(Hebrews 4:16) “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, (boldness) do that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
D.L. Moody once said, “I suppose that if all the times I have prayed for faith were put together, it would amount to months. I used to say, ‘What we want is faith; if we only have faith we can turn Chicago upside down,’ or rather right side up. I thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightening. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, ‘Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.’ I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.”
Faith pleases God
The only way any of us can please God or approach Him is by faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:1,6-7) Faith is the deep inner conviction that what is unseen is a far greater reality than what is seen. Faith enables us to trust the Lord for the present and for the future. Faith is the supernatural ability to believe that what God has promised will come to pass. Faith is being fully persuaded that what we are hoping for according to God’s promises will come to pass. This faith also implies faithfulness on our part to what God has already told us to do in His Word. Faith can be operating in us when our outward circumstances are impossible. It is one thing to have faith but how do we express that faith? This is the subject of this second study on Biblical faith.
How Do We Express Our Faith?
1. We express our faith when we approach God with boldness.
(Hebrews 4:14-16) “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone into heaven Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, (boldness) so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
A Great High Priest
If we have been born again by the Holy Spirit then we are God’s child and have the privilege of coming into His throne room and approaching Him with boldness and confidence. God does not want us to come cowering into His presence like a whipped dog looking for a bone. He delights in us when we come to Him with confidence. Of course we never come into His presence flippantly or carelessly but with great reverence and respect for who He is. The Lord Jesus Christ sits at God’s right hand interceding for us as our Great High Priest. (Hebrews 7:25)
Tempted in every way yet without sinning
The Lord Jesus Himself knows and understands exactly what it is to be tempted even though He never sinned and because He understands what its like to be tempted He is able to intercede for us perfectly in every way. When we realize that we have an advocate with God the Father in the Lord Jesus Christ this in itself will give us the confidence to approach God with boldness and to obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Above anything we can ask of think
Whatever we need God is more than able to supply. Whether our need is temporal or spiritual the Lord is willing to meet that need and do for us exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or think by the power of His Spirit that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20) As we continuously walk in obedience and faithfulness to the Lord and give Him access to every area of our life He will continue to make all grace abound towards us so that in all things and at all times we will have all that we need and abound in every good work. (Philippians 4:19) (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
Boldness before God
Moses had great boldness with God and because of his personal relationship with Him Moses was able to go into His presence and intercede on behalf of the rebellious Israelites. God was about to destroy the Israelites because of their rebellion in worshipping the golden calf and indulging in sinful revelry of every kind, but Moses stood in God’s face and interceded on their behalf. Moses had such a personal relationship with the Lord that he succeeded in changing God’s mind. (Exodus 32:9-14) Moses we are told was the meelest man on the face of the earth but meekness was not weakness but a boldness and confidence harnesed by respect for a greater power.
Sons and daughters of the Living God
We too have the same privilege of coming into God’s presence just like Moses did, because we are sons and daughters of the Living God through faith in Jesus Christ and have free access to God at any time of the day or night. Through the blood of Jesus we have boldness to enter into the most Holy Place. Like Moses we can come into the very throne room of God and intercede boldly on behalf of others because as believers we are a kingdom of priests. When we approach the Lord in this way we express our faith and confidence in Him to act and this really pleases Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
2. We express our faith when we trust God in impossible circumstances and by remaining faithful to Jesus and to His Word
(Romans 4:18-21) “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”
Only what God had promised
Abraham was promised a son in his old age but his wife Sarah was also old and barren but the Lord did a miracle by the Holy Spirit and gave them a son. It took many years for that promise to come to pass in Abraham’s life but despite several major setbacks that old man refused to give up believing God. He hoped when there was no hope and refused to bow to the pressure of unbelief. He faced the facts and saw the impossibility humanly speaking of fathering a son yet he didn’t consider his circumstances but only what God had promised and was strengthened in his faith giving glory to God. Even though he had some major setbacks in his life he remained faithful.
Willing to act out his faith
As he stayed faithful he became fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. Eventually his faith was rewarded. God’s promises became so real to that old man of faith that when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac several years later Abraham obeyed without question. He had already seen God raising that boy to life again because of the promise God had made that Abraham’s decendents would come through Isaac. Just as he was about to kill his son the Lord intervened and stopped him. The promises of God’s Word was so real to him that he reasoned that even if his son died that God would raise him to life again in order to fulfill His promise. He proved he had genuine faith through remaining faithful to God in impossible circumstances humanly speaking. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
When it looks like nothing in changing
Right now you may be facing impossible circumstances or a personal crisis in your life and there is no hope in the natural and you need to be fully persuaded that God can do what He has promised to do for you. If you have God’s promises from His Word that cover your situation then begin to meditate and confess those promises. Be like Abraham and begin to hope against hope. Keep walking by faithfulness and not by sight as Abraham did and the Lord will fulfill His Word to you in His time and in His way. It takes faithfulness and patience to inherit the promises of God. In this way we imitate those faith giants in the Bible. As the writer to the Hebrews says; “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:12).
