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TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT – WHERE IS FAITH?

by Julia Glattfelt

I have written lyrics for a yet-to-be-composed melody. I love to write lyrics and poems, but, although I sing, I am not a music writer. The lyrics speak about the absolute faithfulness of our Father, that He is a promise-keeper! It is a subject that has been on my mind for a while. How is faith related to keeping promises? What is Faith? Who is Faithful? As a person who encounters a fair share of doubt in myself and even (YHVH, forgive me) in Him, I’ve given this a lot of thought. No matter how much I expect of myself, I know that everything comes from Him! He is the author of Faith.

wehre is  faith

Who has Faith? How is it manifested? How does it relate to the following verses?

Eph 2:8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

Jas 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

PARADIGM SHIFT

Since the beginning, our Father has been absolutely faithful and true to His Word! When I read the verse from Ephesians that says, “by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” I don’t see it the way I used to. It is a paradigm shift, and I’m not sure how well I can explain it, but I’m going to try.

When I studied the book of Ephesians before (and it is still my favorite book of the Bible) I received this verse like the Christian church teaches it: To paraphrase: “I believe in him, so he gives me grace to behave as I think I should, because it is His free gift to me for having that faith/belief.”

This way of thinking places the emphasis on ‘grace’ and not on what I now believe the verse is actually trying to teach us.

What if it is less about ‘grace,’ and more about understanding ‘faith?’ Who is the faithful one?

Merriam-Webster says the following. (Take note of the first (primary) definition of Faith!)

FAITH is:

1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

When I read the definition above, the first part makes me think of the Father, and the second part seems to pertain to me. What if, all these years, we have looked at this from our point of view instead of His? Doesn’t everything originate with our Father? Even the definition of faith?

Our interpretation of faith is based on the ‘belief in something we cannot prove.’ We think the Ephesians verse says, ‘We believe so He responds with grace to us.’ Just ‘believe’ and we are totally covered. He did it all so we don’t have to do anything. But, that ignores Merriam-Webster that says faith is “belief, trust in and loyalty to God.” Is loyalty an abstract word? Are the blessings we receive from the Father abstract?

If I could dare to speak for the Father – what if we borrow the primary definition of Faith to clarify this verse?

I (YHVH) demonstrate Faith by My unshakable resolve, absolute trustworthiness, loyalty and sincerity to remain dutiful to my intentions – promises. Because I operate in Faith, I also show you grace because I am not a man that I should lie (Num 23:19). My Faith and My Grace are my gifts to you because I want to make you in My Image. Since I am a promise-keeper, I expect you to remain likewise faithful (loyal, sincere in your intentions and duty) just as I Am. I am the beginning and end of what Faith is all about. I am Faithful to you through the covenant I made with mankind.

THAT IS A HUGE PARADIGM SHIFT, ISN’T IT?

Do you follow the train of thought? Another way to read the sentence might be this:

“by (YHVH’s) grace have ye been saved through (because of YHVH’s) faith; and (because) that (faith is) not of yourselves (it doesn’t originate with you), it is the gift (character/ attribute) of God.”

In other words: “I offer my grace-gift of salvation because I am faithful to you and to my promises, not because I rely on your faith in Me to act, but because that is who I am.”

GRACE ALONE?

So, does that mean that the Christian church has been correct all along? Is it grace, and grace alone? Is that what is being taught here?

It reminds me of the part in Peter Pan where the audience claps their hands and says, “I believe!” as if the very thought can bring Tinkerbell back to life! We look at faith from an abstract viewpoint: “I believe, so I will live.”

But is ‘belief’ enough?

Our faith is sometimes tentative; sometimes it is shaken. Can any of us claim that our faith is constant and reliable? Are we always 100% loyal and true? I know that I falter! But, we want him to save us all the time! That is not an abstraction!

Don’t you see that we can be loyal in our faith because we can trust Him? He is absolutely unshakable in keeping his Word to us! In truth, our salvation does not hinge on the reliability of our faith, but on His!

WHAT DOES JAMES HAVE TO SAY?

Knowing that He is 100% reliable is a real faith-booster! But, does that mean that He expects nothing in return?

We can trust Him, but can He trust us? Does He ‘believe’ in us, or does he keep His word to us and expect us to do the same to Him? And, if our faith cannot measure up to His, what can we do to prove our loyalty to Him? Should we try? How can we be faith-full?

James emphasizes that faith without works is dead!

Jas 2:18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith.

Jas 2:19 Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder.

Jas 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren?

So, here is the paradigm that we need to re-examine. The ‘grace only’ doctrine says that we can do nothing to save ourselves. That is absolutely true, as far as it goes. The final decision on our salvation is completely in the hands of Yeshua, because if it is not, then we do not need to rely solely upon our Savior. We could boast that we had such great ‘faith’ or did so many ‘good’ things!

But, here is the crux of the matter! If all we have to do is ‘believe’ and He will save us, why did He give us instructions to follow in the first place? Isn’t He trying to find a bunch of people with whom to spend eternity?

