hearts (2nd Corinthians 3:2&3). Seeing, hearing, reading the word gives form which the hungry heart desires for itself and perhaps others.
Hope grows as faith speaks. Let's see where it starts...
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When the word of God is spoken or read we begin to imagine what the kingdom of God is like and what its principles are. We get mental image pictures of what the kingdom of heaven is like. Now if you desire what you imagine the kingdom to be, you will want it, you may wish for it but it does not fulfill the requirement of the Greek word elpis (hope). For the moment, all you have is... a picture. To get the awareness that you are actually going to receive it you must have faith. Once faith ignites you, it is then that you move from wishing to expecting. That type of faith is the transformation of hope: - from wishing to expecting.
We should all be familiar with the passage from Hebrews 11.1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
For clarity let us look at it this way.
|Faith is:||a) the substance of things hoped for
b) the evidence of things not seen
These are the two aspects of faith that need to be understood. They are basically two ways of saying the same thing. The things hoped for & the things not seen are identical. Let us look at the definitions of the key words "substance" and "evidence" in both the English and the Greek.
|The essential meaning of anything said or written
The quality of stability
Essential components or ideas
|A setting under (support)
example - concrete: essence
(such as a concrete, steel or wood pillar used to hold something up) or
example - abstract: assurance
When we compare the definition of the English word substance and the Greek word hupostasis we discover the words do not convey the same exact meaning. Surely the Greek with the "setting under as in a support" needs to be used. The first concrete example is essence. This first definition in the Greek does not fit the context. A concrete example means that it can actually be seen and touched; it is something physical. Hope says you cannot see or touch. We are left then with the abstract example meaning assurance.
|a)That which makes evident or clear
b)An outward sign or indication
c)That which serves to prove
d)That which is submitted to a court to establish the truth or falsehood of something alleged (to assert to be true without proving) or presumed (to assume to be true until disproved)
|Proof, conviction - evidence|
When we compare the definition of the English word evidence and the Greek word elegehos we discover their meanings to be close. The best definition in the case of faith is the last: That which is submitted to a court to establish the truth or falsehood of something alleged or presumed.
You may ask what has been alleged or presumed?
Simply put... the word of God, the bible, has been submitted to the court. The gospels and the epistles can be compared to affidavits left by the apostles and writers of the old and new testaments. Secondly; pastors, friends, evangelists, parents, etc... are giving their belief. Some may be presuming that what they say is the truth and others might be asserting the same thing. They both believe their understanding is correct.
Who, what or where is this court?
Simply put... you are the court. Your pastors, friends, evangelists, parents, etc... are presenting this information to you. You are the one who is judging, weighing, what is written in the bible and what they are saying. Depending on the type of faith you have, you mix and choose what you will and what you will not believe.
For our understanding of faith our ideas must rest within the definitions given above. You have heard all the facts and heard all the ideas... what remains is to receive the assurance from an unimpeachable witness as to what actually is true. He is the surprise witness. Without Him your faith falls short of the mark. It is God's testimony through the Holy Spirit that what you understand is the truth. Having laid the groundwork there is one other thing to mention.
Faith in our culture can mean many things. In the scriptures faith also is reflected in a couple of ways. There is saving faith and then there is what is called "The Faith". For a study on "The Faith" and its place in the Christian life please go to: http://christianmuse.com/a4mc/mc09.shtml
Now let us proceed.
Do you know that there is an impostor? Faith has an evil twin. It is not doubt. It is presumption. As faith has three different types, so too does presumption. Faith ends in God while presumption ends in self. Christians(?) can be found in both camps. Here is the list of the two:
|1/ persuasion (a particular sect or
denomination, etc...) The Faith/
2/ moral conviction i.e. truthfulness of god
*Only has as much strength as the person believes in the good character of God and/or his witnesses.(Hebrews 6:17)
3/ spiritual conviction (amen)
note: a yielded spirit
1st Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
|1/ something taken for granted
2/ a reason for presuming - probability
3/ self assertion - arrogance
note: power of man's mind
1st Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Hebrews 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable (not changing or altering; unchangeable) things (which things are His counsel and His oath), in which it was impossible for God to lie (about), we might have a strong consolation (strong comfort in our grief or sorrow), who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Though faith and presumption in type 1 are equal to each other they quickly begin to diverge going to type 2 and by type 3 are opposites to each other. An interesting note should be included here. It matters not how much knowledge a person has at faith type 3... what matters is; has God affirmed (in their spirit) the word of hope the person has received.
What is the problem with most of the world, Jews and professing Christians of today?
|1/ They follow the faith of their fathers - Type 1
2/ They follow their moral or mental convictions - Type 2
3/ God has not revealed Himself to them (no spiritual rebirth) - Type 3
1 John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
You need to understand the word of God which only the Holy Spirit can explain. Of course He uses teachers, pastors, etc... who have had the truth revealed to them so as to share with you. Yet the spiritual assurance must come from the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart (spirit). When the conviction is from your heart (spirit) then faith is simply the amen of the believing heart to the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit to your spirit. You need to get the amen from the Holy Spirit to move from wishful thinking to expecting. It is then you receive strong comfort.
Author: Joseph Raymond
Sunday, January 21, 2001
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