God’s timing is always spot on!
In most cases God does not answer us straight away but asks us to keep on trusting Him and maintain our faithfulness even though nothing looks as if it has changed. Often in these times of waiting God is changing us into the kind of person He needs us to be to receive His answer when it comes. At such times He expects us to be faithful! It worked for Abraham and it will work for you because Abraham is the father of faith and of all who believe and we are Abraham’s descendants through faith in Jesus Christ. If we keep walking by faithfulness as Abraham “our Father in the Faith” walked then God will treat us in the same way He treated Abraham. Remember that Abraham was called, “The friend of God.” The Lord Jesus also said, “You are my friends if you do what I say.” As Paul said to the Galatian believers; “So those who have faith (faithfulness) are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Galatians 3:9). If our trust is based on what God has promised in his word and we are being faithful to Jesus then what he has promised will come to pass. Again it is written; “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). God is never early and He is never late. He is always on time!
3. We express our faith by keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Hebrews 12:1-3) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter (finisher) of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart.”
Don’t give up!
In Hebrews chapter 11 we have God’s hall of fame and there we have the record of our fathers in the faith that walked by faith and succeeded in completing the perfect will of God for their lives. They were certainly not perfect and had many character flaws and with some of them God had to exercise great patience and perseverance with some of them. Most of them faced terrible opposition and were rejected by the world and by false brethren. They certainly were not at home in this world but looked for that city whose foundation and builder is God. They were able to endure because they saw Him who was invisible. They were not rich and prosperous like many today but were beaten, imprisoned, tortured and killed and wandered around destitute and naked and ill treated of whom the world was not worthy. These men and women are our true heroes of faith, not those today that go around with permed hairstyles, wearing expensive clothes and jewelry, driving around in limousines, staying in five star hotels and basking in their superstar status.
Our fathers in the faith had to throw off everything that hindered their walk with the Lord and had to fight with sin, unbelief, the world, the flesh and the devil every step of the way until they gained the victory through God. Just like them we are to fight the good fight of faith especially where the devil is concerned. Paul encouraged Timothy to live in this way when he wrote; “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). The Bible says that Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour but we are to resist him by standing firm in the faith and by that faith watching him flee. (1 Peter 5:8-9) (James 4:7) The Lord Jesus Christ is our great example and we should seek to imitate Him. He had to put up with scorn and rejection by this world and had to endure the shame of crucifixion yet He completely trusted His Father to complete His perfect will through the work of the cross. Even though the Lord Jesus endured such opposition from sinful men He was able to overcome everything that came against Him.
Pulling down spiritual strongholds
We too must not grow weary or loose heart in our fight of faith. Remember it is a good fight because the Lord Jesus has gone before us and won the complete victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. The Lord Jesus Christ can lead us into our promised land and enable us to defeat all of our enemies and put Satan under our feet. (Luke 10:19) In our Christian lives we may be facing the ‘Canaanites’ of temptation and the fleshly desires that war against our souls but the Lord Jesus has given us His own spiritual armor and weapons to defeat them with. By the power of His indestructible life in us we can pull down Satan’s spiritual strongholds in our lives and in the lives of others. (2 Corinthians 4:3-5)
A wrestling match
We are in a wrestling match with the devil but we can overcome him through the power of Jesus blood and with the armor of God and with prayer. (Revelation 12:11) (Ephesians 6:10-18) The Lord Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith and what He starts He finishes. As the Apostle paul says; “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). We may not be all that we would like to be spiritually and may be conscious that we have a long way to go yet we must not grow weary and faint and give up when things are tough. John the Apostle encourages us when he says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1John 3:2-3).
Fixing our eyes upon Him
Even though we are conscious of our spiritual deficiencies we can fix our eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ and look only to Him for the complete victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. How do we fix our eyes on Jesus? How do we do this? We fix our eyes upon Jesus by fixing them on His Word. He is the Living Word of God made flesh and the co-author of the Bible along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. His Word is His mind and His heart and when we read and study His Word we are studying about Him and through His Word come to know Him and hear His voice. When we feed upon His Word we are feeding upon Him and upon His indestructible life!
4. We express our faith by looking to our eternal reward.
(Hebrews 11:10, 16) (Abraham) “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. ¡Instead they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
A city prepared
It is a wonderful thing to know that God has prepared a city for you and for me and for all who love the Lord Jesus and love His Word and are seeking to be faithful to Him in this fallen world. Our heroes of faith all looked towards their eternal city not made with hands and we too like them should look forward to the same city. Our forefathers were longing for this city and we should have the same attitude that they had. (2 Corinthians 5:1-4) “Now we know that if this earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life”. Every one of us who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ are living stones that make up the temple of His body. We ourselves are part of that eternal city and are citizens of heaven. There is a heavenly city and we are part of this city and one day we will come down out of heaven radiant and clothed with the indestructible life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! We will be clothed with the splendor and radiance of God and shine like stars in the universe for all eternity. (Revelation 21:1-4)