If the whole point of giving us His Torah (Word, Instructions, Tree of Life) was so that we could learn to be like Him and live in harmony with Him forever, how is it being like Him to not keep our word to Him? Or, more to the point: how is it being like Him not to keep His words to us?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I try to explain why I am Torah-observant. There are lots of reasons why, and many of those have been covered in other articles at this site. (http://www.bulldozerfaith.com/the-new-legalism-response, http://www.bulldozerfaith.com/error-of-the-lawless-by-christine-egbert )

But, let’s look at Torah-observance from a narrow point of view for now. Let’s look at it from a covenant keeping standpoint. You know, “keeping” as in “doing” something.

We all expect YHVH to keep His word to us! But, we don’t expect anything of ourselves, and don’t think He does either! After all, if we cannot do anything to save ourselves, why should we try? We’ll just hang onto the life-ring and wait for Him to draw us away from drowning in our sins. We have faith that He will save us, but is that faith like His? Is sitting back and only doing what we want to do, and skipping all those ‘restrictive’ rules and regulations, keeping our word to Him? Or didn’t you say you wanted to be His child?

ARE WE OR ARE WE NOT IN A COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM?

Abraham is a model for us to follow. Abraham had faith! Perfect Faith!

Jas 2:22 Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect;

Jas 2:23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.

He was called YHVH’s ‘friend!’ Why is that? What kind of relationship did Abraham have with the Almighty?

You know the story. Abraham was called to leave his home to go to an unknown country where he would be blessed! Not only would Abraham be blessed but so would billions of his seed!

But, did he just obey in the little things? He didn’t only go where he was told, undergo circumcision, keep all the laws, ordinances, statutes, and share a meal with the Father! Did you forget about Isaac?

Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?

Jas 2:22 Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect;

Jas 2:23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.

Jas 2:24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.

Oh boy, there it is! Abraham was justified by works, and not only by faith!

SO, WE CAN WORK OUR WAY TO YHVH?!

Why was Abraham willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac? Is that something that you or I would consider doing unless we had absolute, unshakeable trust that YHVH was faithful to Do what He Promised? Abraham must have believed YHVH when He promised what He did! He trusted that there would be a resurrection of the dead, as YHVH had promised! Otherwise, would he have bound his son as a sacrifice?

Abraham had faith! Not only did he believe, he acted on that belief! Because He knew that YHVH ‘had his back,’ he was willing to do anything, even to killing his own son!

I don’t know too many people in the ‘faith’ today who are willing to place their lives, or the lives of their children, on the line because of their trust in YHVH. In one way (and I don’t mean to offend you, but I see it this way) the Islamists have more ‘faith’ in their deity than we do! They will sacrifice themselves and their children because they have an unshakeable belief they go to a better life after death. Many of them actually count their lives here as nothing, and say they do all this to honor their god. As wrong-headed as I believe them to be, it is a demonstration of faith that cannot be denied.

Will we be willing to stand up for YHVH when the time comes? I pray every day for this kind of unshakeable faith and trust in our Redeemer. For He is worthy!

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE?

If Abraham was willing to bank on the promise of resurrection of the dead when it came to his own son, why is it so difficult for us to follow a few Torah rules? Is giving up bacon really a hardship? Is changing your life-style into a Sabbath-keeper even close in comparison to what Abraham did?

But, that was all in the Old Testament! Now it is different!

Is it really? Wasn’t Yeshua also willing to die for the promises He made? Wasn’t He obedient even unto death?

He died so you don’t have to die! Don’t confuse that with the lie that says, He died so we could be free from YHVH’s instructions! Oh, Really? If the Law is done away with, why do we need a Savior?

Heb 12:1 Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Heb 12:2 looking unto Yeshua the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Yeshua is the author and finisher of our faith! He was faithful, even unto death on a cross! Why? To KEEP His Promises! How can we do any less?

If true faith is shown by loyalty and keeping promises, then why would we think He is the only one who needs to keep a promise? Don’t we say we have faith? Isn’t a covenant a two-party oath? Isn’t it an agreement?

When we say we take His Name, let’s not take it lightly or in vanity, but with faithfulness and loyalty! Just like in a marriage, both parties vow, and both have to abide by their oath! (http://www.bulldozerfaith.com/the-name )

Num 23:19 God is not a human male—he doesn’t lie, nor is he a human being—he never vacillates. Once he speaks up, He’s going to act, isn’t he? Once he makes a promise, He’ll fulfill it, won’t he?

When I place my trust in Him I can do so with absolute confidence because He is never unfaithful to me. He is absolutely faithful to His Word! He keeps His Promises to us and to the world. That’s real tangible Faith – not the puny shadow of ‘belief’ that His unruly children call faith.

A THOUGHT TO PONDER

Yeshua is our perfect model of faith.

If we consider that Yeshua’s death on the cross was the ultimate demonstration of faith, then it shows us that faithfulness to YHVH, even unto death, is rewarded with eternal life! Faith leads to Life! Because He Promised!

Therefore, let us all run the race set before us! Oh, that we would be found with faith like His when He returns! Then, we shall be like Him!

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4 thoughts on “TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT – WHERE IS FAITH?

  1. Thank you Kenny, this is just what I’ve been pondering and more n more I find myself saying “Yah is in complete control therefore I Trust Him, that He knows what is going on in my life and He will work it all out for my best no matter what it is”…And I have Shalom that only Abba gives….Shalom and Blessings